Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Come Home to Casa Buenas, Now Open at Resorts World Manila

The graceful interiors take you back in time gently nudged along by the impeccable service while the sumptuous and varied flavors brings you home...


Resorts World Manila launches its newest signature dining outlet, Casa Buenas, showcasing traditional and nostalgic elements of all things Filipino with a modern and contemporary spin. All the elements come together in a seamlessly woven tapestry celebrating our local heritage from the classic architecture and design to the graceful service and sumptuous Filipino Spanish cuisine. Come inside and take a nostalgic step back in time...at Casa Buenas.  


Executive Chef Godfrey Laforteza draws inspiration from his own family's cherished recipes for many of the menu offerings giving Casa Buenas a comforting and homey feel, almost like dining in your favorite abuelita's home. There's a story behind each dish, and Executive Chef Godfrey Laforteza retells these stories with the wide array of Filipino Spanish inspired dishes at Casa Buenas. Dining becomes even more special when the cuisine triggers fond memories transporting you back to childhood summers and family gatherings centered around your grandmother's home-cooked dishes. Executive Chef Godfrey Laforteza takes all these and spins his own creative and modern style for a refreshing new twist on comfortingly familiar flavors.   

Located at the Ground Floor of the Newport Grand Wing at Hotel Okura in Resorts World Manila, Casa Buenas is an homage to classic and traditional Filipino cuisine, updated with modern culinary techniques. The elegant interiors exude that nostalgic Filipiniana vibe matched by the quintessential style of Filipino hospitality and service.


The elegant space with its dramatic high-ceiling framed by wooden arches, ornate capiz windows, solihiya furniture and hand-carved hardwood floors with colorful Machuca tiles recreate the look and feel of grand ancestral homes. During the preview, the tables were arranged forming a long table for a grand banquet. Inspired by the Bahay na Bato, Casa Buenas reflects the diverse richness of our heritage with indigenous materials from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The shared historic links with Spain is also represented in the design and cuisine at Casa Buenas.


The long linear layout of Casa Buenas features different areas, much like an ancestral home, like the Sala, Comedor, Aguador, Pamilya and the luxurious La Cupula where you can dine under an elaborate painted glass ceiling surrounded by glass walls.

The Tapas Bar (L) near the entrance of Casa Buenas prepares all the tasty starters which you can enjoy by the bar before your meal while the semi-open kitchen (R) behind glass windows becomes a stage for a memorable feast. The kitchen was then fired up for our exclusive lunch preview...


...as the final touches were laid on the banquet table. After soothing cocktails and tasty appetizers like Salmon Crostini, Shrimp Isaw and Truffle Pizza, we were led to our seats for the much-awaited grand feast at Casa Buenas.


Like a perfectly choreographed dance, the staff served the first courses and our dining experience at Casa Buenas began...

At the exclusive lunch preview, guests were served fresh-baked Casa Buenas Bread as well as their own specialty flavored butters in Ube, Pineapple and Pimiento (L) adding one of many recurring and distinct layers of Filipiniana to our dining experience at Casa Buenas.


Here's an insider tip. The Sourdough Bun at Casa Buenas is just so good, you'll want another. Soft inside with a subtle chewy texture and a lightly crisp crust, add a dab of Pineapple Butter for that tart and mildly sweet and creamy finish.

Our Filipino-Spanish inspired feast began with the clean and briny notes of the elegantly plated Tuna Tartare Kilawin (P 280) followed by the refreshing Grilled Marinated Chicken Salad (P 280) with crisp garden fresh lettuce and wantons to open up the palate. The use of the finest and freshest ingredients is evident right from the start...


...followed by the amusingly named Kumot (P 380), a delicate appetizer with rice noodles and shrimps tossed in spicy peanut lime dressing draped in a soft blanket. The fresh and plump shrimps bring vibrant bursts of briny sweetness pairing well with the nutty notes and soothing heat of the spicy peanut lime dressing. The Asian-inspired dish gives you an idea on Executive Chef Godfrey Laforteza's creative culinary style, weaving regional flavors in a masterfully plated course.


Spanish influences add a savory richness to our next courses, starting with the Callos de Montserrat (P 490). Executive Chef Godfrey Laforteza recreates his mother's recipe for the traditional ox-tripe stew with Spanish chorizo simmered in tomato sauce delivering rich and unctuous flavors and textures. 


Each bite drapes the palate with its deep and savory notes followed by the melt-in-your-mouth ox tripe completing the flavors. The chorizo adds that sharpness to temper the richness of the dish. It's both comforting and nostalgic, and you can also enjoy this with rice. 


The Gambas (P 590) with succulent shrimps sauteed in garlic and olive oil is one of those Spanish dishes where everyone has their favorite version. This one is now up high on my list of favorites. Each bite delivers an audible fresh snap, releasing its briny notes followed by the silky smooth and nutty finish of the garlic-infused olive oil. 


It's gambas the way it should be, rich and refined with fresh notes. You can also opt for the Crispy Mixed Seafood (P 390) with Calamansi Aioli if you're looking for that extra crunch.

The Charcuterie and Cheese Platter (P 1,000 Small/P 1,800 Large) with fine gourmet cheeses, cured meats, fruits and nuts was served as the main courses were prepared at the kitchen. And so far, the first wave of starters were a feast for the eyes and palate.


For the mains, Executive Chef Godfrey Laforteza served his inventive Sinulog (P 480), roasted chicken with Cebu's Best Lechon Stuffing. Elegantly plated, the dish features tender and juicy chicken stuffed with lechon and topped with crisp chicken crackling drizzled with sauces and served with cherry tomatoes and rice.


