Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Real British food at the Dusit Thani Manila. And the best sticky toffee pudding ever.


Today, I stopped my terribly busy schedule for a few hours to have lunch with Alex Willats, general manager of the Dusit Thani Manila, and his lovely wife Claire.

I really like meeting up with them, whenever that's possible in their very busy lives and my never-endingly eventful Travelife.

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SEE YOU AT 
THE TRAVELIFE ROCKWELL TRAVEL FAIR
January 17 - 19, 2014
for some fantastic travel bargains



SOUTH AFRICA ON OUR MINDS

We talked a lot about South Africa today, as Alex and Claire went on a fantastic trip around the country some years back, and they stayed in some of the best places in the African continent.

So we had lots of experiences to compare and share.

It really put me in a South Africa frame of mind, which is quite appropriate since I'll be back in Cape Town in one week's time.



THRICE TO SOUTH AFRICA IN 14 MONTHS.
AND THIS WILL BE THE BEST SO FAR.

This is my third trip to South Africa in 14 months.

And while my previous trips have been absolutely amazing, this is probably going to be my best trip so far in terms of experiences and places to stay.

That's definitely saying a lot, considering all the fantastic places I've stayed in, and eaten in, in South Africa so far, living a Travelife.

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COMPLETING THE TOP 10

With this trip, I'll have completed my round of South Africa's 10 best restaurants.

Yes, I've booked the last three places I still haven't eaten in, on the list of South Africa's best.

One of them is at the top of the world's best.



ASIA'S BEST BRITISH FOOD
IS IN MANILA THIS WEEK

Today was also a best meal, as it was just about the very best British meal I've had in a long time.

I'm quite a British fan.



There was a time when I used to spend every summer in England, watching Wimbledon and visiting people at their country houses.

I would stay at The Milestone Hotel in Kensington, which has long-stay apartments at the back, and it would be just like living in London.

So I do like British food, and I think British produce is some of the best in the world.

THE ROYAL CHEF IS IN MANILA



This week, the Dusit Thani Manila is hosting Chef Derek Quelch of London's The Goring Hotel, for a week-long celebration of real, contemporary British food.

If you know British food, you'll understand just how difficult it is to get in this part of the world -- so what a treat it is to have it at the Dusit Thani Manila until January 17.

A STELLAR CAREER



Chef Derek has worked in some of the most famous hotels in London, including the Savoy and Claridge's, before becoming executive chef at The Goring.

It was under his watch that the Middleton family stayed at The Goring for the Royal Wedding, so he personally cooked and supervised their meals when they were at the hotel.

SIMPLY GOOD BRITISH FOOD



I really had the most incredible food today, not to mention fantastic company.

So now I'm planning to camp out at the Dusit Thani for the rest of the week and have great British food as often as I can.

So if I'm not online, you'll know where I'll be...

A PARED-DOWN BUT SIMPLY WONDERFUL MENU



For a starter, I had a salad of poached pear in red wine, with watercress, walnuts and blue cheese.

It arrived so beautifully plated, and it was terribly delicious.

Then for an entree, I was tossing and turning between the braised hare in a red wine sauce, with mushrooms and bacon, or the wild mushroom in a puff pastry with parsley sauce and roasted shallots.


Alex and Claire went for the braised hare, while I ordered the wild mushroom in a puff pastry.

That was absolutely wonderful.

THE BEST STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING IN MEMORY

The piece de resistance, however, was the sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream.



This has to be the best sticky toffee pudding I've had in a very long time -- and how ironic that it is on the eve of a trip to South Africa, which is where I had my last excellent sticky toffee pudding in memory.

If the sticky toffee pudding isn't very good, I usually need ice cream to go with it.

But as this one was superb, the clotted cream was enough.

It was so good that I could have eaten another plate -- and that's why I'm going back to eat there again.

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THE MILLION DOLLAR STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING QUESTION

Later on, Chef Derek joined us, so I asked him the million-dollar sticky toffee pudding question: "What's your secret to a good sticky toffee pudding?"

Chef Derek said: "The dates."

He also said one more secret, which I shan't put here, as I want my own sticky toffee pudding to be the best in Manila, once Chef Derek returns to London.



THE BEST IN MANILA

This week, I'll concede that his is the best in Manila.

But once he leaves, I'll go back to making my sticky toffee pudding, with a couple of tips from Chef Derek, and it'll be the best in the city.

If I ever get the time to make sticky toffee pudding in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife, that is.

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