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What’s in a black box?

Chef Vic created the Black Box Express menu, a new takeaway menu based on top favorites on the regular menu. Each item is an exciting combination or pairing of familiar and well-loved comfort foods offering generous servings at reasonable prices.



What is in a black box? If it comes from Eastwood Richmonde Hotel, then the black box would definitely contain good food. Lots of good food. The signature black box, actually the hotel’s packaging for cakes, now also serves as packaging for the hotel’s savory takeaway food. That executive chef Victor Barangan thought of using the black box for this other purpose can be considered as genius because it is not only practical and economical, a black box also connotes something mysterious and exciting and so using the usual pastry box to deliver savory items would double the thrill felt by everyone over Eastwood Richmonde Hotel’s new takeaway offerings.

The hotel’s Black Box takeaway offerings were created by chef Vic as a response to the coronavirus pandemic situation. Since the lockdown forced everyone to “abandon” the workplace and stay home to stay safe from the virus, people had to rely solely on home cooking, especially during the earliest and strictest part of the lockdown — the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) — when hotels and restaurants had to shut down operations and stay closed until further notice.

But while restaurants were closed due to quarantine restrictions, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging and Infectious Diseases allowed food delivery and pick-up. Some restaurants, including Eastwood Richmonde Hotel’s Eastwood Café+Bar, grabbed this golden opportunity to continue serving their guests. So, in May, when quarantine protocol began to ease up, the hotel started offering food deliveries (so people can stay home and stay safe and yet get to enjoy delectable dishes from Eastwood Richmonde) and convenient curbside pickups (so there would be no need to park).

Mediterranean Family Weekend Plate. / PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF DOLLY DY-ZULUETA AND Eastwood Richmonde Hotel

Chef Vic created the Black Box Express menu, a new takeaway menu based on top favorites on the regular menu. Each item is an exciting combination or pairing of familiar and well-loved comfort foods offering generous servings at reasonable prices. The five Black Box Express meal set selections are Filipino Flavors (kare-kare and lechon liempo), Taste of Asia (nasi goreng and pad thai), Sandwich Bundle (Richmonde Burger with 100% Angus beef and pretzel bun and clubhouse sandwich), Snack Bunch (chicken bun and baked pasta), and Ribs & Roast (barbecue ribs and roast chicken), each priced at P750 to P900.

For bigger appetites or bigger families, the Black Box Express menu presents two festive family feast options — the Boodle Black Box and the Black-Buster Blowout.

Available for P1,650 nett (good for two to three persons) and for P2,850 nett (good for four to five persons), the Boodle Black Box is a do-it-yourself boodle fight kit that comes complete with banana leaves to lay all the food on. Despite the pandemic, families will surely have fun putting together this good, ol’-fashioned salu-salo at home. The food consists of crispy pata, tuna tail barbecue, chicken inasal, pinaputok na tilapia, salted egg with green mango salad, aligue rice, and coco macaroons. Partaking of these delightful eats is like having a mini celebration right in the comfort — and safety — of your own home.

Richmonde’s famous Ensaymada

The other family feast option, the Black-Buster Blowout set, also comes in two sizes: the two- to three-person serving size, which is pegged at P2,350 nett; and the four- to
five-person serving, which goes for P4,350 nett. It is a prime bundle of meats and seafood, with items such as grilled ribeye steak, prawns thermidor, mussels in wine, pork BBQ ribs, cheeseburger casserole pasta, pommes Anna (these are sliced potatoes in butter), and caramel brownies.

Chef Vic has also put together Weekend Family Platters, which are available at Eastwood Café+Bar, for extra special weekends when you want to bond with family, friends, or a combination of family and friends over good food. There are three cuisine-themed food trays to choose from — Spanish (salpicao senuelo, gambas, chorizo and callos rice) for P1,300; Mediterranean (a combination of salmon souvlaki, pork brochettes, beef kebabs, grilled vegetables and olive rice) for P1,200; and Filipino (inihaw faves such as chicken barbecue, pork barbecue, bangus inasal, ensaladang talong and aligue rice) for P1,100. Each platter is good for four to five persons and, as its name suggests, is available only on Saturdays and Sundays.

Black Box Express’ Ribs & Roast.

If you have diet restrictions, chef Vic can make adjustments for you. He made necessary changes to my Mediterranean family weekend platter to suit my no-red-meat diet. He kept the salmon souvlaki but substituted the pork brochettes and beef kebabs with grilled shrimps and chicken kebabs. It was marvelous.

You have to order at least a day in advance, though, for both the Black Box Express and Weekend Family Platters.

To complete Eastwood Richmonde Hotel’s new takeaway menu that was designed especially for the lockdown, chef Vic has come up with a Sweet & Savory Takeaways menu to satisfy sudden hunger pangs. Here’s where you can order Richmonde’s signature ensaymada and moist chocolate cake, as well as other popular baked goodies like banana bread, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal biscuits, corned beef pandesal and pork asado roll. You can have these for delivery or curbside pickup, and you can even have these heavenly treats at discounted prices if you drop by the hotel from 4:30 to 5 p.m. because the remaining pastries at the counter go for a whopping 25 percent discount. And while you’re there, why not order a thin-crust pizza? Fresh-from-the-oven pizzas are available for P225 to P295 each.

Eastwood Richmonde Hotel’s Executive Chef Vic Barangan.

To order, call, text or Viber +63 917-8210333 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., call the hotel’s trunkline (632) 8570-7777, or message the hotel’s official Facebook page. Payments may be made online through bank transfers or credit card.

Delivery is free within Eastwood City in Quezon City, and a flat rate of P150 has been set for deliveries to Makati, Taguig, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Marikina and Quezon City. Should you decide to pick up your order, this can be conveniently done at the driveway of the hotel so that there would be no need to park.