MANILA, Philippines – In the middle of a madder-than-usual Friday rush hour in Makati, I slipped into New World Hotel eager to find respite. I ended up discovering a feast!
The 5-star hotel is a favorite among upscale business and leisure travelers, and is also the perfect staycation destination as it is right in the heart of the district.
Right across New World is Greenbelt. There, you’re already spoilt for choice with a bursting strip of restaurants and cafes. But if you crave prime indulgence, it’s not too hard to venture a little farther and sample New World’s sumptuous alternatives.
There are four restaurants inside the hotel: three in the lobby and one in the 2nd floor. Are they worth crossing over for? I went to find out for myself.
Authentic Cantonese fare: Jasmine
In Metro Manila, anyone can enjoy every Chinese food variety from upscale to street. That said, you should consider adding Jasmine to your list of failsafe options. Here, you’ll come back not just for the delectable dishes but for the experience.
JASMINE. Photo by Krista Garcia
The first thing I loved about Jasmine are its interiors. Lush, Chinese art-deco details give off an opulent vibe and that makes you feel like a character in a Wong Kar Wai film. Amenities include private rooms and dining booths so you can dine with privacy. This place is perfect for important celebrations, or if you simply want to treat loved ones to something fancy.
According to Paawan Engineer, New World Hotel’s director of food and beverage, they did their homework for the menu. “Our chef is from Hong Kong. He’s been making dim sum for the last 35 years. We sent our people in his restaurant where he used to work, we tried his dim sum, and then based on that, we got him here.”
UNLIMITED DIM SUM. Photo by Krista Garcia
Indeed, the dim sum is Jasmine’s pride. Paawan said they focus on making it as authentic as possible. For lunch or dinner, you could enjoy an unlimited dim sum buffet featuring premium selections that include traditional favorites like siopai, siomai, and updated versions like wagyu rolls. The xiao long bao, a dim sum staple, is what I got to try. It’s a tasty surprise and I found myself reaching for seconds.
For Christmas and New Year, Jasmine has created several set menus that start at P1,500 per person. I went on to sample choice items from each set. Feast on them below:
DEEP FRIED SEAFOOD MANGO ROLL, CHICKEN SALAD. This entree is a medley of textures and flavors that will rouse your appetite. Photo by Krista Garcia
DUCK, SHRIMP, AND RICE WRAPPED IN LOTUS LEAVES. Fragrant and good on its own, this conjures up memories of a freezing Hong Kong night warmed up by my first taste of this delicacy. Photo by Krista Garcia
STIR FRIED PRAWNS AND KING MUSHROOMS WITH X.O. SAUCE. Juicy, bursting with flavor and fit for royalty. Photo by Krista Garcia
BRAISED MEAT BALL, SALTED EGG YOLK, "SHANGHAI" STYLE. The hefty size is great for sharing but you'll want to finish it on your own. Photo by Krista Garcia
SWEET RIESLING. White wine goes perfectly with the seafood set. Photo by Krista Garcia
Don’t forget to ask your waiter for their wine recommendation. That night, I was poured a sweet Riesling which polished off my meal perfectly.
Afterwards, I checked out the three other restaurants in New World’s ground floor.
Laidback cocktails: The Lounge
THE LOUNGE. Coffee corner by day, chill club by night. Photo by Krista Garcia
Plush seats and a great garden view make The Lounge perfect for the very activity that its name mandates. Come night time, it transforms into a chill hub, and you can trade in your coffee for a smooth drink and enjoy live music.
THE ORIENTAL. The Lounge’s take on scotch on the rocks has a citrus twist. Photo by Krista Garcia
Wide selections, all-day dining: Cafe 1228
CAFE 1228. A high-end buffet with live kitchen demos. Photo by Krista Garcia
Filipinos flock to buffets because in our culture, eating together is considered a social activity. In this sense, Cafe 1228 seems perfect for all the reunions and parties you’re planning to attend or organize over the holidays.
The restaurant features an extensive buffet with live cooking stations. But if you wish, there is also an ala carte menu featuring breakfast sets, steaks, burgers, Filipino and Asian specialties, as well as a vegan selection.
BURGER HEAVEN. Photo courtesy of New World Hotel.
Their US Prime Smoked Beef Burger is a hearty assembly of oatmeal bun, melted cheese, avocado, veggies, and barbecue sauce. The patty is juicy and flavored just right — this is an uber-deluxe spin to something which I consider as comfort food.
Posh possibilities with cool drinks: Bar Rogue
BAR ROGUE. Relax in style inside this posh pub. Photo by Krista Garcia
Hidden from plain view is Bar Rogue – a more intimate and sophisticated set-up that resembles a jazz bar. Sleek and sexy are other adjectives that come to mind. I could totally imagine Hemingway inside Bar Rogue, drinking a dry martini while sharing passages from his novel. Since I don’t do clubs, and I often bemoan the inability to have a decent conversation in pubs, I look forward to going back here and enjoying a drink or two with some friends.
FANCY A BOUQUET? Bar Rogue has a collection of fine cigars. Photo by Krista Garcia
If the extensive wine collection and cocktail menu don’t draw you in, then you only need to peek at the glass drawer right in front of the bar area. There, you’ll find an exclusive collection of fine cigars, and though I didn’t have one myself, I was thrilled to finally have an answer the next time someone asks about where to find excellent tobacco in the metro. – Rappler.com
Before becoming part of the Rappler team, Krista Garcia hunted down cafes, bars, and new restaurants as a script writer and producer for a lifestyle show.
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