Friday, February 21, 2020

Casual Bibimbap and Premium Barbecue Selections at Oori Korean Restaurant, Now Open at Sheraton Manila Hotel

Go casual with bibimbap or go all out with the premium barbecue selections. It's an innovative and flavorful tale of two dining concepts coming together in a smooth and seamless Oori Korean Restaurant.

Sheraton Manila Hotel unveils its third and newest dining outlet, Oori Korean Restaurant, a unique two-concept upscale Korean restaurant as part of the hotel's second phase of development. The new outlet features sub-concepts of casual dining with comforting Korean cuisine and an elevated barbecue experience with their selection of premium beef and pork from their live butchery kitchen. Like two restaurants in one place with comforting Korean cuisine on one side and an upscale Korean barbecue experience on the other, Oori Korean Restaurant lets you crossover with ease to suit your taste, craving or mood.

It's a timely addition to their existing culinary offerings with The Lounge Bar and S Kitchen all-day dining buffet (for more on S Kitchen at Sheraton Manila, see my previous post, Elevating Filipino Cuisine: Come Home to S Kitchen's Sunday Fiesta at Sheraton Manila Hotel). A quick casual lunch or a sumptuous barbecue feast, Oori Korean Restaurant does it elegantly. With the continued popularity of Korean barbecue joints showing no signs of slowing down, Oori Korean Restaurant lets you rediscover Korean cuisine made with the finest and freshest ingredients.  

Casual Korean Dining at Bibimbap by Oori

Authenticity with a modern vibe sets Oori Korean Restaurant apart from the rest of the Korean joints in the metro. Executive Korean Chef Kibum Park ensures authentic Korean flavors in every dish, harnessing years of experience gained from stints in a leading Korean restaurant and various hotels across Asia. But more than this wealth of experience, Chef Kibum Park draws from the flavors he grew up with back in Korea.

The restaurant's name, "Oori" which means "ours" in Korean is inspired by the refreshed Sheraton brand of being a gathering place with its dual fine-casual dining concept. When you enter Oori Korean Restaurant, the muted grey palette and warm earth tones of raw burnt wood accentuated by marble and metal exudes a subdued and understated elegance. The sleek and clean uncluttered design gives it a contemporary and modern edge, something you don't expect from the usual Korean joint.

The spacious dual-concept dining outlet occupies half the area of the hotel property's second level and can comfortably accommodate 156 diners. The linear layout allows diners access to both dining concepts with ease. From the entrance, diners get a peek at the first part of the two-concept format highlighting casual dining with comforting Korean dishes like Bibimbap, Dakgangjung or Korean-style fried chicken, Tteok Bokki and Panjeun or Korean pancakes. Welcome to Bibimbap by Oori.

The open kitchen layout gives diners a glimpse at the magic behind each dish served at Bibimbap by Oori with its live cooking bibimbap bar. You can opt to sit up close at the bar for a better view of the action and enjoy your dishes served fresh from the hot pans...

...or have an intimate meal for two facing the panoramic glass windows. The interiors provide multiple seating options to fit any requirement. After all, Korean cuisine is best enjoyed and shared with family and friends. This communal feel not only reflects Korean dining but the refreshed branding of Sheraton as the modern gathering place.

Bibimbap by Oori draws inspiration from popular Korean street food staples to match its casual dining atmosphere. Your dining experience at Bibimbap by Oori begins with the traditional banchan. Offering 16 different kinds of tasty appetizers from pickled vegetables to seaweed and seafood, you'll find one that pairs perfectly with your main course at Bibimbap by Oori. But you can't go wrong with the classic Kimchi and the crisp mildly sweet Anchovies sprinkled with sesame seeds. Stored and fermented for a minimum of five days using the freshest produce for bold and vibrant flavors, the Kimchi is a must-have in any Korean meal. And if you order one of their specialty Bibimbap, you get two sides of your choice. 

In true Korean style, all the dishes are served in metal bowls with the uniquely Korean thin metal chop sticks. Start with something familiar at Bibimbap by Oori like the crisp and juicy Korean style fried chicken...

