A Feast for the Senses at Crimson Mactan

THE PEPPER MILL - Pepper Teehankee - The Philippine Star
A Feast for the Senses at Crimson Mactan
Chefs Masahiro Kinoshita, Javier Garcia, Naoki Eguchi, Daniel Johnston, Fernando Alcala, Allan Barios, Rose Hudson, Chele Gonzalez, and Andrew Simpson.
STAR/ File

Feast for the Senses” marked the fourth Cebu Food and Wine Festival (CFWF) event hosted by Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan. The resort introduced a dine-around concept where guests dined in all four concept restaurants of the resort —that’s a first for this festival.

Crimson general manager Didier Belmonte shared, “We want to showcase all the signature restaurants we have, three of which — Azure Beach Club, Omakase by Naoki Eguchi or what we fondly call Aka, and Saffron — we recently just opened. Our guest chefs have been carefully selected as well so they complement the concept of each dining outlet.”

Dinner started at Enye by Chele Gonzalez, where he himself prepared Spanish dishes with his chef Javier Garcia and guest chef Fernando Alcala from Bolero in BGC, Taguig, and the Michelin Guide Marbella, Spain restaurant Kava.

Guests enjoyed Chele’s delicious signature lechon tacos, grilled pulpo, croqueta de jamon, and a favorite of mine, paella de setas, trufa y cerdo (mushroom, truffle, and braised pork belly).

Javier showcased some new items on the menu, including the brava potato with chorizo, salmon ceviche, and slow-roasted squid stuffed with callos.

Fernando prepared yellowfin tuna tataki, grilled mackerel in laksa bouillabaisse and the crowd favorite, sweet tomatoes in sweet-and-sour gazpacho (I had three of these)! Diners enjoyed all these while sipping wines from AWC Philippines.

The newest addition to Crimson is Aka by Naoki Eguchi, a traditional Japanese restaurant that sits right by the resort’s iconic infinity pool. The restaurant, helmed by Japanese chef Masahiro Kinoshita, serves a la carte dishes for now but will present an omakase experience soon.

During the CFWF event, consultant and curator Naoki manned the tempura section preparing three kinds of tempura: lightly battered prawns in a sweet sauce, white fish with fine salt, and sweet potato with some brownish-orange powder I still haven’t identified!

Kate Anzani, Crimson general manager Didier Belmonte, Ulysse Jouanneaud, and Marco Anzani.

By the kitchen counter, chef Masa prepared sashimi and nigiri sushi, chawan mushi (steamed egg custard with prawns, chicken, and mushrooms), cold zaru udon wheat noodles with a dipping sauce), yakitori, Wagyu shabu-shabu, buta kakuni (braised pork belly), and grilled lapu-lapu saikyo (a type of miso the fish was marinated in).

Philippine Wine Merchants served all types of Japanese beverages from gin-based cocktails to beer, whiskey, and sake.

Butch Carungay, Chroma Hospitality’s vice president for sales and marketing Carmela Bocanegra, area director of public relations and marketing communications Mia Sy, AVP of sales Cecile Kimpo, director of sales and marketing for Quest Clark Judy Sarmiento.

Crimson Mactan’s all-day dining outlet Saffron had a buffet selection that served Filipino and Cebuano specialties but taking centerstage was guest chef and chocolatier Rose Hudson, who served guests with delightful bites of chocolate bonbons in unique flavors.

Apple pie was the best surprise, followed closely by latik (coconut caramel) and gianduja (chocolate with 30% hazelnut). Other variants of the bonbon served were chilimansi (calamansi chili), turon, and peanut kisses — a nod to her hometown, Bohol

Naoki Eguchi’s Tempura at Aka.

On the beverage counter were wines by The Wine Club, cocktails by Sula, and beers by Bisaya Brew and Engkanto Brewery.

Azure Beach Club hosted the after-party event where executive pastry chef Alan Barios prepared a cheese selection and dessert station. Mixologist Ulysse Jouanneaud from Buccaneer’s in Poblacion, Makati City, took over the starfish bar to present his cocktail creations. Don Papa served cocktails, Bauhinia poured endless glasses of pale ale and lager, while Future Trade and Happy Living served guests with wines and sangria.

GM Didier presented the chefs along with the CFWF board headed by Kate Anzani to the guests as guests enjoyed the fireworks display that lit up the sky.

Didier said, “We’re extremely happy with how the event turned out. We wanted guests to visit all four restaurants and sample what we offer in each venue. Hopefully they all had a wonderful time and will keep us in mind when they look for dining options in the coming days.”

Watch out for the upcoming Manila Food and Wine Festival happening this July!

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Follow me on Instagram @pepperteehankee.

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