Last week, I was invited to a wine dinner at The Fireplace at New World Manila Bay Hotel, featuring Caliterra wines from Chile.
When I received the invitation, I was wondering where New World Manila Bay was. I couldn’t recall any new construction along that area. Also, The Fireplace seemed like a familiar name. Didn’t I use to see it whenever we dined at Li Li at the Hyatt? Was it the same restaurant?
Yes, and no, as it turns out. The New World Manila Bay used to be the Hyatt. When the Hyatt moved to the City of Dreams, New World took over management of the property. New World Manila Bay retained the restaurants that already had great name recall, like The Fireplace, Li Li, and the Market Cafe.
The Fireplace is famous as a steak place. Last June, New World Manila Bay quietly revamped The Fireplace as more of a bistro-type restaurant, and accordingly made the pricing more accessible.
Doesn’t it just look like a beautiful set from The Great Gatsby in this pic?
It is located on the 5th floor of the New World Manila Bay Hotel, beside Li Li. There’s a big, open fireplace and prep area on one side of the restaurant where diners can watch their food being cooked.
There was no glass wall separating guests from the chefs. I liked it because I felt like the chefs were “real people” cooking our food as opposed to imaginary beings in a hidden kitchen somewhere. Even if I didn’t talk to them, I still felt closer to them because I could smile at them to give them encouragement when they seemed busy. Lol, no romance. I was a bit tipsy already, hahaha.
The Fireplace’s kitchen is helmed by Executive Chef James Williams. The Fireplace is included in Philippine Tatler’s list of Best Restaurants of 2016.
Some of the attentive staff of The Fireplace:
I stumbled upon Titania Wines several years ago. I only buy wine for special occasions, and after several disappointing picks from branded chain stores, I thought that all the hype about wine was just hype. I didn’t understand how some people on TV could wax poetic about wines.
But Titania Wines changed all that. We bought some wines from Titania, as recommended by their staff, and I couldn’t believe that P300+ bottles of wine could be better than the P1,000+ bottles I bought from the branded store. Heaps better. Even with a 300-peso bottle, I could totally tell the different flavors apart, there was a melody of flavors in every sip.
After that, I trusted Titania’s wine picks, and they have not failed me yet.
Titania Wines is the local importer of Caliterra Wines.
Caliterra was established in 1996 as a partnership between the Robert G. Mondavi family and Viña Errázuriz. The Colchagua Valley in Chile was chosen as the home of the Caliterra Estate. Located in the heart of the valley, the estate of approximately 1,085 ha (2,681 acres) has 75% of untouched natural land and a Mediterranean climate, where cool nights and gentle breezes temper the sun’s energy creating perfectly ripe, intense, concentrated and balanced wines.
The name Caliterra is combined from the Spanish words calidad (meaning quality) and tierra (meaning land). They practice sustainable viticulture, and keep high standards of environmental quality. Learn more about them on their website.
THE CALITERRA WINE DINNER
It was a wine-pairing dinner where each dish was accompanied by a complementary wine.
For starters, we had The Fireplace’s delicious brioche buns with truffle butter. OMG! Soft and sweet and topped with cheese, I could fill up on these alone! The truffle butter smells divine.
Caliterra’s Nicholas Happke, Area Manager Southeast Asia of Viña Caliterra, introducing us to Caliterra Wines.
For appetizers, we had this Scallop Tartare, subtly flavored with orange and hazelnut, paired with Caliterra Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (P720.00), which I found to be light, crisp, slightly tart, probably my favorite wine of the night. I find that the wine makes the scallop tartare taste sweeter.
Next, we had the Cold-smoked Salmon with a beautifully presented squid and squid ink mayonnaise, paired with the Caliterra Tributo Chardonnay 2012 (P1,070.00). The salmon was fork tender and wonderful. The Chardonnay was light and fruity, but just a tad more intense than the earlier Sauvignon Blanc.
Confit Belly Pork with white bean cassoulet, paired with Caliterra Reserva Carmenere 2014 (P720.00). The pork belly was well-seasoned, fall-apart tender but not very fatty, as pork bellies go, with crispy skin! I’m loving the white bean cassoulet as well – it’s not your ordinary pork & beans! It has a rich tomato sauce, and lovely texture from crunchy bread crumbs mixed into it. I normally don’t like reds because I don’t like bitter tannins, but the Carmenere was not bitter. It has a vibrant red color, is fresh tasting but with flavors of berries.
This is the Slow-cooked Beef with potato fondant, spinach puree and confit onions, paired with the Arboleda Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (P1,860). The beef was melt-in-your-mouth soft, and is beautifully presented. The flavor of the Arboleda is more intense, full-flavored, plummy and spicy. It’s a nice pairing to the beef.
To cap off the evening, we were served some cheeses (Edam, cheddar, etc…) with a sweet quince paste, figs and apricots. This was paired with the Caliterra Reserva Syrah 2012 (P720.00). The Syrah was slightly sweet, still plummy and spicy, but with a bit of floral aroma.
Mr. Jose Meneses, President & CEO of Titania Wines, giving his closing remarks.
Good wine doesn’t have to be expensive! These wines from Caliterra are quite affordable, starting at P720.00, but taste great. Forget about the bad, bitter, sour wines you may have tried in the past. It’s probably time to renew your interest in wines, especially now that you know where to find a good selection! Hint: it’s at Titania’s!
Don’t buy wine just because it has a name brand. Instead, pick from a selection curated by people who know what they’re doing. You can get amazing wines even on a budget. Also, don’t judge wines based on their price. Judge a wine based on how much you like how it tastes, and that’s a personal and subjective experience that’s different for everyone.
The Fireplace is also a wonderful place to have quiet, intimate dinners. As usual, you can have your parking ticket validated when you dine at New World Manila Bay.
5th Level, New World Manila Bay
1588 Pedro Gil cor. M.H. Del Pilar, Manila
Contact: +63 252 6888
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The Barat Queen
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