When was the last time you enjoyed a sit-down feast? There are posh buffets opening left and right in Manila, but there’s always going to be an allure in a sumptuous N-course meal. For one, it makes you feel like a king or queen with the level of service you’re getting. If you’re seeking that luxurious experience in the Greenhills area, look no further than Cowrie Grill.
Skeptics, you may be wondering why my time there was so marvelous. It isn’t such a mystery, once you find out that Cowrie Grill is managed by The Manila Hotel. In fact, this fine-dining restaurant used to be inside the hotel before transferring to its current, more accessible location. Fun fact: The original cowrie shells that were displayed at the Manila Hotel dining room are now at Greenhills.
M and I were invited to Cowrie Grill by Zomato to attend the seventh leg of their ongoing dining event collaboration with Manila Bulletin’s Cruising #GoingPlaces magazine, called Cruising X Zomato Taste #TravelForFood. It makes total sense to put together an international restaurant-finding/reviewing app with a travel magazine. After all, food trips are one of life’s exciting adventures. And that evening was most definitely a foodie adventure for us.
The meal started with the traditional warm bread and butter while we waited for other guests to arrive. Aside from the posh presentation, the butter came in three flavors: garlic-and-herb, pimento, and plain. Ever the garlic-lover that I am, you can guess which one I prefer.
One of my favorite soups of all time, their French Onion Soup was sweet (onions), savory (beef stock), and salty (cheese!) in all its delicious, proportioned, and traditional glory. It is possible to ask for a milder version, but I wanted it as is.
Creamy mushroom risotto was topped with perfectly cooked big scallops. The rich rice was balanced by a salty piece of cheese crisp, mildy tangy sundried tomatoes, slices of olives, and—surprise—balsamic vinegar coating the plate. The balsamic vinegar took care of the umay factor. It wasn’t just acidic, but aromatic to the palate.
Caesar Salad is one of those classic crowd-pleasers when it comes to salad dishes. If you’re not a fan of salads too begin with, trying some of that Caesar would probably help get you into it. But if you don’t desire that congealed hot mess of a dressing, you might want to sample one that’s made from scratch. Oh yes…
You’ll probably cringe at how much oil goes into it, but those who prioritize flavor over health benefits will find that handmade Caesar Salad doesn’t actually taste like seasoned mayonnaise. You get more of the vinegar, but that also lends to a lighter, fresher overall taste to the salad.
For the main course, it’s the enormous Angus Beef Rib, complete with the sexy grill marks we see on those cooking shows. The tender beef was accompanied by three sauces, roasted garlic head, sauteed garden vegetables, and your choice of either mashed potato or baked potato. The roasted garlic turned into a mellow garlic paste that complemented the meat wonderfully. It’s like an extra layer of seasoning that goes under your preferred sauce.
Creamy, buttery, rich. I’m sure this has a lot of cream and butter, but that’s the only way to make it so darn good.
The baked potato was fork tender and just the right size to go with the meat and veggies.
Layer after layer of chocolate goodness topped with fresh strawberries and strawberry sorbet. It’s cake, ganache, and all the other decadent stuff that a show-stopping chocolate dessert is supposed to be made of. The size is on the small side, but after you’ve stuffed yourself with Angus Beef Rib, the portion size looks just about perfect to cap off the meal. BTW, Chuao is a village located in Valenzuela known for producing cacao.
Coffee was served with bite-sized crinkles in a gorgeous silver platter. It’s a lovely little bonus, just in case you thought the munching would end with dessert. That crinkle platter was an extra touch of elegance, giving the guests a bit of that I-couldn’t-possibly-eat-another-bite excess that feels like the royal treatment. Nobody left without feeling completely stuffed.
Verdict: When you’re inside Cowrie Grill enjoying a multi-course meal at a leisurely pace, the outside world seems to slip away. It doesn’t feel like busy, traffic-packed Greenhills anymore. With the exception of the partial view from the windows of passers-by, it feels like you’re transported to the old-world glamour of The Manila Hotel.
*I went to this event courtesy of Manila Bulletin, Cowrie Grill, and Zomato. While I got to dine free-of-charge, opinions expressed here are entirely my own.