Bibimbap by Oori recreates the popular Korean street food classic, Dakgangjung (P 370), with boneless chicken draped in a sweet and spicy sauce topped with thinly sliced vegetables and sesame seeds. Fried to perfection, the chicken offers contrasting textures with its tender and juicy bite capped by its lightly crisp skin. The delicate notes of the chicken are given a flavorful boost with the intensely sweet and and mildly spicy glaze. Texture and flavor come together in this tasty dish.

Other street food favorites include the Tteok Bokki (P 550) or sweet and spicy rice and fish cakes, the Rabokki (P 600) with ramyeon noodles and rice and fish cakes slathered in a sweet and spicy sauce and Gunmandu (P 350) or fried pork and kimchi dumplings.  

The Haemul Jeun (P 580) with seafood, prawns, squid and mussels on a soft and fluffy pancake made with eggs offer delicate notes, and it's the freshness of the ingredients that drives the flavors. Topped with fresh vegetables, the pancake is masterfully executed. From the fresh seafood and vegetables to the soft and fluffy consistency of the pancake, the Haemul Jeun is one more dish to try at Bibimbap by Oori.   

A dip in the special sauce completes the flavors. Other tasty panjeun options include the spicy Kimchi Jeun (P 500) and Yachae Jeun (P 400) with assorted fresh vegetables.

Then, Bibimbap by Oori's servers roll a cart loaded with the traditional components of the popular Korean rice dish with assorted fresh vegetables sliced into thin strips, a soft-poached egg and the thick, nutty and spicy Gochujang sauce along with a pair of Bibimbap bowls.

Loosely translated to "mixing" and "rice," Bibimbap is exactly that where diners can mix all the ingredients laid out on the table to your bowl. Bibimbap by Oori offers eight savory variants of the Korean rice dish and that day, we sampled the traditional Bulgogi Bibimbap (P 600) with sweet soy marinated beef on steamed white rice with vegetables.

Sheraton Manila Hotel's Executive Chef, Francisco "Kiko" V. Santiago, prepares our bibimbap on the table mixing all the ingredients together. At Bibimbap by Oori, the specialty bibimbap is served unmixed for guests to toss in the fresh vegetables and spicy gochujang to suit their preferred level of heat. It's also the best way to enjoy your bap where the ritual of mixing becomes part of the experience at Bibimbap by Oori. 

After adding the fresh and pickled vegetables, the soft poached egg and a dab of spicy gochujang, mixing it all up adds to the Korean experience. The savory notes of the tender beef come through followed by the sharp flavors of the pickled vegetables, mellowed by the creamy richness of the soft poached egg. There are layers of different notes, yet each comes together just the way it should be in a sumptuous bowl. They do bap right at Bibimbap by Oori.

The Sisig Bibimbap (P 600) with ground pork on rice topped with crunchy chicharon is a novel take on local flavors. The distinct flavors of the pork sisig adds familiar notes to the bibimbap with its unctuous richness tempered by the spicy gochujang and pickled vegetables.The inventive mash-up of flavors combine for a unique bap that can only be found at Bibimbap by Oori.

Other equally flavorful bibimbap variants include a vegetarian option, the Yachae (P 450), Hoe (P 550) with fresh sashimi, Yuk Hoe (P 660) with marinated beef tartare, Jeyuk (P 600) with spicy marinated pork, Haemul (P 650) with succulent mussels, squid and prawn slathered in a spicy marinade and Dak (P 580) with soy marinated tender chicken. 

Cap your bibimbap feast with a decadent shaved milk ice dessert, the Bingsu. What makes their bingsu special is that the velvety smooth shaved ice is made from fresh milk slowly melting in your mouth releasing a creamy richness draping the palate. It's the perfect ending to a sumptuous Korean feast. 

The Fresh Mango Bingsu (P 450) with cubes of sweet mangoes, cheesecake and crispy cereal on shaved milk ice topped with vanilla ice cream offers fresh and indulgent notes...

