Baguio eats: Holiday Inn showcases top Cordillera produce

Jeeves de Veyra

Posted at Dec 23 2018 07:01 AM

Holiday Inn Baguio City Centre executive chef Alwyn Mantuano and his bagnet creations. Jeeves de Veyra

BAGUIO CITY -- Hotels in Baguio are known to have the freshest vegetables on their tables. But Alwyn Mantuano, executive chef of the fairly new Holiday Inn Baguio City Centre, goes the extra mile by personally going to the farms in nearby La Trinidad to talk to farmer suppliers and pick the cream of the crop. Mantuano brings these ingredients to the kitchen and incorporates European and Moroccan cooking methods in his dishes at the hotel’s Lamisaan restaurant.

“The featured products in our new dishes are sourced only from the Cordillera region: La Trinidad, Baguio, and some nearby towns. We make sure we know the source and that they pass the standard we have set for dining,” Mantuano said.

EMBED CHEF 2 : Chef Alwyn Mantuano at one of La Trinidad's hydroponic farms. Jeeves de Veyra

The salad at the breakfast buffet features fresh and crisp lettuce that could have just been picked the day before. Mantuano has several salads that really show off the area’s produce.

Here’s more of the food at the Holiday Inn Baguio City Centre’s tables:

There is no beef in the Carpaccio de La Trinidad. This is colorful plate of thinly sliced beetroot topped with a green salad with watercress and Sagada orange.

Seared Tuna is a favorite salad topping to make a heavier appetizer. But this is the first time I’ve seen it atop a pako salad.

Sagada coffee beans are used as a rub in the coffee-rubbed Capocollo. Marbled pork medallions are paired with a Pommery mustard sauce, smashed young potatoes, cherry tomato confit, and Baguio salad.

Mantuano adds Bagna Cauda, a blend of oil, butter, anchovies, and garlic, to yogurt for an exotic version of the white sauce often used with shwarma. Using this blend with simple grilled vegetables is a healthy umami treat.

Mantuano has a bagnet trio of kare-kare, binagoongan, and adobo (in photo) topped with a 64-degree egg. I wish he’d make a version of bagnet with his Bagna Cauda sauce, though.

The signature dish of the Lamisaan restaurant is Mantuano’s Chicken Supreme de Cordillera. This is chicken stuffed with minced crustacean with the Bagna Cauda sauce.

Mantauna’s banquet offerings shine with creativity as well. This is the Raviolo al Fuso that’s served with sage-perfumed hazelnut butter, capers, crispy sage and cheese.

The chef brings in Moroccan techniques to his food. This Beef Tajine Cromesquis is paired with the slow-cooked pastrami spice crusted Angus flat iron steak in a reduction of red wine and chocolate. This plate would not be out of place in any of the high-end restaurants in Manila!

Let Holiday Inn Baguio City Center’s pastry chefs satisfy your sweet tooth with this cake trio for dessert.

HOLIDAY INN STAMP

Strategically located high above Burnham Park, Holiday Inn Baguio City Centre is Baguio’s latest internationally branded hotel.

“Sometimes it takes an individual owner to realize the potential of partnering with an international brand which is what has happened here in Baguio. The city as a destination for both tourism and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, events) business is growing year on year and our owner saw the opportunity to join with and leverage the opportunities available with an international brand,” explained Holiday Inn Baguio general manager Joanne Acott.

Holiday Inn Baguio City Centre is located on Legarda Road. Jeeves de Veyra

The Holiday Inn brand of hospitality and quality is definitely present. Shuttle vans are available to whisk guests from the bus depots straight to the hotel. The same vans are used to shuttle guests to nearby tourist spots or back to the depot for the trip back.

The hotel is perched high atop Legarda Road so walking might take a little effort. Taxis are prevalent in Baguio so it's pretty easy to ask the front desk to wave one in for you. The location though guarantees breathtaking views of the city from the hotel’s 185 guest rooms.

There is a main ballroom for conferences and meetings. Function rooms can be found on the second floor. An open area fronting a well-appointed gym for health buffs can also be found here. The hotel does not have a swimming bowl but it isn’t really missed because of the city’s cool climate.

The hotel's courtyard has mountain views. Jeeves de Veyra

This Christmas season, the hotel has a special Christmas Day lunch (P1,000), dinner (P1,500), and a special 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. supper (1,000). The hotel also has a New Year’s Day dinner (P1,500) and supper (P1,000).

The hotel has discounted rates on one-night and two-night stays on bookings until January 31, 2019.