By Kristofer Purnell
Because of our country’s history and the diversity of its island cultures, and the many kinds of people who reside here, the Philippines is a melting pot. A simple stroll down the street and you’re bound to meet someone visiting from abroad. And if there’s one thing that can gather people around for a couple minutes of satisfaction, it’s food.
Seda Vertis North is very much aware of the wonders of cuisines—their buffet restaurant Misto has bountiful selections. When it comes to banquets, the choices are still minimal, but that is about to change as Seda has found a new food mastermind in Hann Furn Chen.
Chef Chen previously worked at Mandarin Oriental Makati before it closed down in 2014. After spending some time in Malaysia, he’s back in Manila to share his excellent Chinese dishes. Together with Seda Vertis North’s executive chef Kerpatrik Boiser, the two cooked up samples of Sino-inspired dishes, some of which will soon be part of the hotel’s banquets menu.
Prawn Ravioli with Salted Egg Beurre Blanc
Chef Kerpatik, Ker for short, has years of experience when it comes to global dishes, and proof is found in the prawn ravioli appetizer. It’s an easy munch, thanks to the softened prawns being wrapped in a salted red egg, but made crunchier by the scattered almonds and parmesan cheese. Chef Ker recommends to pair this with a Rincon de Sol Chardonnay 2015, to kick off a great meal.
Caesar Salad with Crispy Shimeji Mushroom
The popular salad is given a twist as it not only comes with a delectable dressing and bits of honey-cured bacon. The shimeji mushrooms are fried to crunchy perfection, have a taste reminiscent to calamares (breaded fried squid), and are topped by a number of Chinese spices in order to start bridging the gap between east and west.
Braised Seafood Soup with Pastry Puff
Chef Chen takes pride in his soup, mixing seafood bits like prawns and fish maw. Seda plays its part by avoiding ingredients that involve endangered species like shark fins. Chef Chen is able to balance both fresh and dry scallops in order to bring out the sweetness and aroma. Don’t be put off the by the giant pastry puff (made Old Beijing style), it adds to the broth that takes more or less six hours to make.
Wok-fried Lobster with Chili Sauce and Golden Chinese Bun
Inspired by Singapore’s famous chili crab, Chef Chen utilizes a lobster for a more challenging yet satisfying taste. Fair warning, the chili sauce is as spicy as spicy goes, but a dash of sweet and sour gives it a nice tang in addition to the tingle. The lobster is best enjoyed when eaten together with the Chinese bun to tame the spiciness.
Braised Short Plate with Mashed Potato and Seasonal Vegetables
This is Chef Ker’s signature dish, and for good reason. A lean and flavorful slice of beef fat is laid onto mashed potatoes and red wine sauces, surrounded by seasonal vegetables picked from Seda’s very own herb garden. The beef itself is nice and soft, an orgasmic taste to be sure, best paired with a glass of dry red wine.
Mango Sago Collision
Can Philippine mangoes ever go wrong? The two chefs recommend this playful take on the mango sago, which is turned into a mousse with the fresh mango slices and topped by either a honey-basil sauce or balsamic reduction. This is also the most Instagram-worthy dish because of the dry ice steam floating out from the base. If you are looking for a simple dessert, or simply to cleanse your palate from the spiciness of the lobster, opt for the Calamansi Sherbet— and yes, it tastes as good as it sounds.
Seda Vertis North has even more entrées on a still-growing menu for a Chinese restaurant that will soon open at the hotel before 2019 ends. These, too, are a mix of eastern and western dishes, such as steamed lapu-lapu, handpulled noodles, and specialized dimsum. Chef Chen is also eager to share some of his own signature dishes like Peking duck and a prawn dish with mayonnaise, as well as barbecued pork using his own marinade.
The search for an official name for the restaurant is still ongoing, but aspiring customers can be assured that visits will not be expensive. While Seda does care about value, they plan to stray from the term “fine dining” and focus more on an environment that’s comfortable and family-friendly. And isn’t that all you need—plus great food—in a place that offers food from both sides of the world?
Tags: Braised Seafood Soup with Pastry Puff, Braised Short Plate with Mashed Potato and Seasonal Vegetables, Caesar Salad with Crispy Shimeji Mushroom, Kristofer Purnell, Mango Sago Collision, Prawn Ravioli with Salted Egg Beurre Blanc, Seda Vertis North, Wok-fried Lobster with Chili Sauce and Golden Chinese Bun