...while the Fresh Mixed Fruits Bingsu (P 450) combines a medley of fresh and sweet seasonal fruits on shaved milk ice and vanilla ice cream to deliver a natural sweetness with each spoonful. The shaved milk ice binds all the flavors together.   

Bibimbap by Oori offers four indulgent bingsu variants including the Red Bean Bingsu (P 300) and Chocolate Bingsu (P 450). You can also opt for their Bibimbap Signatures like the colorful Matcha Heukimja Cake and the Songpyeon Rice Cake. If your cravings for an authentic Korean experience leads you to a table-top grill with prime beef and pork, you'll find it just a few steps inside this exciting new dining destination...

An Elevated Korean Barbecue Dining Experience at Oori Korean Restaurant

The transition to the second dining concept is just a few steps from Bibimbap by Oori, and the debate on quality versus quantity comes to mind as a point of differentiation versus the ubiquitous Korean barbecue joint found all over the metro. Step up to Oori Korean Restaurant for an elevated Korean barbecue dining experience with the finest Wagyu Beef, Spanish Duroc Pork, seafood and chicken.

Separated by a framed door lined by see-through wooden slats to reveal another elegant space,  a few steps leads you to a leveled up Korean barbecue experience. From the relaxed and casual mood of Bibimbap by Oori, diners experience a much more upscale feel at Oori Korean Restaurant. The transition is smooth and effortless...

At Oori Korean Restaurant, Korean barbecue is the highlight of your dining experience. The spacious interiors follow the same muted yet refined and modern design with subtle greys and warm wood tones in their private dining rooms. But the difference can be seen right there on the tables, each one installed with a special grill. 

The special tables are also equipped with a unique downdraft system so you won't see any overhead vents dangling from the ceiling maintaining the clean lines of the spacious interiors. Diners will also find a well-stocked bar at Oori Korean Restaurant if you wish to have a few cocktails before your Korean barbecue feast. Soju? Very tempting.

There's nothing like a comforting bowl of richly flavored soup with that soothing heat to open up the palate for a sumptuous Korean barbecue feast like the Mandu Jeongol (P 1,400) with pork and Korean dumplings simmered in spicy kimchi-infused broth. The flavors don't overwhelm, and one more sip reveals the intricate layers of flavor built up by the use of fresh ingredients.

The steaming metal pot releases a fragrant aroma from the vibrant red broth. Loaded with fresh vegetables, tofu and dumplings, the Mandu Jeongol is a hearty dish that doesn't hold back on flavor. Each sip warms both the palate and body, with the gentle heat of the kimchi's blend of spices lingering for even more intense flavors.

At Oori Korean Restaurant, the special dips and sauces are then laid on the table...

...along with Pajoeri, a spicy salad with fresh scallions draped in a spicy dressing. Oori Korean Restaurant takes great care in ensuring the authenticity of their dishes, using fresh ingredients prepared in traditional methods for bold, uncluttered flavors.

A platter of garden fresh and crisp leafy greens including lettuce and minty perilla leaves, fresh chili and garlic sets the stage for a traditional Korean barbecue.

At Oori Korean Restaurant, diners can discover even more traditional Korean flavors like the homemade and briny Meljorim Sauce made from anchovies and soy bean paste that pairs well with grilled meat. The intensely sharp notes compliments the savory richness of the premium pork and beef adding even more layers of flavors. And you'll only find this at Oori Korean Restaurant.  

Prime beef and pork were served for our exclusive lunch at Oori Korean Restaurant with the Premium Combination (P 5,500 good for two)...

...with Duroc Pork Collar...

...and Wagyu A5 Ribeye. The Premium Combination comes with a choice of soup like Danjang Jigae or Tofu Soup, Mul Naengmyeun or Cold Noodles and Bibim Naengmyeun or Spicy Cold Noodles and served with Juk or Korean Congee, Japchae or stir-fried glass noodles and Godeng-e Gue Pan or Pan-Fried Mackerel.

