8's a party at Venice Piazza!

OOH LA LAI - Lai S. Reyes () - December 8, 2011 - 12:00am

Any excuse to get together with friends during the holidays is a good one, especially if it involves good food and booze. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a shoestring budget. All you need is P800 (that’s P100 each if you’re a group of eight) to go on a food binge with the whole barkada to Venice — Venice Piazza at McKinley Hill, that is!

Another Megaworld development, Venice Piazza has partnered with 14 restaurants to give food-loving Pinoys another reason to celebrate the merry month of December. With its Platter for 8 promo, diners can sample each of the participating restaurant’s specialties in a set meal that’s good for eight persons.

Inspired by the grandeur of the Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy, Venice Piazza is the happening place in the metro today. The complex is peppered with dining hot spots that offer a wide variety of dishes enough to tickle your taste buds to give each one a try.

“As with all Megaworld developments, we don’t just build a mall or a box-type structure. We build a community. Megaworld chairman Andrew Tan thought of bringing his favorite Italy to the Philippines through a breakthrough development project called The Venice Luxury Residence. Venice Piazza is actually the first phase of the development,” explains Tefel Pesigan-Valentino, AVP and head of marketing and business development, commercial division, Megaworld Corp.

Soup’s up: Ramen Bar’s Yoshi Platter consists of eight bowls of Sapporo Miso Ramen, kakumi buns and spicy kakumi buns, and kaarage.

The second phase of the development is the retail shops to be constructed also at the Venice Piazza, while the third phase will be the residential and office development, which features a Grand Canal where not just unit owners but guests as well can ride the gondola.

“The reason we opened Venice Piazza is to actually give the public an idea of what to expect and give them a taste of the good life. We really envisioned Venice Piazza to be a dining destination because Italy is also known for its culinary offerings,” enthuses Tefel.

And so, we didn’t pass up the opportunity when Tefel invited us on a culinary journey to “Venice.”

First stop on our gourmet itinerary is the Ramen Bar. As its name suggests, Ramen Bar boasts authentic ramen that can be enjoyed in either tonkotsu (pork bone) or okoke (chicken bone) broth.

I am one of the loyal patrons of the Ramen Bar, the noodle house that has mastered the art of whipping up those thick, fat strands languishing in a cloudy, but oh-so-flavorful broth. There, I got addicted to its kakumi buns, a special white bun filled with roasted pork belly that melts in the mouth; the karaage, fried boneless chicken with salt; and the Ramen Bar Special, soy-infused tonkotsu ramen topped with tamago (egg), naruto (fish sticks), nori (dried seaweed), negi (spring onion), chasyu (sliced pork ribs), and kakuni (braised pork belly). Each of the ingredients contributes to giving the pork bone soup — which is boiled for 20 hours — its rich and smoky flavor.

Paul Ryan Yun of Ramen Bar

 “The soft-boiled egg is marinated for two days in a special mixture, while the kakumi is boiled for four hours to achieve its melt-in-the-mouth texture,” notes Paul Bryan Yun, part owner of Ramen Bar.

For the Platter for Eight promo, the Ramen Bar offers Yoshi’s Platter. It consists of eight mini bowls of Sapporo Miso Ramen, kakumi buns, spicy kakumi buns, and kaarage.

“Save as much as 20 percent when you order the Yoshi’s Platter. It’s flavorful, filling, and great for barkada bonding,” enthuses Paul.

Ramen Bar is the brainchild of noodle freak Charles Paw. He partnered with Japanese chef Masa Ishikawa, who has three ramen houses in Nagoya, which Charles frequents whenever he’s in Japan, to give Pinoys a chance to savor authentic ramen at a reasonable price.

From Japan, we traveled to Little Asia by foot and enjoyed chef Charlston Lim’s delectable crispy chicken, coconut squid, spareribs with thyme in garlic sauce and sate chami. You, too, can enjoy this symphony of Asian flavors when you avail of Little Asia’s Asian Platter for only P800.

“Little Asia brings together some of the best cuisines Asia has to offer. We serve Thai, Korean, Chinese, and Filipino dishes with a twist. We adjust some of the flavors to appeal to the Filipino palate,” explains Charlston.

With everything Korean — from soap operas to beauty soap and cosmetics — enjoying tremendous popularity in the Philippines, its food logically shouldn’t be far behind.

The brainchild of seasoned entrepreneur Jorge Wieneke and Solar Entertainment Corp. executive Mel Gozum, KBop is the new Korean fast food place that offers delightfully affordable Korean meals that appeal to Filipino diners as well.

“KBop brings Korean flavor to the Filipino table. The Korean Group Meals Platter is the best way to introduce Pinoy diners to Korean cuisine. Indulge in tomi chim, chapchae, Korean dumplings, and spicy squid with bowls of steamed rice,” says Jorge.

Whole roasted chicken, pasta puttanesca, and summer salad are what await diners at Empire Deli & Restaurant.

Chef Mike Tinsay’s simple, roasted chicken proves that the simplest meal preparation is still the best way to create a truly delectable meal.

“I just rubbed the chicken with salt, pepper, herbs, and spices; stuffed it with lemon, and brushed the skin with butter prior to roasting to bring out the chicken’s natural flavor and juiciness. It comes with a side salad. We really wanted to keep it simple and delish as possible,” he adds.

Though their roast chicken is superb, Empire Deli’s signature dish is still the burger. Must-try is the Empire 50/50 burger, which is 50-percent bacon and 50-percent ground beef. Diners can feast on this half-pound burger for only P320.

Go on a boodle fight with your friends over at Kuse, which is owned and operated by restaurateur Larry Cortez and chef Mauro Arjona. Partake of its Salo-Salo Platter filled with mini ukoy, deep-fried pla-pla, sinugba pork liempo, and tomato, mango ensalada over a bed of steamed rice.

Kuse, which takes its name from the Filipino word kusinero, offers succulent oxtail kare-kare and adobo-style barbecue beef back ribs. Don’t leave the resto without ordering the sapin-sapin brulee, chef Mau’s gourmet version of ube halaya

And what’s a holiday, barkada-bonding meal without dessert? Since we’re at Venice Piazza, a scoop or make that 12 scoops — of gelato are a must. Sol Gelato takes pride in its artisan frozen treat made of the best and freshest ingredients.

“Aside from the numerous fun flavors we’ve offered in the past two years, my business partner Kathleen Gaw and I make it a point to source and use only the best local ingredients — fresh milk and cream from our friends at Hacienda Macaluan, chocolate from the Philippine Cocoa Union, vanilla from Cagayan, etc. — and avoid using preservatives and artificial flavorings in our gelato,” shares Kenneth Lim of Sol Gelato. For Platter for 8, Sol Gelato offers Cheaper by the Dozen, 12 scoops of gelato in one huge ice cream cup.

The point of getting together is to spend time together, so tell jokes, stories, and laugh while enjoying these awesome treats from Venice Piazza.

* * *

Venice Piazza’s Platter for Eight promo happens every weekend until Dec. 31 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Venice Piazza is at McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig.

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