Foie Gras Xiao Long Bao, Maine Lobster with Sambal, Available in Manila Till Sunday
On his first visit to the Philippines, celebrated Singaporean chef Justin Quek and his team are working wonders in the kitchens of Solaire's Red Lantern and Lucky Noodles restaurants—introducing the Filipino palate to his signature Franco-Asian cuisine. From today until Sunday, September 8, diners at one of the two Solaire restaurants have the chance to savor a Quek creation, as part of the next leg of the five-star hotel’s Culinary Masters Series.
Before our meal with other media editors, Quek introduced himself and recalled his journey as a chef—beginning his career as a sailor at the age of 19, with the goal to see the world. After being told by his captain to pursue a culinary career instead, he moved back to Singapore. He enrolled at culinary school and topped his class. He journeyed to France and found work in a restaurant where he worked for free. Upon his return to Singapore, he was appointed as the first Singaporean chef to serve the French ambassador. His latest projects are two notable concepts in Marina Bay Sands: the casual JustIn Flavours of Asia and the upscale Chinoiserie.
One of the highlights in a Quek-curated menu is his signature Foie Gras Xiao Long Bao, which was no doubt enjoyed by the many dignitaries he’s served in the past. Quek found a loyal patron in the late prime minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, for whom he had prepared birthday dinners since 1993.
During a lunch preview, the dim sum dish was served as part of a trio, accompanied by a Hokkaido Scallop Ceviche and a Mushroom Cappuccino. The rich flavor of the xiao long bao is pared down by the vibrancy and lightness of the ceviche, then is followed by the warmth and earthiness of the cappuccino.
The next dish, another crowd favorite, was the Wok-fried Maine Lobster with Hokkien Noodle, which was served with the chef’s own sambal and calamansi on the side. For this recipe and many others, the chef and his team hand-carried choice ingredients, such as lobster stock, Gula Java, and Chendol, all the way from their native Singapore.
While many Filipino gourmands have encountered the dishes mentioned above at least once in their lives, Quek surprises his diners with something new and unexpected—pig trotters with foie gras and wild mushrooms encased in crépinette form using caul fat. This is served with truffle jus.
The lunch service found its sweet ending in a local dessert called chendol, which is a green rice flour jelly that the chef partnered with an ice cream made with Gula Java (coconut sugar from the Java Islands).
While diners can catch Quek’s dishes on Red Lantern’s a la carte and set menu for lunch and dinner throughout his stay, they may also enjoy a degustation with wine pairing on September 4, and a dim sum buffet on September 7 and 8. Meanwhile, the a la carte menu featuring the Foie Gras Xiao Long Bao and the Spicy King Prawn Noodle Soup, will be available at the neighboring Lucky Noodles until September 8.
Red Lantern and Lucky Noodles, Solaire Resort & Casino, 1 Asean Avenue, Entertainment City, Tambo, Paranaque, 888.8888