As you might have heard, the Mandarin Oriental Manila will be closing sometime September.
The hotel is closing one establishment at a time. Kiplings closed a few weeks ago. Tin Hau bid us goodbye yesterday. There will be a final party at Martini's led by Boyet Sison on the 18th. And Tivoli will close on July 25.
Last Friday, July 11, the Mandarin Oriental Manila's most renowned chef Norbert Gandler starred in the Tivoli kitchen once again to kick off a Best of the Best series at the Tivoli. The "Best of the Best" is a celebration of Tivoli favorites from menus since the restaurant opened in the '80s, to be served until the 25th. Also part of this series is a collaboration between Tivoli Executive Chef Rene Ottlik and Margarita Fores, who will be cooking at the Tivoli for the first time on the 18th.
Chef Gandler, for those who don't know, mentored Antonio's Chef Tonyboy Escalante and Lolo Dad's (now closed) Ariel Manuel when they were starting out, working under Gandler at the Mandarin.
|Mandarin Executive Chef Rene Ottlik and former Mandarin Executive Chef Norbert Gandler|
Fortunately, this man Teddy Montelibano, was fast enough to get the fun foodie group "Lamonation" seats for both events.
I wouldn't have missed this dinner for the world as it was my first time to try Norbert Gandler's cooking. Although I have eaten a few times at Aubergine, you don't always catch him in the kitchen. Last Friday's dinner made me understand why he is so respected and loved.
They started with a Millionaires Salad whose pressed mud crab with salmon roe would have been impressive on its own but whose foie gras ice cream made our noisy table fall silent, wishing the moment would never end.
This was followed by The Tivoli Bouillabaisse whose perfect broth made it evident that a lot of work was done to create this perfect bowl of soup.
Third course: port wine braised Mulwarra veal cheeks. So soft. And the green pea risotto was light and delicate and I could've finished a whole cup of that. "Best veal cheeks I have ever eaten!" my very knowledgeable seatmate Katrina Lagman said, who later added it was so delicious, every bite almost made her swoon. "This is much better than the Veal Cheeks Ravioli in [bleep!], which was too salty and nakaka-umay ... Totally worth breaking my no-veal rule for!"
But the chef at this point was just getting started. The veal cheeks were followed by scallops and mushrooms, dubbed a "taste of land and sea"; and Australian Bultarra Saltbush lamb.
And then the piece de resistance: roasted Nebraska Prime Angus Beef Strip Loin and Butter-poached Baby Lobster. Each piece was heavenly but hiding behind the scenes is a tart tatin with a surprise blue cheese kick.
The night ended on a sweet note care of The Mandarin's former pastry chef Ernie Balbaran, who created the perfect dessert of buttered popcorn ice cream and "textures of Valrhona". Note the white chocolate Mandarin fan.
Oh, Tivoli. You will be missed.
A final toast! To the Mandarin! Cheers ... til we meet again ...
|PS. Most heartfelt applause and STANDING OVATION to the most beautiful rose among these hardworking, talented thorns: Mandarin Oriental Manila's Director of Communications Charisse Chuidian.|
Pay your respects and book a table before Tivoli closes on July 25!!!
Mandarin Oriental Manila
Call landline: 750 8888 for reservations
Until July 25: Tivoli's Best of the Best
July 18: Margarita Fores and Mandarin Executive Chef Rene Ottlik
July 18: The Final Chapter @ Martini's