Friday, June 17, 2022

Flavors of Swissotel Clark: Infusing Fun to Italian Fine Dining at Ristorante di Verona, the Tenth and Latest Dining Outlet in Swissotel Clark

Authenticity with a playfully inventive element of fun transforms an Italian dining experience with impeccable #SwissHospitality at the newest dining destination in Swissotel Clark. The first in a series of five posts on the blog, the new Ristorante di Verona is an added layer of lavish experiences in rich flavors at the luxurious hotel property up north... 

Fine dining made more fun, the newest dining destination up north in Clark is just one of many inspired options within the elegant new hotel property. Known worldwide for its signature #SwissHospitality and #SwissTastes, the prestigious luxury Swiss hotel brand draws inspiration from classic Italian cuisine for its latest dining concept at the sprawling Clark Freeport Zone.  

Swissotel Clark recently unveiled its tenth dining outlet, Ristorante di Verona, and is now formally accepting guests and customers starting July 7, 2022 for a unique and traditional yet modern and contemporary spin on Italian fine dining with an innovative and fun twist woven into an elegant culinary experience. Read on for an exclusive sneak peek at an authentic taste of Italy in Central Luzon... 

The clean and sleek lines of the new Swissotel Clark towers high above the northern plains of Central Luzon as a shining beacon of Swiss vitality, precision and sustainability. With 22 storeys, Swissotel Clark is the tallest structure in the massive Hann Casino Resort complex with dining, shopping and entertainment amenities within the property. Panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows, marble bathrooms and the very latest guestroom automation technology including complimentary high-speed internet and five state-of-the-art meeting rooms are what you can expect during your stay at Swissotel Clark matched by the world-renowned brand of #SwissHospitality and service. "Life is a journey" is a mantra at Swissotel as it aims to help guests live well through its vitality offerings in every corner, from the well-appointed rooms, amenities, activities including dining within the expansive property.

And dining is an integral part of any Swissotel experience, and you can choose from ten specialty restaurants to suit any mood or craving. Traditional Italian cuisine? Then it's Ristorante di Verona...    

Located at the 5th Floor of Swissotel Clark, the newest culinary concept offers both indoor and alternative al fresco dining options with scenic views of the distant Zambales Mountain Ranges. The bright and vibrant palette of colors and the arched entrance transports you... the rustic and timeless Italian aesthetics of Verona inspired by the setting for the classic ill-fated romantic tale of Romeo & Juliet. Warm wood tones contrast with the sheen of glass and stainless steel, elegant marble and the pristine white finish of the impressive open kitchen. 

Private rooms for more intimate gatherings are also offered at Ristorante di Verona for that perfect family celebration or business meeting. 

On one side of Ristorante di Verona are the impressive shelves of premium wines from the old world including a 1958 Pio Cesare Barolo from Italy and 1990 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Cru Classe from France as well as selections from the new world like the Francis Ford Coppola Winery in California from the acclaimed Hollywood director of The Godfather.

At the helm of Ristorante di Verona is internationally renowned chef, Alessio Loddo, bringing with him a wealth of experience including opening multiple Italian restaurants in five star hotels around the world like BiCE Ristorante of Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort and La Gritta Restaurant in Bangkok. A native of Sardinia, Chef Alessio Loddo also has extensive experience in the Philippines heading Tosca Italian Restaurant in Dusit Thani Hotel Manila, Waterfront Cebu City, Crimson Hotel Filinvest Alabang and Taal Vista Hotel in Tagaytay before joining Swissotel Clark. 

Chef Alessio Lodo draws inspiration from his roots in creating the menu for Ristorante di Verona, recreating traditional flavors using the finest ingredients for authenticity as well as infusing playful elements for a modern interpretation of classic Italian dishes. It's this weave of tradition and authenticity with inventive contemporary touches that make dining at Ristorante di Verona different and special.

At Ristorante di Verona, authenticity remains at the core of the culinary philosophy of Swissotel Clark's newest dining outlet. That means handmade pasta, the use of premium and the finest ingredients all drawn from the vast experiences of Chef Alessio Loddo. Chef Alessio Loddo's culinary team at Ristorante di Verona preps for the day's special preview... the pace slowly picks up in the spacious open kitchen. Every single detail is overseen by Chef Alessio Loddo ensuring everything is perfect. The open kitchen adds a theater-like vibe to your dining experience, allowing guests a glimpse behind the creation of each dish.

