Last week, the 4 Shangri-La City Hotels namely, Shangri-La at The Fort, Edsa Shangri-La, Makati Shangri-La and Hotel Jen Manila hosted a one-of-a-kind dinner event to launch their newest food and beverage loyalty program called The Table.
Guests were not quite sure what to expect that night, except that since we all knew this is a collaborative effort between the Shangri-La Hotels in Manila, we knew we were in for a special treat!
Guests were first led to the “bridge” in Level 3 of the Shangri-La at The Fort. When we walked in, the venue was transformed into a beautiful garden… or more like an enchanted paradise! There were lots of hanging flowers all around us that made us feel we were all in the Garden of Eden!
We were welcomed by no less than the 3 General Managers : Amit Oberoi of Edsa Shangri-La, Alain Borgers of Makati Shangri-La and John Rice of Shangri-La at The Fort.
In this very intimate venue, fresh and delicious canapes were overflowing. We were served these delectable delights:
Organic Heirloom Tomatoes Scented with Lime and Paprika Basil Espuma
Beetroot Cured Salmon Cubes Wasabi Sauce
Confit Guinea Fowl Pear Chips Garden Greens Herbs
Crusted Yellow Fin Tuna Tataki White Tea Jelly Micro Greens
These scrumptious appetizers were paired with one of the most delicious cocktail drinks I’ve ever had, The Hugo : a prosecco-based spritzer made with elderflower, mint and lime. It was very light and oh-so refreshing!
As soon as we were done with our cocktails, we were then ushered to another place — with a dramatic opening of the doors of the Grand Ballroom A. As we all walked inside the dimly lit ballroom, the excitement in the air became palpable as we were all pleasantly surprised to see massive Ikebana-like art pieces surrounding us, all designed by artist Bea Valdes.
Each art piece complemented a live action station where chefs prepared Foie gras and apple sliders, Hokkaido scallops with pumpkin and summer truffle, Olive soil, mushrooms, goat cheese panna cotta and baby leaves, and Bellota Iberico ham, extra virgin olive oil, farmers’ baguette and tomato garlic pulpo.
Meanwhile Shangri-La at the Fort’s mixologists also crafted signature cocktails such as the Maple & Bacon Manhattan, El Toro Loco (habanero-infused 1800 silver tequila, Cocci Americano vermouth, cucumber, agave lime), as well as Veuve Clicquot champagne and house barrel-aged Leyenda Oloroso Bodega M. Gil Luque sherry.
“The Elegant Menu is inspired by ingredients that are earthy, natural and sustainable,” said Joris Rycken, executive chef of Shangri-La at the Fort. “The dishes presented tonight are in harmony with artist Bea Valdes’ concept of stepping into a forest and feasting on food from the earth.”
Some of the dishes we feasted on during this part of the evening :
Olive Soil Mushrooms Goat Cheese Sphere Baby Leaves
Textured Hokkaido Scallops Pumpkin Summer Truffle
El Toro Loco
Clearly, the first two acts of the evening — from the appetizing cocktails held in the flower-filled bridge to the warm and delicious meals served in this part of the ballroom, were more than enough, as each and every dish were satisfying and quite filling for most of us.
And so we thought that was it for the night… and desserts would be next.
But we were wrong. There was to be a “Third Act” of the night. We slowly walked into Grand Ballroom B and were once again surprised to see how they transformed the room into a suspended “meadow”! There was a very long banquet table right in the center of the ballroom and floating overhead were some of the most luscious branches of cherry blossoms, sprigs and selloum leaves! We all felt we were guests in a grand wedding feast!
As each guest took their seat at the table, we were then served a beautiful seafood Mediterranean-inspired dish…
Monk Fish Fillet in Cara Fata Octopus Chorizo Saffron Orzo Perno infused White Wine Sauce
It was very obvious that the guests were continuously blown away by each and every venue we were led into, and by each and every dish we were served!
As we took our last bite of this delicately flavored fish, we were happily expecting to be served our sweets next…only to find out we were wrong (again!)
Guests were asked to step down from the long banquet table, and step into a retro-futuristic themed room, this time the Grand Ballroom C. Rock music blared from the background while special lights reflected on the mylar centerpiece which made the scene look like a colossal flame!
