We were in Manila recently for a short getaway trip, and it was really a “we don’t know what to expect” trip as we didn’t have many friends who went Manila for a holiday! But it was one of the nicest place we’ve ever visited, and we fell in love with the Filipinos. They are truly the loveliest people around, most friendly, most helpful and most welcoming!
Everywhere we went—from the hotel to the malls, or by the streets or the Uber driver, we were always pleasantly surprised or warmly touched by the people. They are so so so hospitable, so helpful and most unassuming! This was the biggest takeaway I had from this trip… the beautiful people in Philippines!
When we arrived, we checked into Shangri-la at the Fort, at Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Manila. Here’s some very interesting facts we learnt about BGC! It is one of the two privately owned cities in Manila, this means, City Planning like Roads, Building usage; Infrastructure like public buildings, street lamps; Services like Security, Rubbish collection etc are all funded and planned for by the private owners.
BGC is like a gated community (except there was no gate), and it housed tall high rise office buildings and condominiums. The streets were in grid lines, very clean with traffic moving in an orderly fashion. At every street corner, there’s an armed security officer to give strong presence of security and definitely a deterrence for any street vandals or mischief. We learnt that BGC is a most coveted place to live in. Because it is so safe and clean, the residences are prime property and many MNCs and Banks have their main offices there.
So you can imagine how happy we were when we arrived at Shangri-la at the Fort! The hotel was set in one of the safest and cleanest part of Manila. It was so easy to move around, everything was within walking distance! We have been raving non-stop about this hotel when we came back and there are so many many reasons why! For simplicity, here’s the Three ABCs why Shangri-la at the Fort is the hotel to stay in when in Manila. In this post, we will look at A – ALL About Food
Did you know that Philippines has a rich gastronomical buffet to offer? With its rich colonial history with Spain and America, plus with its Asian roots, one can imagine the influences on all the local food available!
When we were planning our trip, we knew we had to set aside time to check out all the various food. It would have been crazy traveling around to find the best of each offering. Imagine going around to find the best Leche Flan, Lechon, Bibingka, Kare Kare, Lomi, Crispy Pata, Sinigang, Adobo in Manila! I wasn’t sure if I had the time to go check them all out.
Well, the problem was solved at Shangri-la at the Fort! You see, before we left, we asked one of our Filipino colleague who lives in Manila about the best food places. (Typical Singaporean trait to try only the award winning, best recommended, most number of starts etc!) Guess what she told us? She said, “you don’t have to go ANYWHERE else. Just eat at your hotel. It has all the best food there!” WOW! And that’s a local’s advice!
And we found out, Shangri-la at the Fort is a foodie haven! They have six different dining establishments within the hotel, and another at least 9 in the hotel’s mall. I may not have travelled round the world, but I know for sure this number of eating places in a hotel is not norm!!
Here’s our take on what food was like at the Fort!
First up was the incredible High Street Café which serves a most amazing International Buffet for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner! As hotel guests, we got the chance to try the buffet and it is so so so good!
If you are familiar with Shangri-la hotels, their buffets are legendary. We’ve tried their buffets in the different Shangs and there is always a huge variety, many many stations serving different cuisines, and all with freshest food. BUT at High Street Café, we agreed that the buffet here beats the rest hands-down.
I’ll let the pictures show you what was offered.
As with all buffets, there are mini cooking stations all around. But here, the cooking stations handle dishes you least expect! Bacon station!! (imagine you get the freshest bacon for breakfast!!)
And of course, my personal favourite—the pastries offering. I heard that one of the best Pastry Chefs in Shangri-la chain is helming the kitchen at High Street Cafe….
I can dedicate a whole post on the pastries! But we must move on…
Now apart from this, there’s a High Street Lounge which was a chill-out place for drinks. What we really liked was a customised Gin table! The wait staff would patiently explain the different cocktails and how they paired with each gin. And right in front of us, your drink will be made! It’s such a delight to watch and it tasted really good! Esp with lovely smooth jazz and modern music. (Live too!)
Other dining establishments include the very classy Canton Road restaurant which serves modern Cantonese cuisine, set in a very beautiful traditional yet grand Chinese decor. There’s also the very meaty all American Raging Bull Chophouse & Bar, and this is one New York inspired steakhouse! Diners get to choose from a large prime selection of grain and grass fed dry-aged beef, as well as premium grilled items which includes fresh seafood.
And coming soon would be Samba, with the strong flavors from Latin America, served with the best festive lively music. Think Churrasco, Paellas, Tacos, Mojitos. I heard diners can have buffet or ala carte at Samba! And finally, opening soon is a new club central Limitless. It’s going to be a place to be seen with cast choices of beverages; from barrel-aged to artisanal cocktails, mixology,whiskey, craft beers, punch bowls and full bottle service. They would bring in top DJs to spin creative music mixes and up the entertainment notch in BGC!
At the retail complex of the hotel, there is great shopping and more importantly, great Food! Currently, they have the very famous Pink’s Hotdogs from Los Angeles. This is their first outlet outside North America! You can imagine how excited we were to check them out!
Pink’s started as a regular hotdog stand in 1939, serving incredibly delicious chilli dogs in soft soft buns. They became so popular that new stores popped up all over LA. Soon, many celebrities, politicians would drop by the restaurant for their hotdog fix. We tried their classic and it was huge! Yummy but real huge!
Here are a list of other food places in Shangri-Le at the Fort:
The Sugar Factory – Dessert place that’s frequently visited by Hollywood A-listers
Maisen – One of the finest Tonkatsu restaurants from Tokyo, it was founded in 1965!
FOO’D by Davide Oldani – An Italian dining concept by a Michelin-star chef!
Brotzeit – A contemporary Bavarian restaurant
Toby’s Estate – Coffee, Coffee and more Coffee!
Plant Grapes – Casual place for diners to enjoy wine
And there are more to come… We saw several shop spaces still under renovation! I can only imagine the gastronomical delights for all when it’s all open!
You can imagine we spent many many hours checking out food in Shangri-La at the Fort. It’s really never-ending! Join me for Part 2 of my ABC Review of the hotel!
Disclaimer: The stay at Shangri-la at the Fort was complimentary for purposes of this review. Yet all opinions are mine alone.