At around 11:30 am, Swissotel Clark's top management led by General Manager Tarek Aouini is joined by Chef Alessio Loddo for the ceremonial ribbon cutting at Ristorante de Verona

And with a clean snip, Ristorante di Verona revealed a taste of Italy to the invited guests at the exclusive preview. "We are overwhelmed by the continuous support that our guests and customers showed since the hotel's soft opening last 1 March, 2022. We are fascinated with the warm acceptance to the #SwissHospitality and #SwissTastes concepts from us. After three months of soft operations, and as we continue to offer unique dining experiences for our guests, we are hoping for your continuous support as we open our tenth dining outlet in the newest vibrant destination within Clark, Ristorante di Verona" shared Tarek Aouini, General Manager of Swissotel Clark.  

Inside the kitchen, the culinary team prepared the first courses and one can already see the premium ingredients used for the lavish Italian dishes at Ristorante di Verona. For Chef Alessio Loddo, there's just no compromise when it comes to the finest ingredients for authenticity. 

At Ristorante di Verona, you can indulge in their very own Balsamic Reduction for that special celebration pairing well with Italian bread. Ristorante di Verona houses a special 25-year old Balsamic Vinegar from Modena used primarily for the specialty reductions following all the rules of a long-standing century old tradition. That's as authentic as it can get.

With authenticity at the heart of the dining experience at Ristorante di Verona, Chef Alessio Loddo showcases some of his premium ingredients like the much-prized and sought-after Bottarga used for his Italian specialty dishes.  

Fresh baked crusty bread served with olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar is traditional Italian, but Chef Alessio Loddo brings his creative flair into play with flavors like Truffle and Chili to open up the palate...

Simply select your flavor and your starter is prepared by your table side...

...for that unique first bite of the Ristorante di Verona experience. The opening act in an epic feast already reflects how Ristorante di Verona is elevating Italian fine dining in the Clark Freeport Zone.  

As each dish is served, Chef Alessio Loddo explained in detail the stories behind the courses, the old-school techniques and the premium ingredients recalling fond memories from Sardinia. Both tradition and contemporary converge at Ristorante di Verona with Chef Alessio's repertoire of Italian dishes. You won't find the usual fare like the ubiquitous Carbonara or even Bolognese at Swissotel Clark's newest dining destination, but you'll see modern culinary techniques like smoke and foam adding a playful vibe to his specialty dishes.

And the feast begins. The Affetati E Formaggi Misti, Crema Di Carciofi, Pesto di Pomodoro Secco, Pate Di Olive (P 1,250) is a lavish platter with assorted charcuterie and gourmet cheeses served with Cream of Artichoke, Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and Kalamata Olive Paste. The cold cuts and cheese are great on their own but Chef Alessio goes the extra mile by adding flavorful layers with his trifecta of specialty sauces made with artichokes, tomatoes and olives that pairs well with the thin and crisp bread. Parma San Daniele, Speck or smoked prosciutto, Bresaola or air dried beef, Salami Picante and Salami Cacciatore, 36-month old Parmiggiano Reggiano and Gorgonzola. That's a full plate of pure and authentic flavors straight from Italy to your table.  

The classic pairing of prosciutto and melon is given a more elegant twist with the Prosciutto San Daniele, Melone (P 750) with premium San Daniele Ham and sweet melon for contrasting notes. But this isn't your usual prosciutto and sliced melon antipasti as Chef Alessio's team tediously juices the melon and shapes it with Tomato Jelly not only for aesthetics but for that bold burst of flavors. The San Daniele Ham delivers rich yet smoother and somewhat milder notes for that elegant finish while the sweetness of the melon completes the flavors. The use of the finest ingredients from Italy like San Daniele Ham makes this traditional antipasti a must-try at Ristorante di Verona.

The Bruschetta, Parmigiana Reggiano 36 Mesi, Pomodoro in Cassetta, Pesto Genovese (P 550) brings fresh and bold flavors to the palate with the 36-month old Parmesan and tart tomatoes packing a flavorful punch. The deceptive simplicity of the dish makes it even more special, proving once again that freshness is flavor. The sharp tartness of the tomatoes adds a vibrant layer of flavor smoothened by the Parmesan and pesto with each bite. That element of fun can be seen in the tube of pesto, which you squeeze on the bruschetta for that drizzle of nutty pesto for even more flavor.

The next course is then prepped to be romanced by fragrant smoke, reflecting some of the modern culinary techniques used in the traditional dishes and offerings at Ristorante di Verona... 

The Vitello Tonnato (P 550) with tender smoked roasted veal, tuna sauce, capers and mizuna or Japanese mustard greens is layered with the fragrant notes of smoke for comfortingly familiar yet refreshingly different flavors. The roasted veal delivers bold savory flavors complemented by the sauce, capers and fresh mustard greens for that balanced finish. But it's the addition of smoke that adds so much more character to the traditional dish. It's the creative touches like the infusion of smoke that make the nuanced flavors come alive in dishes like this. 

