100 Revolving Restaurant: a room with a view

I looked out and admired the view. It’s not exactly breathtaking to appraise traffic like it was a long congested line of ants.  I tilted my head upwards just a little bit so the concrete jungle is obscured. There were birds and the sky was clear. Now that was a sight.

Then I had a feeling at the pit of my stomach. I could feel the movement of the platform at the fringes of the restaurant. So it does move. It’s not really jarring, but I was queasy to begin with so it took me a while to get used to the movement. At that time of my first visit, it took two hours to complete one revolution. The revolution at the time of my second visit was faster by thirty minutes.
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That’s the first thing you notice at 100, the restaurant with iconic Chef Jessie Sincioco at the helm. She has a flair for grandiosity. The space is easy on the eyes as well. The menu is refined, but strangely enough it’s not as uptight as I thought it was going to be.
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And they make good bread. Really good bread.
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Between the kesong puti salad and the alugbati (which uses fresh, not blanched nightshade), the uncomplicated and familiar flavors of the former drew me in.
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It was a good “caprese” salad, but when the ceasar came out, that was my favorite. It had prawn popcorn, bacon bits over hearts of romaine. It was a good start.
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The dragon maki was hefty enough to be a meal in itself with its shrimp tempura on the inside, and then sprinkled with tempura bits and rich mayonnaise. I’m still learning to use chopsticks properly, and if you see me wield it you’ll notice my hand trembles. But for this maki I’ll brave the tremors.
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The vegetable maki was a surprise! I did not expect that I would enjoy it as well. It’s a notch lower in taste compared to its prawn counterpart, but I still appreciated it.

This sea bass is incredibly delicious. For the price, is it worth the trouble? I’d say yes. It’s drenched in a savory and sweet miso base and gives way to perfectly cooked flesh that holds it shape but it’s still very tender. Yes and yes.
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There’s also shrimp curry and beef roulade, but the seafood gambas is stellar. A medley of fruits of the sea drenched in punchy tomato sauce fits the bill of a good plate of ingredients cooked with respect.
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But the others aren’t rubbish at all! I fact, almost everything that was served to us was great. I’d just like to single out a few things that really stood out.

And I could sing songs about Chef Jessie’s desserts.
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But it’s in a moment of silence that my real appreciation creeps in. I close my eyes and just marvel at how I love a good dessert. In this case, I loved almost everything that was served.

It’s this souffle that made me smile the most. How can something be so light yet so rich? This is a soaring tribute to all things good in life. I am not exaggerating.
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One of my guilty pleasures is peanut butter. But I don’t really enjoy cheesecakes that much anymore because it’s like I’m falling into a pit of heavy flavours that never really take off. With peanut butter however, I can make an exception.
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The revolving tortas are little dense cakes filled with flavoured cream and topped with fruit. At this point I was already coming down from a souffle high but I still made room for this.
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For some strange reason souffle isn’t on your mind, this works. There’s also a delicious chocolate caramel cake that works for lovers of chocolate, but competing for attention against the souffle and tortas is hard.

100 is a posh gem. I’d like to believe you pay not just for the elegant (but also uncomplicated) food but for the great view as well. Who wouldn’t feel good dining with Manila’s shifting skyline as the backdrop?

Right now there are two reasons that compel me to go back: a chance to dine at night, to appreciate pinpricks of light all over the horizon and of course, the souffles. I love their souffles.

100 Revolving Restaurant
33rd Floor, MDC 100 Building, C5 corner Eastwood Drive, Quezon City
+632 962-1016

 

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Spicy Prawn Curry with Roasted Tomatoes

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For the past few weeks Fridays have come to mean more than just the American Idol results show and the day where torrent files of my favorite shows come out. I took it upon myself to observe the season of Lent and abstain from eating meat and eat only one full meal every Friday until Easter, among other “restraints”.

Have I been faithful? No, I have taken afternoon snacks so adhering to one full meal has been difficult. Right now typing this, my stomach’s grumbling. Aside from that one Friday where it slipped my mind, I have been trying to avoid pork, chicken and beef. Self-discipline isn’t really one of my strong suits. Probably one of my fatal flaws, but nonetheless I’m proud of myself. Restraining myself, exerting a little measure of discipline during this season, is something that I’ve been trying to do. My cross is heavy but I’m trying to hold on.
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Lent is a season of reflection, of going beyond your usual call of duty and examine yourself in relation to how you treat yourself and others. At least that’s how I see Lent. I don’t claim to know everything about my faith – but I know it’s not perfect. Sometimes my roots are parched – the leaves wilt and fall, and what exactly I need to do about it, makes me wonder even more. But time and time again, my belief in a higher being will never die, no matter how misguided I can be.
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What does the prawn/shrimp* curry have to do with everything? Well, this is just my way of exercising that “restraint” without purposely depriving myself to the point of punishment.
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Have you ever tried to roast tomatoes? Try it, you won’t be disappointed. Have you ever tried to roast garlic? It was my first time to do that today, and I knew I had to put a few tender garlicky segments into the curry, just because I love garlic.
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I still had a little container of garam masala in the pantry from my chicken korma escapade. I didn’t want it to go to waste. Making this wasn’t a stretch at all. As much as I appreciate a spicy curry, the people around here don’t. A few dashes of chili flakes gave it the heat that it needed. To offset it, aside from the coconut milk, I added a few spoonfuls of peanut butter to give it that subtle sweet creaminess.
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A spoonful of this will give a gentle sweetness that  mingles with the bold curry taste, then there is that unmistakable heat that still lingers at the back of your mouth. The roasted tomatoes do their part by offering a sweet tang that gloriously blends with everything else. And there’s nothing wrong with mashing a few pieces of garlic directly into the sauce. Nothing wrong that at all.

