Arts & Leisure

Focusing on Filipino favorites

Posted on June 09, 2016

IT HAS become something of a tradition that when Independence Day rolls around, chef Myrna Segismundo will be in the Peninsula Hotel kitchen presenting her vision of good Filipino cuisine to the patron’s of the hotel’s Escolta restaurant.

FIESTA FILIPINO: Batchoy and Pao, a hearty broth with pork and beef, egg noodles and chicharon (cracklings) served with a stuffed bun; Ensaladang Okoy, shrimp fritters served with a salad of palm hearts, jicama, pomelo, and honeyed fish sauce (patis); chef Myrna Segismundo.
For the last four years, her estofados and okoys and bulalos have been staples at the restaurant’s buffet. This year things are different -- 12 of her dishes are being featured on the menu of the hotel’s iconic Lobby from June 9 to 19.

“This is a chance to do something different,” said Resident Manager Yves Thoma last week at a dinner introducing the special menu which is filled with reinterpretations of Philippine staples. Noting that The Lobby is the hotel’s biggest F&B outlet, he pointed out that “Myrna’s dishes will be offered in the menu all day.” There will also be an expansion of the Filipino merienda (afternoon snack) menu, he said, although not all the dishes for that will be by Ms. Segismundo. The special menu dishes that prove to be most popular with The Lobby patrons may be added to its regular menu after the promotion.

“I look forward to doing this [in the Peninsula],” said Ms. Segismundo in a speech before the dinner. “The Pen Lobby has always been the best lobby in Manila,” she said.

She pointed out that her partnership with the hotel for this special occasion has lasted for four years, and noted that this time it is not a buffet but a la carte. What is the difference, BusinesssWorld asked? “I have to spend more time in the kitchen,” quipped the chef who has long been considered one of the leading names in Philippine cuisine.

The 12 commemorative Filipino dishes, celebrate the hotel’s 40th anniversary as well as the 118th anniversary of the founding of the Philippine Republic.

The Fiesta Filipino menu at The Lobby includes Ms. Segismundo’s signature dishes such as Kinilaw (her version of the raw seafood dish “cooked” in vinegar features prawns, salmon and lapu-lapu served with crisp chips), Ensaladang Okoy (traditional shrimp fritters which instead of being paired with the traditional atchara -- pickled papaya -- is served with a refreshing salad of palm hearts, jicama, pomelo, and native honey fish sauce). Also on the menu is her Adobo Foie Gras and Truffle Paté (a rich dish of goose liver, truffle and chicken adobo mixed with garlic, soy sauce and vinegar served with toast points), and Kesong Puti and Longganisa de Recado (carabao milk cheese with garlic sausage, roasted tomato salsa, micro greens served with pan de sal).

Comfort dishes are given an upgrade on the menu. Tapa, usually a dried cured beef served with garlic rice and a fried egg for breakfast, finds its way to The Lobby in the form of Black Angus beef which is served with pickled green mangoes, a 60 degree egg, and garlic rice. Bistek Tagalog -- thin slices of beef cooked with onions and soy sauce -- is transformed into Roast Prime Rib Tagalog, served with caramelized onions, soya-calamansi au jus, and Dinorado rice. Batchoy, the hearty chicken noodle soup make with pork organs and crackling, is here served with Segismundo’s take on the humble siopao (steamed filled bun) -- what looks like a dinner roll is stuffed with a Chinese sausage-flavored filling.

Other dishes on the menu are Pastel de Pollo (chicken and vegetables in a puff pastry crust served with chorizo rice), Sea Bass Coco Crab, Boneless Lechon (pork belly roulade).

For dessert, there are Ms. Segismundo’s signature sweets -- Queso de Bola Cheesecake (made with sharp Edam cheese) and the Marquesa de Chocolate (a chilled dessert made from 65% Malagos chocolate from Davao).

For inquiries, call 887-2888, e-mail or visit -- AAH