Friday, September 6, 2013

A chanterelle risotto lunch at the Tivoli with Mandarin Oriental's new GM



Today, I took a break from a really busy week for a very nice long lunch at the Tivoli restaurant of the Mandarin Oriental in Manila.

It's no secret that the Tivoli is one of my favorite restaurants.

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THE TIVOLI IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE RESTAURANTS

I don't get to choose where to eat very much. But when I do have a choice, or when my host asks me where I want to go, the Tivoli is one of the places I mention in a heartbeat.



I really like the Tivoli because the food is good and the atmosphere is elegant and relaxing.

It's so conducive to a nice long discussion on Travel and Life.

THE NEW BOSS IN TOWN


My hosts today were Charisse Chuidian, director of public relations of the Mandarin Oriental Manila, and her new boss, Torsten van Dullemen.

He's been in Manila for all of three weeks or so.

The three of us had a very nice lunch and an equally wonderful discussion on everything under the sun -- from the beautiful hotels in India, to the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka, to the current peace and order situation in London.

I really enjoyed this lunch.

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WHAT A DIFFERENCE THE FOOD MAKES

Of course, it helped that the food was so good.

As usual, since it was lunchtime, my mind was set on having something from the Tivoli's excellent business lunch offerings.

As far as high-end establishments go, the Tivoli's business lunch is among the best and most delicious deals in town.



But Torsten happened to mention that the risotto made by the Tivoli's Chef Remy is wonderful, and slightly different from the usual.

It's made with ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and lots of butter, instead of the traditional mascarpone and parmesan cheese combination.

Yes, sinful is the right word to describe this dish.

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CHANTERELLES FRESH OFF THE PLANE

"We also just had a delivery of chanterelle mushrooms from Europe two days ago," said one of the wait staff at the Tivoli.

This was all the encouragement I needed to choose this wonderful so-not-detox dish for a main course.

Life's short and it should be enjoyed, I reasoned with myself. Of course I basically apply this reasoning every day of my Travelife....

This was Torsten's main dish...


MY FAVORITE APPETIZER BUFFET IN MANILA

For a starter, I simply picked from the lunch appetizer buffet, as I always like what the Tivoli has on offer for their lunch appetizers. It's not a lot of food on a buffet, but every single thing is usually very good.

I got my usual plate of oysters, and also a small salad on the side.

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TALKING ABOUT TRAVEL AND LIFE

We talked for longer than I expected.

And sometime soon, I will recount some of this in this blog, as we had a really fascinating discussion about so many things under the sun.

ALWAYS ROOM FOR DESSERT



Finally, it was time for dessert.

With that luscious but extremely fattening risotto dish for lunch, I really should have skipped dessert. But I've probably never skipped dessert in my life, and I wasn't about to start at a lunch at the Tivoli.

I was just about to order the chocolate cream, when Torsten said: "The espresso tart is wonderful."

This was all the encouragement I needed to switch my order and have the espresso tart.

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3000 CALORIES AND GOING STRONG....

In the end, we all really needed to go back to work.

Instead of saying goodbye, I said: "Thank you for those 3000 delicious calories. I really shouldn't eat again for a year after this meal..."

But since when is another delicious meal so far off in a never-endingly eventful Travelife?

In fact, dinner is in exactly 3.5 hours. And I'll bet it's another sinfully delicious 3000 calories....




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