OMGD Philippines Wine Appreciation Dinner
Bailliage of Manila
Manila, November 25, 2015
Basque Dinner at The Tasting Room, City of Dreams

For the final dinner of the year the Ordre Mondial group within the Bailliage of Manila had a modern Basque dinner at “The Tasting Room” in the City of Dreams.

Although a Rhône theme was originally scheduled at the establishment, a modern Basque dinner was decided upon after learning that Executive Chef William Mahi is himself Basque – although from the French side. He also has impeccable credentials as his previous posting was as chef of a Michelin 2-star restaurant in Athens.

To pair with Chef Mahi’s creations, Edna Diaz of Bestworld Beverage Brands generously provided all the wines. The reds came from the Rioja winery of Ramon Bilbao, also on offer was a Cava and an Albariño.

After a Mumm Cordon Rouge NV Champagne Reception dinner started with a playful arrangement of various appetizers. My favourite was the curry apple crisp followed by the goat’s cheese cube.

The first course was a duck liver terrine in red wine jelly with various sauces dotted on the plate. Good with the cava!

This was followed by an excellent dish of two oysters. I could have finished a whole platter of these. Not bad with the Albariño but personally I preferred it with the cava.

A fish course featured a “humble” red mullet fillet garnished with a rather complex sauce. This was paired with the Ramon Bilbao Reserva and you would be forgiven for thinking it an odd pairing. However, the weight and complexity of the sauce worked well with the red wine. There was also a touch of squid ink risotto served on the side.

Perhaps the most interesting dish was the galette of pig’s trotter main course. It tasted very much like sisig1 and like sisig left on a sizzling plate it had a range of textures from crisp to chewy. I personally thought it was very good although I think some people didn’t take to it at all. Quite good with the Ramon Bilbao Gran Reserva.

The chocolate dessert was outstanding, with different layers of chocolate and fruit for contrast. However I felt it needed a different companion than the Ramon Bilbao Mirto.

Overall, it was a good dinner showing off modern Basque cuisine paired with wines which gave plenty of opportunity for comment.

Jay Labrador

1 Pork sisig is a Filipino dish that originated from Pampanga, a province in the northern part of the Philippines. It is a popular appetizer with beer drinkers. Originally, sisig was composed of diced pig’s head (snout and ears included) and pig’s liver.