Monday, April 30, 2012

The Fireplace

It's been 4 years since I last set foot on The Fireplace.

This is where I took my on-the-job training for culinary school. I was lucky enough to have been assigned to the fine dining kitchen outlet. I remember dreading the days I was tasked to strain big pots of brown stock that has been simmered to perfection for days on end... Oh it felt like I was having a "facial" whenever I did that. (Imagine a short girl like me with a big ass ladle and strainer in hand, I was like a tiny witch looking over her smokey bubbly cauldron!) Or the days when I had to chop half a sack of onions for our french onion soup, or "brunoise" (chop finely in a uniform manner) what must have been a gazillion shallots everyday.., or when I had to learn how to shuck 10-12 oysters flawlessly in less than 10minutes! But that story deserves another post altogether... But then again, it was such a bittersweet learning experience for me, humbling, if I may say. 

I remember to have witnessed a couple of wedding proposals and high profile business meetings while I was working here. It is certainly that kind of place, elegant and probably one of the most secluded places in Manila. The copper-colored ceilings, comfy stylized furniture, leather-covered chocolate walls, and beautiful lighting makes it elegant and classy, all the way. . . When my husband asked me to pick a place for my birthday, I seized the moment and picked this. It certainly felt like a homecoming. I warn you, the snazzy interiors and service certainly live up to it's equally upscale menu, it will burn a gaping hole in your wallet! Anyway, "homecoming" because, I was once a part of the staff who worked hard to produce and prepare such good dishes that make up your whole "fine dining" experience truly memorable and worth your every centavo spent. I understand why it is expensive, because unlike in buffets, where they almost always use short-cut methods in cooking, use instant powder and substitutes, and where chicken powder is every cook's best friend.  In most fine dining restaurants, they use top quality ingredients and rarely do we do short-cut... (at least that's how I was taught and trained here...)

copper colored ceiling
10-foot copper- covered, wood-fired oven

I think this is the BEST open plan kitchen I have seen...

freshly baked yummy walnut bread with pots of beurre d' isigny, all the way from France! 

French Onion Soup

Caezar's Salad with pancetta and parmesan crisp

Chilean Sea Bass with tomato fondue

10 oz. Certified Angus Beef Prime Chilled Ribeye
The one. The perfect one. I mean the perfect steak! So perfect you wouldn't even think of having it any other way... they do serve a variety of sauces to go with it, but for me, the succulent pink slices of beef with the juices running down the side work perfectly on it's own.

Potato Gratin
They used to serve this in cast iron pans, i don't know why they changed it, But I think the cast iron pans look better - presentation wise. Anyway, this side dish comes with an order of the steak. They actually alternate it with herbed marble potatoes. But this gratin you should ask for when you come here. It is a huge serving of scalloped potatoes baked with herbed milk and Parmigiano Regiano, soft and creamy and just makes you feel good =) 

Heavenly Chocolate Soup
THIS IS WHAT MY CHOCOLATE DREAMS ARE MADE OF. . . I was actually pretty excited while having my main course because I was already planning on ordering the "Chocolate Soup" and luckily, I'm friends with all the chefs (uhuh!) so they gave this to us for free! It looks like a flattened souffle but tastes like a melted chocolate cake/brownie. The river of warm gooeey chocolatey goodness is balanced by a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream.  Even my husband who isn't a fan of sweet stuff was swept away and finished all of his soup! 

Compliments of the Chef

So glad to see them Chef Noel who is the Fireplace Chef de Cuisine and Chef Ondoy.

The Fireplace
5th Floor Hyatt Hotel & Casino

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