Wednesday, November 25, 2015

La Catalana | a Catalan Food Festival at Cucina, Marco Polo Ortigas Manila

As the holiday season in Manila comes to a close, Cucina, the all-day dining restaurant of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, will have a pre-Christmas treat to its guests, as it showcase Catalan Cuisine in the La Catalana themed buffet. Chef Lluis Cantons Pessarrodona, Marco Polo Ortigas Manil's Executive Chef, will be presenting a number of Catalan dishes in a dedicated station at the buffet which will be highlighted by Chef Lluis' much talked-about Best Paella in Town. Here are some of the dishes to expect at La Catalana:

Jamón Ibérico with Tomato on Bread
Jamón ibérico (Iberico ham) can't be any more Spanish and Chef Lluis shared with us an easy way to enjoy this appetizer. Get a slice of bread and scrape the flesh of a halved tomato on the bread's coarse surface. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Finally top the bread with Jamon Iberico.

Seafood Escabeche, Manila Clams, Tiger Prawns, Mussels, Sardines, Deep-fried Sardine Bone Chips,
Chantarelles Mushrooms, Olive Coulis  
This platter includes a variety of seafood which represents the bounty of the Mediterranean coast of Catalonia. Have a taste of authentic sardines from Spain which is entirely different in texture and in taste from the canned or bottled Spanish-style sardines we Filipinos are familiar with. Another interesting dish is the deep-fried sardine bone chips which is completely edible.

Piquillo Pepper stuffed with Cod Fish Brandada, Artichoke and White Asparagus on a bed of Pil-Pil Sauce
This one is another interesting dish because it combines ingredients from various parts of Catalonia with the Piquillo Pepper coming from the northern mountainous portion of Catalonia, artichoke and asparagus cultivated in the central valley and Brandada de Bacalao from the Mediterranean coast.

Best Paella in Town by Chef Lluis Cantons Pessarodona
Not to be missed is the Best Paella in Town, a paella mixta recipe handed down to Chef Lluis by his grandparents. Not to be confused with Paella Valenciana which is cooked with chicken, rabbit and snails, Paella Mixta combines chicken, chorizo, Carabinero shrimps, clams and mussels.

Chef Lluis only uses paella rice from Spain for his paella to make sure that the texture and taste is authentic. In addition, the Carabinero shrimps and chorizo are all imported from Barcelona. Chef Lluis' paella has a moist consistency without the toasted rice crust formed at the bottom.

Served freshly cooked, we recommend that you let the paella release most of its steam and heat as too much heat will render your taste buds less receptive of flavors. The paella is served in batches to make sure that guests enjoy freshly made paella all the time. You might chance upon Chef Lluis cooking his Best Paella in Town at the Catalan Station during your visit.

Crema Catalana
Finally for dessert, you should try the Crema Catalana which is quite similar to creme brulee. Both are custard-based dessert with a burnt caramel topping. What differentiates Crema Catalana are its texture and flavor. The custard base of Crema Catalana has flour giving it more density and texture. It is also flavored with orange zest in addition to vanilla.

La Catalana | Weekend Buffet Rates

Schedule Lunch
12:00nn - 2:30pm
6:00pm - 10:30pm
Saturday P1,850 nett P2,500 nett
Sunday P2,500 nett P2,500 nett

La Catalana is available only on November 21 & 22, 28 & 29, and December 5 & 6. The buffet is open for lunch from 12:00nn to 2:30pm and for dinner from 6:00pm to 10:30pm. Buffet starts at P1,850 nett per person, children aged 6 and below get to eat for free while children aged 7 to 12 years old are charged half the price. Reserve your table now via (02) 720-7720 or email them at

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