Have You Tried Solaire’s Waterside Restobar and Oasis Café?December 14, 2014
Solaire is known to be Metro Manila’s entertainment Mecca. It’s the place where one bets a few bucks and flirts with chance; their prayers come with tight-clenched fists and hopes of an elevated net worth than when they came in. It’s a lit-up wonderland with the comical ding-ding-ding of slot machines the ubiquitous background music.
It is, also, a luxurious choice if it’s in your checklist to splurge on a good ole staycation with family and friends, an ideal place to watch musicals and performances (we’re looking at you Tycho), and it is, in fact, a great dining destination that has a myriad of options to satisfy whatever the palate craves for.
Recently, two new food establishments opened up to add to their roster: Waterside Restobar, for those eager to get their Mediterranean fill, and Oasis Garden Café, a coffee shop that literally looks like a lush, green haven right smack in the middle of a building. Both are located at the ground floor of Solaire, and are spacious enough to accommodate a good crowd while still leaving room for privacy.
Waterside Restobar is handsome, sleek, and relaxed all at the same time. Located with a view of Solaire’s poolside, it is tempting to stay here the whole day, and order tapas after tapas. Perhaps a couple of paellas, glasses of red, then seal the deal with their fine desserts.
We like their Popcorn—mini prawns coated in a light Cajun spice that tickles the tongue like a firecracker. Too much, and it might be explosive. A clean-tasting kilawin of tilapia is a celebration of texture and flavor. Cherry tomatoes stuffed with bocconcini are skewered with lemongrass sticks and laid on a bed of pesto with pine nuts makes for a visual orgy of vibrant reds and greens—it tastes as fresh as it looks.
The Paella Valenciana, made only with Spanish Bamba rice from Leavante is cooked over hardwood fire, just right to produce enough socarrat to make everyone on the table happy. A bountiful Surf and Turf makes jaws drop with a spread of hanger steak, ribs, prawns, and salmon, cooked without over-seasoning and brightened with spritzes of lemon juice.
For dessert, all forks dive in to poke a pineapple “ravioli” stuffed with sorbet and laced with chili, mangling the poor fruit as we race to get the largest portions, while a dark chocolate tart’s texture is a replica of a smooth, thick chunk of butter. We couldn’t think of a better companion for it than the firm yet wobbly disk of raspberry jelly; when poured over with thick vanilla bean sauce, it leaves us at a loss for words.
Each hotel needs to have that one cake shop where you can dart to for a quick sweet-tooth fix, and for Solaire, it’s Oasis Garden Café. With its choice selection of pastries, cakes, tarts, and tea, it’s like being a kid in a candy store all over again—especially with their seasonal specials that got our heads delightfully rolling with a sugar high.
An eggnog cheesecake is rich and yolky, with subtle hints of rum and amaretto—not much of the strong stuff since kids are also part of the hotel’s clientele. Meringue and a white chiffon sponge make up the bookends of the Cardinal while fresh raspberry jam is sandwiched in between. If you’re looking for something tuned in to the Christmas cheer, their bibingka is a stunner, while a spiced apple crumble brings warmth to any Scrooge’s icy heart.
Amarena cherries from Italy are showcased in a tart made with white chocolate mousse, while a baked caramel cheesecake is velvety and addictive—a deep and almost-burnt milky flan constitutes the top part, while a more dense caramel cake lies beneath.
A melt-in-your-mouth mango and coconut cake disappeared within minutes, and the signature Solaire chocolate cake, flourless and gluten-free, came with a generous sheet of chocolate gelée in between to add gooeyness and texture. It was very, very difficult to put our forks down.
Next time you swing by Solaire, don’t forget to drop by their new restaurants. Heck, make a trip with the intent of sampling their gustatory offerings. You won’t be disappointed, we promise.