The Tasting Room At City Of Dreams Manila Is Back With A New Chef, A New Space, And Under A New Hotel Brand Called Nüwa
Last December 2017, City of Dreams Manila (surprisingly) announced that it had softly-reopened The Tasting Room just before Christmas.
For the sake of those who haven’t been to City of Dreams before, The Tasting Room was the modern European restaurant located on the ground floor of the former Crown Towers. It first opened to the public in early 2015, and closed sometime in 2016. It has since reopened in the same hotel (now called Nüwa), but relocated to a more elegant space that used to house Crystal Lounge, the former Crown Tower’s posh bar lounge.
Rebranding Crown Towers in Macau and Manila
What happened to Crown Towers? Last January 16, 2018, Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited replaced its Crown Tower properties within its flagship City of Dreams integrated resorts in Macau and Manila with a new luxury hotel brand called Nüwa. The debut of Nüwa also marks the first step in the preparation for the launch of Phase III of City of Dreams Macau, currently scheduled for the second quarter of 2018.
Nüwa is named after a deity in Chinese mythology, initially portrayed in early Chinese literature as having a woman’s head and a serpent’s body, but eventually changed to the image of an elegant, graceful goddess who embodies classic Asian refinement—which is what this new luxury brand is aspiring to provide to its guests. In the company press release, Lawrence Ho, Chairman and CEO of Melco, defined Nüwa as, “the very best in sophistication, quality and innovation.”
What to expect at The Tasting Room
At the helm of The Tasting Room’s new incarnation is its new French Chef de Cuisine, Frederic Thevenet. Chef Frederic brings with him a wealth of culinary experience that spans three decades, with stints at Michelin-starred restaurants such as Pierre Gagnaire in Paris, The Waterside Inn in London, Claude Troisgros in New York, and Restaurant Bruno in Provence.
Before moving to the Philippines to reopen The Tasting Room, Chef Frederic was Chef de Cuisine at Pierre Gagnaire’s La Maison 1888 at DaNang Sun Peninsula Resort, considered a leading gastronomic destination in Vietnam. Joining Chef Frederic at The Tasting Room as Restaurant Manager is Stephen Moroney who used to work with Chef Frederic at DaNang.
Still in its soft opening stage, The Tasting Room currently just offers either a four- or six-course degustation menu, complemented by a full wine and spirits selection. It plans to introduce an à la carte menu by February. The restaurant has a seating capacity of 56, consisting of the main dining area for 40 guests, a semi-private area and a bar, each of which can accommodate eight persons.
Sea Bass Carpaccio
During my first visit, we were introduced to Chef Frederic’s four-course tasting menu starting with Sea Bass Carpaccio with red and black radish, artichoke cream, cucumber jelly, celeriac, remoulade, banana blossom, veal tongue, vinaigrette, and pickles; and Porcini and King Prawns Ravioli with green curry, endives, and coconut. Stephen expertly paired both these starters with appropriate white wines.
After tasting the first two courses, one can already see Chef Frederic’s more contemporary take on haute French cuisine with his use of local produce and Asian spices and flavors, like serving the ravioli with a light curry sauce.
Pollock with Choucroute and Smoked Bacon
The next course, a Lobster Bisque with ginger and Espelette pepper, turned out to be my favorite for that night, as the bisque base, went well with the fish entrée of pollock with choucroute, smoked bacon, tofu, and juniper berries that Stephen paired with a Gewürztraminer from a personal favorite winery, Domaine Mittnacht.
Cape Grim Grass-fed Beef Tenderloin
Chocolate Success with Lychee Veloute
Meat lovers will like the final entrée of Cape Grim Grass-fed Beef Tenderloin with black pepper, onions, and potatoes. The dinner ended with a decadent chocolate dessert called Chocolate Success which was served with a lychee velouté. Tea drinkers must not miss ending their meals with hot tea brewed with freshly picked herbs presented on a tea cart and prepared on the spot. Cocktail lovers may opt to end the night with a cocktail nightcap or two from the bar.
A four-course menu is priced at P4,588++ per person, and a six-course menu is at P5,088++. Wine pairing is offered at an additional P2,000++ and P2,800++, respectively.
Nüwa, City of Dreams Manila, Aseana Avenue corner Macapagal Avenue, Entertainment City, Parañaque City Tel. (02) 691-7789, (02) 800-8080 (24-hour hotline) Email TheTastingRoom@cod-manila.com www.nuwamanila.com Open 6:30 pm - 10:30 pm (closed Tuesdays) Follow the author on IG and Twitter @cyrenedelarosa