PF Chang's adds new dishes to menu
MANILA - I was dwarfed by two massive wooden horses outside the restaurant. Inside, I found a seat upstairs next to a single, tiny replica of a Terra Cotta soldier perched on a platform overlooking the whole spacious wooden interior.
And after seeing a sprawling painting, reminiscent of old distinct Chinese traditions, I couldn't help but feel that anything less than authentic Chinese cuisine would be a letdown.
"We are opening our doors to make Filipinos feel at home," said PF Chang's Operating Partner Angela Camins.
Almost 20 new Asian-inspired dishes across different menu categories have been introduced by PF Chang's in an effort to attract more Filipinos to the restaurant.
"Each of these dishes, many of which were US-developed, represents familiar Asian favourites with the distinct PF Chang's DNA," said Archie Rodriguez, President and CEO of Global Restaurants Concepts, Inc., the local partner of PF Chang's.
PF Chang's was named after its founders, Paul Flemming and Philip Chiang, who aimed to blend Chinese food and culture with Western hospitality.
"Many of our new items come at a very attractive price point, even below P200," he added.
And I suddenly found myself thinking back to all the other Chinese restaurants I've been to that prides itself in affordability and the large quantities of food that came with it.
PF Chang's was different, and a tad bit more expensive. But the tinted windows and the dimmed yellow lights all but made for a very intimate lunch.
Our course started off with their Ahi Cucumber Salad (P365.00). A mix of colors will remind you of summer--bright orange peaches, rose-red tomatoes, bright green blanched asparagus, and the pinkish seared tuna.
|Ahi Cucumber Salad|
If anything else, the colors will also remind you of the festivities that people used to celebrate out of tradition. It gave you a sense of anticipation, like good appetizers should do, for the parade of dishes that would soon come your way.
And as soon as we took the last bite of the salad, fresh off the kitchen came the Radish Shrimp Dumplings (P165.00), a mosaic piece shaped like a traditional Chinese princess, with a soft dress of thin dough concealing tender pieces of shrimp and asparagus, topped with a daikon crown.
The simple piece, in addition to its butter-glazed shrimp, had a touch of spice that slid down your throat effortlessly.
And then came its brother, a prince, unabashed in its arrival.
|Flaming Red Wontons|
"This is the the Flaming Red Wontons," said Rodriguez.
The dish did not only stand out for its name, but also for its thick, bright brown sauce--a mix of chili paste, chili oil, shrimp paste and ketchup. The dish, finished with scallions and sesame seeds, had a tasteful but fleeting spiciness to it.
It was then followed by the Tuna Tataki (P325.00) that arrived almost unnoticed. Humble in its appearance--diced tuna, mixed with sesame seeds and seasoned with soy sauce on top of crispy wonton discs -- the dish had an air of elegance in its simplicity.
Dauntingly, the Tofu Steak (P365.00) came after. The crisply breaded silken slices of tofu, in contrast to the size of earlier dishes, looked heavy with the amount of bell peppers, Kung Pao sauce, and onions thrown on its head.
The dish, along with their Vegetarian Dumplings (P165.00), is a must for the health conscious.
And then came a delicate one. The Xiao Long Bao (P125.00), a steaming basket of soup pork dumplings, that needed a touch of caution so as not to tear its soft exterior.
The dimsum was a mix of diced pork, a thick soup that had a hint of vinegar, complemented by the ginger-flavored pot sticker sauce. The dish was a mouthful.
But awe befalled everyone when the main dish, the "emperor", announced its arrival with a whiff of the familiar grilled beef smell.
The Grilled Angus Flank Steak (P995.00) was carved into thin succulent slices, dressed with black singe marks, highlighting its deep brown skin and accompanied by grilled peaches and Chinese eggplants marinated to leave a faint golden glow.
|Grilled Angus Flank Steak|
The beef was tender and rich in taste. And suprisingly, I found myself indulging in the eggplants that was just as savory as the beef itself.
And then came dessert with little room to spare. Out came two: one traditionally Asian and another an American favorite.
The Choco Buchi (P155.00), in keeping with the theme, was simple but elegant. The gold-colored rolls were arranged in a long white plate striped with chocolate syrup.
And as you bite through its soft, crunchy exterior of rice flour and sesame seeds, you'll be greeted with a sweet blend of dark chocolate and black bean paste.
Chang's Apple Crunch (P295.00) was also simple. The crispy rolls of apple tart fillings matched with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce, was a reminder of P.F. Chang's American influence amid the array of their latest Asian-inspired dishes.
Everything was topped off by the customary cup of tea, a cup of Gen Mai Cha.
The hot cup of green tea mixed with tiny bits of roasted brown rice, was the perfect ending for a noon well spent.
"PF Chang's has always been about an exceptional dining experience of familiar dishes that are easy to understand and appreciate. Topped with a western style service and true Filipino hospitality, PF Chang's restaurants in the Philippines provides guests with a memorable experience that they will want to keep going back for," said Rodriguez.
I certainly will be looking forward to eating there again.