Arts & Leisure

Best dining secrets revealed

Posted on December 06, 2012

SECRETS were revealed at the recently concluded Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets (MBKRS) Awards, held on Nov. 28 at Enderun Colleges in Taguig, although describing many of the awardees as “secret” is a bit of a stretch as they are well-known and respected and not just by foodies.

THE PENINSULA’s Salon de Ning was named the best Bar at this year’s Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets Awards -- Jonathan L. Cellona
The first award went to Va Bene Pasta Deli, which received recognition for being the Best Italian Restaurant. Oddly nestled near a Makati gas station, the restaurant is as close as you can get to authentic Italian cuisine with its experienced Italian chef (who worked five years in the Peninsula Manila Hotel) and fresh handmade pasta.

Named next were the best in French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Continental and Thai cuisines. Triumphant were Brasserie Ciçou, Terry’s Selection, Sugi, Hai Shin Lou, Sala, and People’s Palace, respectively.

Another Makati favorite, People’s Palace, bagged an award yet again after winning last year. Scottish chef Colin Mackay’s take on modern Thai cuisine continues to be a popular choice for many. The restaurant has been around for many years and has long been a popular destination for anyone craving Thai food.

Best in Filipino, Middle Eastern, Korean, Indian, and Central European cuisines were awarded to Abé, Hossein’s Persian Kebab, Kaya, New Bombay Indian Cuisine, and Old Swiss Inn
A Best Specialty Award went to Corner Tree Café, a vegetarian restaurant along Jupiter St., Makati.

Other specialty-based Awards were: Best Steakhouse went to Bistro Resto/Bar; Enoteca was honored for its Wine List; and the best Burger Joint is called Dessert. Best Newcomer honors were bestowed on Elbert’s Steak Room, Sala Bistro, M Café, Cav, Barcino Gourmet, Charlie’s Grind and Grill, The Cake Club, and Wildflour Café+Bakery.

One of the most raved about restaurants in the Metro of late, Wildflour gives off an indie vibe. Initially intended to be a bakery at the Fort, the dining menu was apparently good enough to have overshadowed the baked items.

Its executive chef, Walter Manzke, is a California-based chef who began his career in 1993 at Patina restaurant. He eventually worked for Alain Ducasse and at the Church & State Bistro in LA.

The Hotel Restaurant Awards were best in International Buffet, Fine Dining, Specialty, and Bar, and were received by the newly reopened Sofitel’s Spiral, Maxim’s Impressions, Makati Shangri-La’s Shang Palace, and the Peninsula Manila’s Salon de Ning, respectively.

Salon de Ning, The Peninsula Manila’s most recent signature venue, is a combination of a clubby lounge and a bar. The concept was inspired by the life and adventures of the fictional Madam Ning and her travel mementos and “objets d’art” which reflect her glamorous lifestyle.

Individual Achieve Awards were also presented: Best Emerging Talent, Chef, Restaurant Group Entrepreneur, and Lifetime Achievement awards went to Martin Wisniewski of the Raintree Restaurants, J Gamboa (Cirkulo, Azuthai, among others), Annabel Wisnewski (Raintree Restaurants), and Juan Carlos de Terry, hailed as the king of Spanish cuisine in the country. -- Camille Erika R. Sarte