Lately, I’ve begun to place more value and more thought into where and what I eat. When I was younger, I could easily settle for eating at fast food chains because I had a small budget and was perfectly happy snacking on burgers, fries and milkshakes. Once upon a time, I would not have even bothered to step into a fancy restaurant whose menu contained dishes made up of ingredients I don’t even know or names that I can’t pronounce. Now that I have a bit more in my pockets and have developed a deeper appreciation for the finer things in life, I make sure that I set aside enough funds to dine in new and interesting—albeit sometimes pricey—restaurants from time to time. This is why I jumped at the opportunity to invite my friend Amanda for a feature on The Fireplace so we could try out its sinfully delicious array of food.
The Fireplace is at the 5th Level of Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila
The Fireplace takes pride in its ten-foot copper-covered wood-fired Beech Oven, which is on full display in front of the guests so they can see the magic happen. This customized oven enhances the natural flavors of the ingredients, giving the meat and seafood a smoked, woodsy taste that cannot easily be matched by commercial ovens.
The restaurant arranged for us a five-course meal composed of their signature dishes. For our appetizer, we had the Millionaire’s Salad (P1,400), a bed of organic leaves drizzled with raspberry vinaigrette and served with succulent add-ons such as prawns, seared scallops, and my favorite, pan-fried foie gras. Because I am a salad lover, I instantly fell in love with this dish. It is a perfect appetizer because it is very light and its taste will not linger on your palate, which is ideal for a multiple-course dining experience. I loved the foie gras very much; it was my first time tasting it and I’m very glad I did.
The first of the main courses were served in tandem. On one side, we had an American Wagyu Snake River Farm tasting plate; on the other, we had an Australian Wagyu Beef Tajima tasting plate. Each tasting plate was served with a portion of Striploin 6+ (Australian: 10oz-P4,070 12oz-P5,000; American: 10oz-P3,650), Rib-eye 6+ (Australian: 10oz-P4,400 12oz-P4,700; American: 10oz-P4,080) and Tenderloin 6+ (Australian 9+: 8oz-P5,200 10oz-P5,500; American: 8oz-P3,530).
American Wagyu Snake River Farm tasting plate
Australian Wagyu Beef Tajima tasting plate
Because they looked completely the same, I was initially puzzled as to how I could tell the difference, but it is possible for one to distinguish between the two because the American dish had a more distinct taste. This won the democracy vote as we all prefer it to the Australian dish.
Australian Striploin 6+
American Striploin and Rib-eye
In between this course and the next, we had some Wheat bread with tomato paste and Potato Gratin (P100), which were both very delicious and filling. In fact, we loved the tomato paste so much that Amanda and I even took some home.
Wheat bread with tomato paste
To drink, we had their Guava Iced Tea (P305.05), which is The Fireplace’s signature drink. It went perfectly with all the dishes and did not have that artificial sweet taste that most generic iced teas out there do.
Guava Iced Tea
The final main course was the Duck Leg Confit (P1,300) with saffron risotto and red wine shallot sauce, the dish that comes with a warning. Corporate Leadership Trainee Nicolas Mattmuller told us that most of their staff do not like the risotto that is served with this dish because it has a distinct European flavor to it that not many can appreciate. Because I have always loved duck and risotto, this ended up becoming my favorite dish of the night. I would have eaten more of it had I not been so full thanks to the rest of the food that we ate, but we had to save some room in our bellies. Dessert was coming up, and we wanted to be able to fully appreciate it. This dish, however, is part of their duck and foies gras promo which is available until the end of April.
Duck Leg Confit with risotto (from their Foie Gras Menu until end of April 2012)
Because I am a dessert fiend, my eyes bugged out when I came face-to-face with the Hot Chocolate Soup (P370). It is literally a vat of dark chocolate soup underneath some sort of chocolate crust and topped with vanilla pepper ice cream. I am definitely not lying when I say it is one of the best things in the universe, because it is so delicious and suited my dessert tastes very well. It was one dish I wish I could take home, but obviously, I could not.
Hot chocolate soup, vanilla cracked pepper ice cream 370 each
So if these dishes have tickled your fancy, head on down to Hyatt Hotel and Casino in Manila to experience the flavors of The Fireplace for yourself. But before you start making your reservations, here’s a bit of very good advice: bring a friend or two. Trust me; you won’t be able to finish everything on your own. Also, indulging in good food is twice the fun when you have someone to share the beginnings of a food coma with.
Images by Nix De Pano.