by Fabian

This blog post has been a long time coming. I offer no excuses for why it took so long to write this post, except that I am a procrastinating and lazy person by nature. Some of us only do things when we absolutely have to. While there have been no death threats or bribes from a dear friend who is now in Melbourne, what spurred me on tonight to write, finally, was another pleasant meal that had taken place last night, and now it would seem to be a true shame if another pair of pleasant meals that I also had were not documented as well.
JV’s underwater hockey friend, Marion, had flown in from Australia for a couple of weeks, and in proper Pinoy fashion, we used our hapless foreign visitor as an excuse to eat out. Her stay here was sandwiched between two dinners at Gloria Maris in Shangri La.  Both of these dinners were accompanied with enough wine to tranquilize a horse, courtesy of Dennis (and another oenophile Elmer!). I forget exactly the names of the wines we drank, but I do remember that Riesling and Chinese food are a decent combination. Chardonnay isn’t too bad either.

 Duck Salad
Duck Salad
My favorite appetizer in Gloria Maris is this. I’ve had this more than a few times, and each time I grow more appreciative of how nicely made this is. This is a cold salad made of duck, seaweed, mayo, and pili nuts. The combination can make for a slightly sweet salad, but it is refreshing and delicious. I ate a bit of it in the beginning, and some of more of it in the middle of the meal, and at the end you think, what the heck I’d like a little bit more. Good stuff.

 Wintermelon Soup
Wintermelon Soup
This is another fairly decent starter. Wintermelon is what it is: melon-ny, pulpy, and quite nice. I quickly realized that this would fill me up fast, so I didn’t finish my whole cup. In terms of starters thus: Duck 1, Wintermelon 0.

Crab with Sotanghon Deep fried Crab
Two Crabs
There were two kind of crab. I did not eat much of this, but I do recall that they were quite good. I always enjoy crab especially when there are sliced garlic and peppers on top. Crab, like other white-fleshed seafood has a relatively mild taste. It’s all about the condiments.

Stuffed Chicken 
Stuffed Chicken with Chestnuts
We had some chicken stuffed with sticky rice and chestnuts. This seem so classically Chinese to me, and I picked on this a bit.  Also delicious and very rich. Thank God there’s a glass of wine nearby.

 Peking Duck
Peking Duck
Nothing is as plainly tasty as Peking Duck. Within the wrapper is an onion to cut the richness, and of course we dip with hoisin sauce. Goodness. I can eat maybe one or two pieces of crackling lechon; I can easily eat triple the amount of Peking Duck. These weren’t carved out in front of us during the meal, but as presented here, they were already pre-sliced and in nice little wrappers. Innocuous looking, tasty things.

Prawn Curry
JV has said that she wanted some curry, so the cooks of the kitchen whipped this up. Not my favorite of curries. I generally don’t like curries in Chinese, Japanese or Korean cuisine. It was still okay though, but I didn’t eat a lot of this. Very yellow.

 Taro Duck
And More Duck
Before you get the impression that we’re a bunch of duck gluttons, recall that these food represent what we ate for two meals. 🙂 The Duck with Taro is a deadly combination. You can really eat only so much of this because fatty duck is fried with a layer of taro that does an excellent job, as with most starches, of absorbing a lot of fat. Another glass of wine please.

 Cheese Platter Cheese Platter 2
Prosciutto and Various Cheeses
It was a trifle odd to have this Italian commercial in the middle of the meal. But I’m not one to turn away very thin salted Italian meat. Dennis brought over this spread from Galileo Enoteca, a place that I have unfortunately still not visited. Would have been nice also taken outside the context of a Chinese meal. But somehow, it fit the meal. It helps when people all around the table love cheese. 

 Mango Sago
We had mango and sago. I didn’t get to taste this. But I think Marion enjoyed it. It looked sweet, gelatinous and nice. Normally, I wouldn’t mind having dessert, but as you can imagine, I was stuffed beyond dessert.

Summary : I enjoyed most things, but especially enjoyed duck (and wine). These were two great dinners. I am embarrassingly always available every time JV and Dennis call me for a meal at Gloria Maris.

If you want to get a good idea of what I ate, you’ll have to go to the Shangrila Plaza Mall branch. I don’t think they serve the above dishes in all the branches (and no branches serve the prosciutto!). The quality and taste of the food is dependent on the branch chefs, and you might have to request for them to prepare a particular dish.

Rating  : Love It

Wine for our Gloria Maris dinners.

Chateau Batailley Pauillac 2007, Bordeaux
Wente Merlot 2001, Central Coast California
Cliff Edge Shiraz 2002, Mount Langi Ghiran

Chateau Bataille 1997Wente MerlotCliff Edge Shiraz