Let us show you around at Cafe Ilang Ilang:
It’s a sweet good morning. You wake up to the tune of lovely Mozart Piano Concerto in your bedroom. Right beside your bed is a cup of heartwarming jasmine tea to invigorate your senses with its energy boosting aroma. Then, you walk outside of your room toward the lush green landscape that lines the facade of the historic Manila Hotel.
Manila Hotel is the oldest premier hotel in the Philippines. And some would say that its architecture and interior design rivals that of the decadent Malacañang Palace. Once you get past the entrance of the hotel, you are greeted by a great hall that takes you a hundred years back.
After taking a quick ocular at the details of the great hall, why not have lunch buffet at the Cafe Ilang Ilang? It’s like a hassle-free tour around the world with the food that they have to offer, and they have recently flown in new chefs to add new flavor to their current roster of menu. Executive Chef Konrad Walter has much to recommend such as the Japanese, Italian, and Filipino, particularly the Halal menu and desserts and pastries.
For starters, there are the special drinks and cocktails. Desserts are always the last ones to be consumed, and that’s about when we’re almost full at the end of the course. So why not take them first, because they’re very special. Of particular interest here are the French Macarons. There are Filipino favorites like the Ube Macaron and Mango Macaron.
But there’s one that you won’t see on display—that’s because it’s only made to order by the chef. It’s the Chili Chocolate Macaron. One might think it’s hot or spicy, but it actually tastes like regular creamy dark chocolate, plus the added kick of warmth on the throat. Wow. It’s especially great for the coming rainy season, so don’t forget to ask for it.
From Asia, we can savor some of our favorite local Filipino dishes. Korean, Japanese and Mongolian dishes are also familiar flavors that many of us love—the sashimi are just some of my favorites, and there’s the Korean Kimchi, and the Mongolian Barbecue.
Here are the homegrown Filipino dishes.
The Asian cuisine was fun. After, we took flight towards Western cuisine. Another Filipino favorite, Italian. All of their pizzas are made from scratch, 100% fresh and baked in a traditional wood-fired oven. Pasta lovers, rejoice! Here you can find different pastas with traditional Italian sauces, 100% authentic and proudly made by Chef Marco.
How about Halal food? Halal food is good for the health because of the way in which they are prepared. Everyone can benefit from this. Which is why Chef Karam highlights some dishes from the Halal Section. Try their finger food as a way of beginning your meal. They taste very delightful and very light.
Have you tried the Janeer Alfrezy? It is made of cheese/milk, and I was very delighted when I heard this. It was actually the first dish I put on my plate to sample. The soft texture melts like butter in the mouth, and it has a light flavor that is a cross between tofu and bread.
The Chicken Prawn Roller, on the other hand, is an exciting twist to the more familiar shrimp tempura. Instead of breading, we have a prawn beautifully wrapped in chicken meat.
The Beef Kebab can be eaten on its own or wrapped in Naan Bread. The beef is exceptionally soft and tender. You can easily chop it to strips with a fork on one hand. After making strips out of the beef, I wrapped it with the ultra chewy Naan Bread.
Shawarma is one of my favorite dishes ever, and this is what made me familiar with Halal cuisine. You definitely shouldn’t miss grabbing a serving of this as it is filled with creamy sauce.
I’ve tried so much and it was a good few hours of tour around the world at Manila Hotel’s Cafe Ilang Ilang. My favorite sashimi and sweets were there, and pizza, which made the experience just perfect. Of course, from my platter of Halal food, my favorites were the Shawarma, Beef Kebab, and creamy Janeer Alfrezy. You must try them!
My favorite platter of Halal foods
With Executive Chef Konrad Walter
MANILA HOTEL CAFE ILANG ILANG