Every order comes with your choice of five banchan side dishes, fresh local lettuce, mushrooms, vegetables and pickled onions. And you can have unlimited servings. Other Korean barbecue options include the Beef Combination (P 3,600 good for two) with Wagyu A5 Ribeye, US Short Rib and US Short Plate, the Pork Combination (P 2,050 good for two) with Spanish Duroc Pork Collar, Jowl and Belly and the Beef & Pork Combination (P 3,250 good for two) with US Beef Rib, US Prime Beef Short Plate and Spanish Duroc Pork Belly. If you prefer seafood or chicken, Oori Korean Restaurant offers Jumbo King Prawns (P 1,510) and Korean Marinated Chicken Thighs (P 630).

Fed exclusively with acorns, Spanish Duroc Pork is tender and juicy because of its marbling with mildly sweet and nutty hints. The premium breed is highly prized, and the best comes from Spain. And you'll find it here at Oori Korean Restaurant. With a higher level of intramuscular fat for superior marbling, the clean yet rich and deeper flavor and buttery texture elevates your Korean barbecue dining experience. The Spanish Duroc Pork Collar comes from the neck between the jowl and shoulder, richly marbled and perfect for grilling.

What more can be said about the Wagyu A5 Ribeye? One look and the speckled marbling just makes you want to fire up the tabletop grill.

The charcoal grill does its magic on the premium Wagyu A5 Ribeye...

...and in just a few minutes, it's ready. 

Meanwhile, the special grill used for the Spanish Duroc Pork Collar gently sizzles allowing the rendered fat to ooze down the sides.

It takes just a little while longer to grill the Spanish Duroc Pork Collar... the Wagyu A5 Ribeye is served with a side of grilled mushrooms.

The layers of marbled fat adds rich flavors, delivering even more richness as it gently melts in your mouth. Dip the tender beef on the special sauces and add just a tiny pinch of rock salt and wait for the flavorful burst. 

Then, the Spanish Duroc Pork Collar on grilled white onions served with mushrooms is ready.

And now you're ready to wrap it all up. Grab a piece of crisp lettuce and lay the perilla leaf along with the Wagyu A5 Ribeye, kimchi, pajoeri, a dab of gochujang and some homemade meljorim sauce. Why not add some rice? Then gently wrap and fold into a bite sized bundle and go for it. And just in case you feel like making it a real meal with extra rice, you can also order the specialty bibimbap from Bibimbap by Oori just a few steps away to add to your Korean feast. The buttery Spanish Duroc Pork Collar delivers more delicate flavors followed by a subtle nutty sweetness. An extra dab of the meljorim sauce adds that flavorful punch cutting the richness. This is Korean barbecue, elevated.

The unique two-concept format of Sheraton Manila Hotel's newest dining outlet lets you explore the full range of authentic Korean flavors in just one place. Casual dining with a bowl of bibimbap or a luxurious Korean barbecue with a premium selection of Australian Mulwarra Wagyu Beef and Spanish Duroc Pork grilled right on your table, Oori Korean Restaurant rides on the continued popularity of Korean cuisine with an elegant and sophisticated spin. The spacious modern design of the interiors, the impeccable service and the quality and variety of dishes makes Oori Korean Restaurant your next top dining destination for authentic Korean flavors.  

A cup of freshly brewed Vittoria Coffee ends a satisfying and sumptuous dining experience at Oori Korean Restaurant. Korean restaurants can be found all over the metro, but only a few if any are located in luxury hotel properties. From their specialty bibimbap to the sophisticated barbecue selections, Oori Korean Restaurant transports you from the usual to the truly special in a few steps. 

Oori Korean Restaurant and Bibimbap by Oori are located at the 2nd Level of Sheraton Manila Hotel, 80 Andrews Avenue, Pasay City. Call +63 2 7902 1800 or visit @sheratonmanila on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Oori Korean Restaurant is available for lunch at 12nn to 2:30pm and dinner at 6pm to 10:30pm. 

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