Last year was a good year for food lovers. It seemed like restaurants were popping up left and right, like popcorn. And while there were a few misses, like that restaurant named after a colored root plant, or that “healthy” place that has made me more cautious about places that promise a “wholesome” experience, our taste buds were treated to a wide array of flavors from near and far.
We saw the arrival of international labels like Todd English, Ippudo, Teddy’s Burgers, and that Michelin-star restaurant Tim Ho Wan and its amazing pork buns. But local restaurateurs were no slouches, by any means. Newcomers like Chef du Partie (CDP), Simple Lang, Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza, and Banzai took us on unforgettable food “trips,” while past favorites like Mamou, Grace Park, and Yushoken Ramen remained on top of many people’s lists.
There were also restaurants that gave us a different outlook on food that we traditionally take for granted. The Perfect Pint, together with Chef Gene Gonzales, gave us a new insight into craft beer, while Aracama gave us a fresh take on boodle fights.
This year, the food scene will surely be just as good, if not better. Several new restaurants opened just before the year ended, and many more are about to open their doors. Here are a few to look out for in 2015:
Steak lovers will welcome the news that the Wolfgang Zwiener restaurant will be coming to Manila some time in May. The group of Ricky Laudico and Marvin Agustin that brought you Sumo Sam, Teddy’s Burger, John & Yoko, and Akira, just to name a few, will be opening a 600-sqm restaurant at the Newport Mall in Resorts World Manila. The restaurant will have its own dry-aging room, where beef is placed in a carefully controlled environment for 28 days, giving it time to develop its flavor, drying on the outside while staying tender and juicy inside. Diners can look forward to Wolfgang’s signature porterhouse steak as well as other USDA-certified prime selections of steak, seafood, soups, salads, and desserts, including the restaurant’s famous New York Cheesecake.
Dean & DeLuca
If you have been around the back of Power Plant Mall in Rockwell, you have seen the sign. Yes, Dean & DeLuca is coming to Manila. The upscale New York restaurant/market offering fresh produce as well as a deli-style menu will be opening its doors sometime in 2015. From exceptional coffee and delicate pastries to world-class charcuterie and cheeses and beautifully prepared food, Dean & DeLuca will have something every food lover will enjoy.
Pink’s has been a mainstay in California since Paul and Betty Pink set up their pushcart in 1939 on La Brea Avenue. The Hollywood institution, which counts celebrities among their fans, will be setting up their first branch in BGC sometime mid-2015. Thanks to the Wildflour group, Filipino customers can now enjoy Pink’s custom hotdogs and toppings, including items named after some of their celebrity diners, such as the Brando Dog, made with a 10-inch, quarter-pound beef weiner with chili, onions, and mustard, and the Rosie O’ Donnell, made with a nine-inch stretch dog, mustard, onions, chili, and sauerkraut.
More food finds from PJ Enriquez inside Asian Dragon Magazine’s March-April 2015 issue.
[Photographs: PJ Enriquez]