Fanning the flavors at Flame

Photograph by Matthew Pirante Perez for the Daily Tribune Whipped ‘soignon’ French goat cheese with a variation of red beets and a Pedro Ximenez sherry vinegar wine.

Discovery Primea embarks on a new gastronomic experience with the Elements of Flavor series, which made its debut on 17 November with a
multi-course meal by the hotel’s general manager David Pardo de Ayala and executive chef Luis Chikiamco as they celebrate two decades of culinary partnership.

Pardo de Ayala was Discovery Hotel Corporation’s corporate chef and used to oversee the food and beverage operations of Discovery Suites Ortigas, Discovery Country Suites Tagaytay, and Discovery Shores Boracay.

Chikiamko, the former executive chef of Discovery Suites Ortigas, took charge of the kitchen and created various delectable dishes based on his extensive culinary background, training, and experience spanning more than a decade from various parts of the world.

Photographs by Matthew Pirante Perez for The Daily Tribune
Duck breast adobo.

Elements of Flavor is a series of curated events that highlight culinary collaborations between Discovery Primea’s culinary team and renowned local and international chefs and personalities.

The restaurant, Flame, with its wooden floors, marble countertops with tall glass windows, and white interiors, is crowned with a chandelier centerpiece just after the entrance, giving it an upscale vibe.

Dirty martini was served as guest gathered at the table.

The meal kicked off with three variations of fresh tuna: A spice-seared variant with Asian condiments, tartare with curry mayonnaise, and ceviche Latino served with guacamole and cleverly incorporated with Boy Bawang corn nuts. Until recently, Boy Bawang had no place in fine dining, but this was a deliberately playful combination. The course was punctuated with a River Junction Pinot Grigio from the McManis Family Vineyard.

Next up was a foie gras sandwich with sauteed Granny Smith apples, artisanal greens, and a lemon-ginger gastrique. The overall dish felt like an upscale French toast served with a silky and luxurious foie gras.

Shortly after, a Dashi risotto with prawns, scallops, baby squid, and Chilean mussels was served with Domaine Peiriere Reserve Chardonnay 2020. It was absolutely delicious. The squid was juicy and tender, the mussels were packed with flavor, the scallop was sweet and succulent, and the prawn, wrapped and seared with what appeared to be vermicelli, almost has a tempura taste to it.

48-hour slow-cooked U.S. short ribs.

This time, a duck breast adobo flakes was served. It had sweet potato custard, sous vide egg yolk, and garlic chips, served with Chianti Rufina DOCG 2018. The dish was clever, elevating the humble Philippine national dish to fine dining levels. It was a revelation.

The highlight of the meal was the Jasper-grilled US beef short ribs which had been slow-cooked for 48 hours before being charcoal-seared. Served with black bean potato puree, charred-crispy leeks, pickled cherry tomatoes and Thai basil. The dish was accompanied with Cillar de Silos Joven de Silos, 2016. It was exquisite. The beef short ribs were melt-in-your-mouth soft, the black bean potato puree was smoky, and the pickled cherry tomatoes were both sweet and tart.

After that incredibly rich dish came the light and refreshing whipped “Soignon” French goat cheese with a variation of red beets, and a Pedro Ximenez sherry vinegar wine.

To cap off the night, the chefs served Auro chocolate marquise adorned with edible gold, a crushed pistachio bar, and vanilla and pink peppercorn English cream. On the side was a small vessel of oak-smoked salt (I had never heard of such a thing), which can be sprinkled on top of the chocolate marquise according to your taste. A cup of 100 percent Colombian coffee came next.

In between meals, the chefs told stories of their careers, and introductions to the dishes and its components. Each meal was followed with another which sometimes complements or contradicts the last, but it was absolutely magical. It was a feast for the senses. I did not want the night to end, to be perfectly honest.
Located on the 16th floor of Discovery Primea, Flame is now open for lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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