A closer look reveals the Cebu's Best Lechon Stuffing adding its rich notes to a uniquely creative dish. If you love roast chicken, you'll love it even more with the lechon stuffing. Think of it as an upgrade to your lechon manok. Stuffed with real lechon.


The Grilled Kurobuta Pork Chop (P 800) served with a mixed salad and Java Rice is a meal in itself...


...with juicy fork-tender pork richly seasoned and fresh off the grill to tease the palate. The execution and plating, and the use of premium ingredients, elevates the dish.


The Iberico Pork Jowl (P 1,000) features tender pork cheeks delicately seasoned and grilled for flavors that just melts on the palate. The subtle nutty, sweet and clean flavors of premium Iberian pork is matched by its buttery soft texture. Executive Chef Godfrey Laforteza lets you enjoy the pure flavors of the premium pork without overwhelming it with seasonings.


There's nothing a good steak can't cure. The US Angus Ribeye Steak (P 1,900-300g/P 2,900-500g) is a tempting slab of premium beef laid on roasted vegetables and herbs topped with creamy butter. Just let the butter melt and ooze into the meat for even richer, more indulgent beefy flavors. 


Perfectly grilled to medium rare with a juicy pink center, Casa Buenas serves their steaks with three kinds of sauces. But steak this good doesn't need any sauce at all. The butter does it for me.

Other fresh off the grill options include the Iberico Pork Spare Ribs (P 1,300) and US Angus Tenderloin Steak (P 2,500-210g/P 5,000-500g) or go for the day's freshest catch like Prawns (P 1,200), Squid (P 900) and Octopus (P 1,000).


The Garlic Noodle with Crab Meat (P 680) was another tasty surprise at Casa Buenas, with soft yet firm chewy noodles covered in a buttery garlic-infused sauce. The strong hints of garlic are mellowed by the creamy butter and briny sweetness of the succulent crab meat for balanced flavors. It's a deceptively simple dish, yet the flavors are rich and indulgent. This one's up there too with my other favorites at Casa Buenas. Other pasta options include the Mixed Seafood Marinara (P 750) and Tomato & Basil Pasta (P 450).


Our sumptuous feast is capped with a fitting finale...


The Paella Negra (P 1,200 good for 2-3 persons/P 1,500 good for 4-6 persons) with soft, moist and fluffy rice delivers bursts of flavors from the squid ink. Topped with tender quid and creamy aioli, the intense flavors run deep all the way down to the crunchy socarrat at the bottom of the paellera.

Casa Buenas also serves pizza like the Tuna and Unagi Pizza (P 590), Truffle Pizza (P 490) and Charcuterie Pizza (P 490) and sandwiches like the Lobster Bun (P 520), "Tito B" Burger (P 520) with pork neck and belly patty and the Buenas Burger (P 520) with thick and juicy Angus beef patty.


But save room for dessert. The Emperador Strudel (P 260) with brandy cream topped with mangoes and crisp tuile is pure eye candy, a visual feast that's almost too good to eat. 


But once the brandy cream is poured, your appetite goes into overdrive tempted by the Emperador Strudel. 


The infusion of purple yam adds a distinctly Filipino twist to the Ube & Cheese Souffle (P 230) topped with peanut biscotti...


...while the use of local chocolate for the Tablea Chocolate Fondant (P 260) with vanilla ice cream gives this indulgent dessert bolder, deeper and much rounder flavors.


If you like what you see so far, Casa Buenas has even more to offer. This Valentine's, let Casa Buenas orchestrate a memorable dinner with La Serenata starting February 13 to 15. The special dinner features a six-course menu crafted and presented like a traditional kundiman, starting with Tuna Tartare Kilawin and Kumot for Amuse Bouche, Gambas and Grilled Octopus for Hot Appetizer, Salmon Yazu Dashi for Soup, Grilled Beef Tenderloin and Iberico Pork Jowl for Mains, homemade Pralines for Mignardise, and the Emperador Strudel for Dessert. Guests may opt for an intimate couple date for as low as P 6,000 net or an exclusive date at the La Cupula for P 10,000 net. Casa Buenas also offers group date packages at the special private dining area La Cupula or the communal table at Pamilya

Executive Chef Godfrey Laforteza and Resorts World Management recapped the menu offerings at Casa Buenas in a casual conversation with guests at the preview. Casa Buenas is a welcome addition to the world class amenities and attractions of Resorts World Manila, and you can expect it to be one of their top dining destinations.


What makes dining special at Casa Buenas is that Executive Chef Godfrey Laforteza brings his home and family's cherished recipes to Resorts World Manila's newest signature restaurant, along with other classics updated with a modern spin. Dining at Casa Buenas becomes comfortingly nostalgic and a much more personal experience.


And the day belonged to Executive Chef Godfrey Laforteza and his culinary team...


...along with the entire staff of Casa Buenas for a successful launch.


A soothing cup of freshly brewed Latte caps my experience at Casa Buenas on a high note. From the classic lines of its architecture and design of its interiors to its graceful service and lavish reinterpretation of Filipino Spanish cuisine, Casa Buenas is home. And it's now open at Resorts World Manila...

Casa Buenas is located at the Ground Floor of the Newport Grand Wing at Hotel Okura, Resorts World Manila, Portwood Street, Newport City or call 0917 878 8312 or email at casa.buenas@rwmanila.com for inquiries and reservations.

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