Enderun Colleges never ceases to amaze me. Every time I find myself in the McKinley Hill Campus, there’s something new brewing. Be it the renovation of classrooms, construction of a new building, addition of new courses to the college offerings, or conception of a new menu at Restaurant 101, the ever-evolving process of Enderun makes me want to come back and check whenever I’m in the Taguig area. Lucky for me, I got an invite from my Alma mater to sample their latest restaurant creations, 101’s Market Menu as prepared and served by members of the alumni.
The press and blogger event started with a demo for those who want to see how three of the dishes to be served to us later are prepared. (Well, for me it actually started about an hour earlier with a self-guided walking tour of the campus to see the new Titans Hall and other developments.) Alumni chefs, some of whom were batch mates, headed the demo in the Culinary Amphitheater with Enderun Chef Instructor Thomas Wenger doing the introductions and inserting his notes on certain processes.
Afterwards, we were led downstairs to Restaurant 101 for the dinner proper. Funny thing is… that was actually my first time to sit and dine inside Restaurant 101, McKinley Hill. I used to eat at 101 back when the newly opened Enderun Colleges still had a place in Ortigas. When the school moved to Taguig, I always found myself either rushing to start the looong commute home or too busy with classes that I didn’t even get to treat myself to a lunch or dinner there! At least I got to experience the meal with a fresh perspective, just like some of the other first-timers in attendance. Onto the meal, then:
It’s quail egg unlike what you’ve ever experienced before. They took an ingredient that’s commonly associated in the Philippines with street food or Chinese Birthday Noodles and transformed it into a dish that brings together so many flavors and textures—sweet-crunchy asparagus, savory-crunchy-soft egg, earthy-tart truffle dressing, and rich cream. The Scotch Egg is a tempting teaser of what’s to follow.
Am I biased in saying I love this salad? Yes, because I have a deep appreciation for pan-fried goose liver. No terrines or pâtés for me, please. Pan-searing brings out the crispy, caramelized outer part of the goose liver that’s half of the experience. (The other half, of course, is the taste!) Serving it in a salad was a way to balance the richness out as some people find the liver itself umay-inducing (resulting in a tired palate). You’ve got your fresh greens, tart strawberry slices, and the naturally sweet/tart cranberry dressing that instantly refresh the palate with each bite.
I’ve tried a lot of ‘Cream Ofs’ before, but not with beans. If you like the texture of beans, then this is beans galore. The prawn and chorizo galette adds a salty, savory factor to the soup. Plus points for showmanship, since they pour the soup over the garnished bowl in front of the diner.
Attractive colors on the plate. That’s the first impression I got from this dish. I love mashed potatoes and I love salmon, so the pairing is one I enjoy immensely. They added the pickled cucumbers to make it interesting, but I like how it didn’t turn out too sour. Not so much pickle as it still possesses that fresh cucumber flavor. The salmon skin chicharon is just plain fun to eat, while the salmon meat itself is tender and earthy from the beetroot marinade.
The duck was as tender as dark meat gets, and the aromatic taste of celeriac was distinctive. The only thing I didn’t like about this dish was how the hazelnut in the apple hazelnut chutney seemed past its prime.
This dessert was as much a treat to the eye as it was a delightful meal-ender. The harmonious combination of dark and white chocolate was countered by the raspberry jelly on the top, and who doesn’t like chocolate discs to chew on? I’m more of a peppermint gal myself, but the butter-mint ice cream did refresh the palate after the luxurious six-course meal.
In addition to the Alain Ducasse level of quality in the food, there’s the students training for F&B service class working in the restaurant. Remember to be patient with them, because it’s their chance to put into practice all the techniques they’ve been taught.
Thanks, Enderun, for having me over!
For more information on Restaurant 101, visit their website HERE.
Restaurant 101 / Enderun Colleges
1100 Campus Avenue
McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio
Taguig City 1634 Philippines
*The event/meal was done by Enderun Colleges free-of-charge for members of the Press/Media, but all opinions are my own.