As for the design theme, Bea Valdes chose to use a lightweight, reflective material like mylar to counterbalance the density of the meat dishes. “I wanted to go for a futuristic feel, but in a less polished way, like a slightly slicker Mad Max,” said Valdes. “So the rustic elements like the cast iron, large copper pots and wooden chopping block can meet sculptural cutlery and design that can push toward a contemporary edge.”
Keeping up with the mood, all the chefs from the Shangri-La paraded through the square-shaped banquet setup, holding a large, thick rectangular chopping block filled with lots of meat!
The chefs then proceeded to the center of the setup, in central view of all the guests, carved, chopped and served the Smoked 48-hour slowcooked US beef brisket; Chapon de Bresse (goose) braised in champagne with root vegetables; Black Angus prime rib marinated in bourbon and muscovado; Iberico pork pressa in bomba rice crust, chili and herbs with Rioja sauce, as well as cast iron skillet-braised root vegetables and sauces directly to each guest.
The hearty dishes were paired with The Bloody Bull, one of the signature cocktails of Raging Bull Chophouse & Bar of Shangri-La at the Fort, a concoction of rosemary-infused Tito’s vodka, Dolin vermouth rouge, beef stock, lemon, tomato, barbeque sauce and chorizo de bellota, served in a tin can; and a Giorgio Pelissero Piani Barbera d’Alba red wine from Piemonte, Italy.
I was seated next to Patti Javier and Alain Borgers, General Manager of the Makati Shangri-La.
Then finally, it was time for the (real) end of the meal!
The dessert spread was up next… And for me personally (as you can tell), this was my most awaited time of the night!
True enough, this last part of the evening didn’t disappoint! It was the perfect sweet ending to such a fun and fabulous night filled with art, creativity, and food… and not just any food (mind you), but lots of glorious food!
Guests were greeted by a colorful balloon sculpture hanging above a long acrylic table that was lit with magnetic floating and spinning chocolate hats, different colored chocolate balls that were smashed to reveal mousse and crumble fillings, lemon within a lemon with a lemon (that’s lime tartlet with crispy meringue crumble and lime chips), live nitrogen ice cream, chilled pressed fruits, giant chocolate mushrooms, chocolate cylinders with passion fruit mousse, dulce de leche mille feuille crisps and lollipop cocktails!
Chef Anthonay Collar, Shangri-La the Fort’s Executive Pastry Chef explained to us his amazing dessert spread! He encouraged everyone to smash the chocolate balls and play with our desserts as well!
There were so many beautiful cakes and scrumptious pastries around us…
And lots of delicious chocolates too… that I seriously didn’t know which part of the dessert table to begin with! You name it, we sure had that dessert there!
By then, the mood of the evening changed into a buoyant party atmosphere with guests clapping, giggling and rushing toward the dessert table — including yours truly who was leading the way, LOL! 🙂
Mr John Rice, Shangri-La the Fort’s General Manager, capped the wonderful night with a short note of gratitude to all the guests who came to the event and savored all the meticulously prepared food the 3 Shangri-La Hotels planned and worked for many weeks, to launch what is now known as the food and beverage loyalty program of all Shangri-La Hotels worldwide, The Table.
So what is The Table really all about?
The Table is fully integrated with Shangri-La’s award-winning Golden Circle loyalty program and recognizes members through achievable redemptions and access to signature food experiences, exclusive events, unique surprises and special offers. Among the industry-leading differentiators that set Shangri-La’s dining loyalty program apart from others are:
- More Rewards: Members can now earn Golden Circle Award Points by dining and drinking at the more than 500 restaurants and bars in 98 Shangri-La, Hotel Jen, Kerry and Traders properties globally when they are non-staying guests.
- Instant Indulgence: Instant Dining Rewards allows members to earn and redeem Golden Circle award points on the spot – no pre-planning or vouchers required.
- Elite Rewards: Jade and Diamond level members receive bonus earnings and more value on redemptions for dining transactions.
- Sweeter Deals: Members receive Golden Circle Award Points on all qualifying transactions, including discounts.
To learn more about this exciting new program, visit www.GoldenCircle.com/TheTable.
My very special thanks to Lesley Tan, Communications Director of Shangri-La at The Fort.