Monday, June 17, 2013

Amazed at Gloria Maris Shark's Fin Restaurant

One word. Impressive. From the restaurant's sheer size and scale down to each individual dish, Gloria Maris Shark's Fin Restaurant offers one of the best and authentic dining experiences in the metro.  

With several veteran Hong Kong chefs heading the kitchens at Gloria Maris, one can expect authentic Chinese dishes as well as the latest trends in contemporary Chinese cuisine. Gloria Maris also regularly sends their chefs to Hong Kong to identify new dishes and emerging trends. Gloria Maris recently hosted a lunch for bloggers to sample their signature and classic dishes, and some new dishes as well. Here's a quick tour of Gloria Maris to give you a better idea on the restaurant's size...

The new Gloria Maris Shark's Fin Restaurant is an impressive complex with over 7,500 square meters of space, including an elegant main dining hall, 13 private VIP function rooms, a large banquet area and separate dining areas for casual dimsum and another for hot pot dishes.  With all these dining areas, Gloria Maris can easily accommodate over a thousand diners at any one time. And with those numbers, one can just imagine the scale and logistics of a typical day at Gloria Maris. A table for two, lunch with the gang, dinner with the family, a formal banquet, corporate events, even a wedding reception, Gloria Maris can configure a layout for all your requirements. Nothing too small or too big that Gloria Maris can't handle.
From the main dining hall, a grand staircase leading to more banquet areas on the upper floor serves as a dramatic backdrop to an already impressive hall, with floor to ceiling glass panels on one side giving it a cathedral-like vibe, allowing natural light to filter in.   Just in case the thought of walking up the flight of stairs just isn't your thing, worry not. Gloria Maris has elevators for easy access to all its dining areas. Very cool.

For more private functions, Gloria Maris has VIP rooms as well, with round table set-ups for 10-12, which can be reconfigured to fit your requirements. Formal and elegant, just perfect for corporate meetings or family reunions.

If you're thinking of a much larger affair, Gloria Maris has that covered too. The large banquet area on the top floor was being prepped for an evening wedding reception, with some cool ceiling lights and floral arrangements.

With still more tables to be arranged, one can already imagine the full set up, and all this within the Gloria Maris complex.

Craving for dim sum and tea? Gloria Maris has a separate dining area for all day dim sum in a more relaxed and casual setting. A popular feature of Gloria Maris, the area is always packed with diners.

And for Hot Pot meals, Gloria Maris also has a separate dining area with tables equipped for table-top Shabu-Shabu. Walking through the different dining areas of Gloria Maris can make you hungry. Really hungry. And it was time for lunch...

A few drinks before lunch, starting with some champagne...

...and on my third glass of champagne, the first dish made quite a dramatic entrance. And no, it wasn't the champagne. The Abalone Sashimi, served on a wooden boat overflowing with dry ice vapor that draped the entire table giving it an almost surreal feel. Time for another glass and simply admire the cool and elegant presentation. A wasabi and soy dipping sauce as well as a creamy wasabi mayo dip comes with the dish. The subtle sweetness of the fresh abalone paired with the creamy wasabi mayo was just awesome. Real good start. Though not a traditional Chinese starter, the dish reflects the evolving culinary range of Gloria Maris with the addition Japanese, and even western influences in the next dishes.

Next, Prawns and Pop Rice with Strawberry Sauce, a cool twist on the crispy prawn dish with sweet strawberry sauce on crunchy rice, a personal favorite. New, different and refreshing, the strawberry sauce isn't a typical Chinese ingredient, yet this one works pretty well. The plump fried prawns are juicy and crisp, with the strawberry sauce adding a distinct layer of flavor that perfectly complements the prawns, and the pop rice adding texture. The crispy prawns make this comfortingly familiar, a typical Chinese flavor, but the sweet strawberry sauce makes this dish refreshingly new. And Gloria Maris continues to surprise as the next dishes were served...

Chui Chow Cold Cuts, with crisp pork belly, tender roast pork, enoki mushrooms, maki, and bacon rolls, again reflecting Japanese and western influences in Gloria Maris' extensive menu. The crisp pork belly had the perfect combination of tender pork and crunchy crackling in every slice, and the delicate enoki mushrooms added a nice contrast to the richness of the platter. A variety of flavors and textures in one platter, great for groups.

The 2 Tone Almond Seafood Pumpkin Soup, a refreshing combo elegantly plated with a cool Yin-Yang design. The creamy pumpkin and sweet almond combine for a rich and hearty soup with unique flavors. Creative, inventive, and flavorful, it's great to see the chefs of Gloria Maris come up with new flavor experiences, and this one typifies their contemporary approach to Chinese cuisine.

More dishes arrived, as the group's collective oohs welcomed one of many elegantly plated dishes. The Scallop and Shell Meat with French Beans and Raddish is another example of Gloria Maris' creative, even playful approach to flavors and textures, with succulent scallops and fresh, crisp French beans on soft and crunchy raddish cakes.

Gloria Maris' version of Peking Chicken Salad, with a delicately crisp outer layer on soft, juicy meat that mimics the flavor and richness of Peking Duck.  In the middle of the dish, shredded tender chicken meat sweetened with fresh fruits complete the dish. The use of strawberries and kiwi add a more contemporary and global flavor to this dish, which I enjoyed as I go for another glass of champagne.

Individual bowls of Steamed Lapu-Lapu- Filet with Egg White were then served, with the soft and delicate filet of Lapu-Lapu on a creamy egg white broth. The subtle flavor of the fish is enhanced by the creamy yet light egg white, another unique dish masterfully prepared by the kitchens of Gloria Maris.

Light, clean, subtle flavors highlight this elegant dish with a perfect balance of richness. Another impressive dish from Gloria Maris.

And finally, the Fried Crab with Salted Egg arrived. No meal at Gloria Maris is complete without an elegant crab dish, and this one is clearly another winner. The rich flavor of the salted egg adds another layer to the equally rich crab, which are all cracked making it easier, but do use your hands for this dish, you'll enjoy it even more.

And in another dramatic entrance, desserts were served starting with the Jumbo Buchi, crunchy and chewy balls coated with sesame seeds. Unlike the typically smaller buchi, the jumbo version has no filling, but you won't miss the filling as the Jumbo Buchi is sweet and flavorful, almost like tikoy in flavor and texture.

Then, the Marshmallow Pastries were served, shaped like bunnies and coated with grated coconut on a sweet tart. Soft and sweet, the delicate dessert brings a medley of textures in every bite. And the presentation is again impressive, another signature touch of Gloria Maris.

This. A personal favorite at Gloria Maris since way back. Taho, or silky tofu with syrup and tapioca pearls, a perfect ending to an awesome lunch at Gloria Maris (see my previous post on Gloria Maris' Taho here at And here's the cool part. In celebration of Gloria Maris Shark's Fin Restaurant's 1st year Anniversary in its newest location, and over two decades of serving authentic and classic Chinese dishes, diners can avail of a special 30% discount for a minimum of P 1,000 for cash and card transactions. Now that's a cool Anniversary treat. Promo runs from June 19 to July 19, 2013, Mondays to Fridays, excluding holidays.

One word. Impressive. Whether you go for dim sum or hot pot, or an elegant lauriat, Gloria Maris has you covered. Impressive facilities, great service and awesome food, just can't get better than that. Special thanks to Candy Uy-Lim and Andy of Gloria Maris for an awesome lunch.

Gloria Maris Shark's Fin Restaurant is located at Greenhills Shopping Center, Missouri Street corner Connecticut, Greenhills, San Juan City or call 570-0921 and 570-0923 for inquiries and reservations.

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