Thank God it’s Friday.
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Spicy Prawn Curry with Roasted Tomatoes  (serves 4 – 6)

*Prawns and shrimps are semantically different but can be used interchangeably, though prawns are larger than shrimps. I used prawns for this recipe, but like you, I’m used to saying ‘shrimps’, big or small. That’s OK. I guess. 

  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • half a garlic bulb, minced
  • 1 large white onion, sliced
  • 15 – 20 pieces medium-sized prawns, peeled and deveined.
  • a few pieces of the prawn heads, the sharp pointy things (it’s called a rostrum) and whiskers snipped
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • a few dashes red chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 – 5 pieces roasted garlic segments (optional)
  • a few pieces roasted tomatoes 
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  1. Prepare the roasted tomatoes. If you want to roast the garlic, roast it will the tomatoes. I slice around 1/4 inch off the top of the garlic bulb to expose the flesh, then drizzle it with olive oil, salt and pepper. 
  2. In a pan, heat both oils over medium heat. When hot, add the onions, then the garlic. Saute until fragrant. 
  3. Add the coconut milk, then the shrimps heads. Lower the heat to low. Add the garam masala, turmeric, chili flakes and peanut butter. Season with salt and pepper. Adjust taste, color and consistency to your liking. 
  4. Add the roasted garlic and mash with your spoon to incorporate. 
  5. Add the shrimps/prawns and crank up the heat to medium, and cook until both sides turn orange in color, around 3 – 5 minutes. Remove the shrimp heads. 
  6. Add the roasted tomatoes at the last second and mix well. Remove from heat and serve. Enjoy! 

Gambas/Shrimps in Garlic Butter

I like the word ‘rustic’. Usually food bloggers like myself hide behind this word when we plate something without the frills and post it on our blog. Somebody from the Food Network said rustic means it doesn’t have to look pretty. I have to agree. Relative to some bloggers out there who have been given plates made by God, let’s just say I’m still getting there.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you must have surmised that I take my food seriously. And as much as I love eating, I also equally enjoy the process of making food look good in photos. Sometimes I might produce something……well not really ugly, but I doubt that what I’ve made would whet appetites. Have I come a long way? Hell yeah. But there’s still a long way to go. I’m learning and I’m drowning in inspiration.

As a newbie, I enjoy the magic moments when everything just falls into place perfectly. The moment where you don’t have to force anything out of the food to make it look artificially good. It just does.

Who can say anything bad about shrimps, garlic and butter together? That’s a magic moment right there. This dish goes by a lot of names. Here in the Philippines we call it gambas. You can call it garlic shrimps. We can call it delicious anytime. It’s rustic because it’s simple. It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. I never should be.

I also made this for my Mama Eng. She’s my aunt who’s been with the family since before I was born. She survived taking care of three incredibly demanding baby boys, one of which is now 20 years old. It was her birthday yesterday and we thank God for the day she came into our lives. Hypertension and diabetes prohibits her from indulging, but for gambas, I think she made an exception.

For good measure, I sliced a pan de sal, brushed it with the gambas oil and toasted it. Rice? You don’t need it. When you serve gambas with toasted bread and allow the bread to absorb some of the fragrant and equally toasty sweet oil, it’s heaven. Heaven.

It was also the perfect time to practice my Masterchef (haha) skills. Jennifer, season 2 winner, said that shrimp heads can really add flavor to a dish. 

Gambas/Shrimps in Garlic Butter

  • 1 kg large shrimp
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/8 – ¼ cup salted butter (one block is 1 cup; half of it lengthwise is ½ cup – I used ¼ cup but adjust to your liking)
  • 1 tbsp gin (optional)
  • 1 head of garlic, minced
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 1 eight inch lemongrass stalk (optional)
  • A dash of thyme, paprika, chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Reserved shrimp heads (around 4)
  • 1 pan de sal (or your preferred bread)
  1. Peel and devein the shrimp.
  2. In large pan enough to hold the shrimps over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter. Heat until butter melts and is foamy.
  3. Add the onions, garlic and lemongrass. Fry until fragrant.
  4. Add the shrimp heads, gin, thyme, paprika and chilli flakes. Season with salt, pepper.
  5. Add the shrimps and cook until it becomes pink. Remove from heat.
  6. Slice a pan de sal in half. Brush it with the garlic oil and toast until slightly brown. Do not allow to burn.
  7. Serve hot and enjoy!

I received an email a few days ago from Kristina, an editor from Be @ Home, part of Become.com‘s blogging network. She told me that they wanted to give my blog an “Editor’s Choice” award! I was floored! You can see the badge on the sidebar, below my other foodista recognition. 🙂