I tried my best to act properly. I did it the best way I know how, by keeping to myself. You see, the occasion calls for it when I attended the sit-down dinner pairing of Hotel Rembrandt’s The Lobby. The event was held with the word “posh” in mind; long tables lined up the banquet hall, the table was arranged in a fine-dining setup, and a staff was assigned to serve each guest. I had to act like I know these things and I think I succeeded hahaha… But enough about me, let’s talk about the food. You see, The Lobby has a new head chef and with it comes a new set of dishes.
Hotel Rembrandt is a 7-storey boutique hotel located in Tomas Morato, Quezon City. It is named after Dutch master artist, Rembrandt Hermenszoon van Rijn. Hotel Rembrandt has an in-house restaurant called, The Lobby. They serve daily breakfast buffet, lunch, and dinner offering Filipino, Asian, and Western food.
They also have an English pub-inspired bar called, Malt Room and that’s where the night started. I was ushered to the basement in a dingy carpeted room with the smell of cigarette heavy in the air. I felt underdressed upon seeing chic women in their high-heel shoes and little black dress. I saw some familiar faces including Richie of The Pickiest Eater. We were sent there for some drinks; I indulged in a glass of Cointreaupolitan.
The event itself started late, around 9PM. It was hosted by Donny Elvina, Director for Business Development Artstream Hospitality Management Group, Inc. (AHMGI) and Carla Louise Rabanzo, Marketing Manager of AHMGI.
The better part of the event was led by Chef Marie Jo Camarista. We were served over 20 dishes; each one was presented in bite-size portion. I don’t think I cannot make a full review of each dish because there were too many of them and only in small pieces that I hardly remember what I ate. How small? Refer to the photo below.
But I will give special mention of those that made an impression on me.
Hors d’ Oeuvre
It all started with pizzas, Artichoke and Funghi and Prosciutto and Arugula. Of the two I preferred the former.
For starters, we had Salmon Ceviche. It’s fresh salmon marinated in a citrus, coconut milk, and dill. Ceviche is seafood dish commonly seen in the coastal regions of Latin America. The preparation and taste are similar to a local cooking, “kinilaw.”
Tuna Tartare is made with tuna marinated in extra virgin olive oil and citrus fruits, red and yellow cherry tomatoes, in a fresh orange dressing.
There’s also the Shrimp Scampi, and Shrimp Cocktail. I found the Shrimp Scampi (see photo below) utterly delightful. It is fresh shrimps with herbs, buttery sauce, and crab fat. It is sour, a bit salty, and the shrimp pieces are so dainty.
7 dishes were served for the mains starting with Spaghetti Meatballs; a pasta with meatballs simmered in red sauce and served with parmiagano reggiano and toasted focaccia bread.
Stuffed Roasted Chicken uses chicken thigh stuffed with mushrooms, herbs, and pork sausage in almond wine.
The Seafood Pasta is my favorite because first of all, I love seafood and the dish has a generous amount of it; there’s clams, squid, mussels, salmon, and shrimp. I observed that many dishes had shrimps on them, which may be a clue to the chef’s favorite.
Shrimp Thermidor is shrimp in creamy bechamel mash, topped with breadcrumbs and parmesan.
Out of all dishes presented, Shrimp Scampi Linguine is my least favorite. You know those tiny bubbles or gelatine bubbles that explode in your mouth when you eat them? This pasta dish has those bubbles and when they burst, your mouth is flooded with that intense salty flavor. I love salty food but you make it too salty and I will have a hard time appreciating it. The chef was asking the audience some honest feedback during the presentation. I found it awkward to tell it to her on the spot so I decided to just write about it.
The Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli is ravioli pasta with creamy spinach and ricotta cheese in tomato sauce.
There are also Pan-Seared Tuna with Balsamic Glaze, Fish and Chips, Grilled Chicken Baguette, and Burger Slides. Notice that I don’t have photos of the four last dishes because they were not presented on the table for the photo shoot.
If there is anything that I’d recommend at The Lobby it’s their salad. Nicoise Salad is as pretty as it looks. It has olives, tuna, anchovy fillets, feta cheese, lettuce, and french beans, topped with soft-poached egg.
Shrimp and Watermelon Salad (there’s the shrimp again) is also quite good. The watermelon is juicy and lightly sweet and it goes so well with the rest of the greens. Personally, this is the first salad that I’ve seen that has watermelon in it and I don’t mean the fruit salad kind okay.
The part that really made me happy is the presentation of the Cheese Platter because as I mentioned in the past, I love cheese. There’s the Artichoke and Sundried Tomato.
And another favorite of mine, Spicy Mozzarella Stick, it is crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside.
Every time we were served a dish, the waiters also replenish our drinks. They served Robert Skalli merlot and chardonnay. The chardonnay is best paired with herbed pork loin or pasta while the merlot is good with garlic and rosemary rubbed prime rib. Before you become impressed with my wine-pairing prowess, let me just say that I read this in their press kit. Of the two I preferred the lighter flavor of chardonnay.
The last part of the program is the Singleton Single Malt Mentoring Session by Ryan Assidao, a reserve brand ambassador of Diageo Philipines. By this time, I decided to go home because it was already past midnight. That’s right, that’s how long the event had been.
I went out of Hotel Rembrandt, heaved a sigh of relief because I could act normally again (kidding!). It has been a long night and I went home with a full tummy and a buzz in my head from all the Robert Scalli that I downed. These are the new dishes that The Lobby is now offering and if you are the kind of person who likes deep-flavored food, you may want to head out to Hotel Rembrandt and try any of their new offerings.