Cre­ative Con­trol

Red Magazine - - Devoured | Books - WORDS ERIC NI­COLE SALTA PHO­TOG­RA­PHY CHOLA TOLENTINO

A re­vamped menu shows this two Miche­lin-star chef at his most ac­ces­si­ble, skirt­ing the con­tem­po­rary and time­less with a deft touch “If some­one asks if you’ve tried this res­tau­rant yet peo­ple aren’t able to tell you one el­e­ment from their [meal], that’s not a good sign.” Chef Wil­liam Mahi, the Tast­ing Room’s chef de cui­sine, whose res­tau­rant rhetoric is as much a draw as his re­splen­dent plates, took the reins of the mod­ern Euro­pean res­tau­rant two years ago af­ter his stint in Athens’ Spondi. “What’s ex­cit­ing about chef Wil­liam is he is con­stantly de­vel­op­ing a new ex­pe­ri­ence for the cus­tomer,” says prop­erty pres­i­dent Ge­off An­dres. The midyear menu facelift comes with meats from Europe, fish from the At­lantic Ocean, and veg­eta­bles from lo­cal farms. “I’m ba­si­cally fol­low­ing the sea­sons of Europe. In au­tumn, we put more mush­rooms and games that I can find in Paris [into the dishes].”

The lat­est menu up­date is meant to find ful­fill­ment in fa­mil­iar­ity, where a 52-de­gree egg ap­pe­tizer folds nicely with po­tato mousse and French black truf­fle, or a bone-in rib eye is pre­sented to the diner be­fore cook­ing it. Even if the fare is sim­ple, he doesn’t need to force any sort of gim­mickry to make his mark—although there are mo­ments like the Mediter­ranean sea bass in salted crust, com­plete with smoky af­ter-ef­fects. Then, there’s the steak plat­ter with Mayura Sta­tion bone-in rib eye and côte de boeuf wagyu beef: a dish with just enough el­e­gant mus­cle to keep things from get­ting too mun­dane.

“What we want peo­ple to have here is an ex­pe­ri­ence that cre­ates a mem­ory,” says An­dres. And by tak­ing var­i­ous el­e­ments from its col­lec­tive past, The Tast­ing Room has cre­ated some­thing wholly new in what is ut­terly fa­mil­iar.

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