Even the simplest dishes are elevated when the finest ingredients are used. The Carpaccio Di Manzo, Olio Extra Vergine Di Olive IGP Toscano, Parmigiana Reggiano 36 Mesi, Salsa Cocktail (P 950) is yet another example with Black Angus MB3 Beef Tenderloin, arugula, 36-month old Parmesan cheese, IGP Toscana Extra Virgin Olive Oil and cocktail sauce. Each component of the dish brings uniquely distinct flavors coming together in a balanced and seamless blend without overpowering the other. When only the best ingredients are used, you can expect a bold burst of flavor with dishes like this at Ristorante di Verona

Back in the kitchen, Chef Alessio's team prepared the next batch of antipasti courses...

In coordinated fashion, the kitchen and staff expedite the dishes in a smooth rhythm without skipping a beat. With the clockwork precision of a Swiss watch, the movement and flow from the kitchen to the table is smooth as silk as dishes are served in a continuous pace. 

The familiar Buffala Caprese, Pomodori, Olive Taggiasche, Olio Estra Vergine Di Olive Terra Di Bari Castel Del Monte (P 800) is a plated symphony of fresh, rich and bold flavors. The smooth Buffalo Mozzarella, Taggiasche olives, Terra di Bari extra virgin olive oil and large slices of juicy tomatoes offer fresh flavors to tease the palate.

Freshness and quality of ingredients bring all the flavors in this classic dish recreated at Ristorante di Verona, from the juicy tomatoes and Buffalo Mozzarella to the extra virgin olive oil of Terra di Bari and Taggiasche olives. 

The intricate Insalata di Mele, Gorgonzola, Balsamico Di Moderna 25 Anni (P 550) is a plated masterpiece of sweetness tempered by subtle tart and salty hints. A closer look at the apple reveals the tedious process behind the creation of the dish...

...delicately peeled in one long and continuous strip and carefully rolled up again. The ornate dish feeds the eyes before the palate. A slice and a bite brings a burst of tartness and sweetness to the palate, followed by the deep notes of Gorgonzola and the smoothness of the 25-year old Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. Complex yet balanced, the tart sweetness of the apples comes through finished by the Gorgonzola and 25-year old Balsamic Vinegar. All the contrasting flavors weave rich and bold notes in a delicate blend.  

And that's just for starters. In between bites, pizza was also served to guests. Ristorante di Verona offers fourteen different pizza selections with the Pizza 4 Formaggi (P 1,200) with Bechamel sauce, Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Scamorza and Tallegio as one of my personal picks. Other pizza options at Ristorante Di Verona include the Margherita (P 850), Prosciutto E Rucola (P 800), Frutti Di Mare (P 700), Salame Picante (P 750) and Uovo E Tartufo (P 1,050). 

Next up, Chef Alessio served four of his specialty pasta dishes starting with the Cannelloni Di Magro, Pomodoro E Fonduta Di Formaggio (P 800). And no, you won't find the typical Carbonara or Bolognese in the menu just like what Chef Alessio mentioned earlier. Instead, Chef Alessio takes you deeper into the rich Italian culinary heritage with traditional dishes. A hearty dish with handmade cannelloni draped in a rich tomato and cheese sauce topped with a charred crust, the Ricotta cheese and spinach-filled pasta warms both the palate and body with its comforting flavors capped with the thick tomato sauce and cheese for the perfect finish.

Chef Alessio Loddo shares his Sardinian roots with the Malloreddus Alla CampidanesePecorino Sardo (P 560), a traditional pasta dish from Medio Campidano in South Sardinia. The uniquely shaped pasta resembling thin ribbed shells are slathered with a savory meaty ragout topped with Sardinian Pecorino. The noodles are soft yet firm, releasing intense flavors from the ragout and Pecorino with every bite. It's a nice personal touch from Chef Alessio giving diners an experience of Sardinia at Ristorante di Verona.

The Ravioli Di Zucca Con Burro, Salvia E Parmigiano Reggiano 36 Mesi (P 550) is a mildly sweet and nutty pasta dish with pumpkin made richer with browned butter, fresh sage and Parmigiana truffle. Just imagine taking a bite of the handmade ravioli and the pop of flavors from the sweet pumpkin and browned butter followed by the distinct notes of the 36-month old Parmiggiano Reggiano and fresh sage and you get the picture. Just perfect.

The Spaghetti Chitarra All'Aragosta (P 3,150) features Boston Lobster on Chitarra Spaghetti for a luxurious and lavish pasta dish. The briny sweetness of the succulent Boston Lobster adds an indulgent flair to the dish, finished by the rich notes of cheese, olive oil and fresh tomatoes. When you have premium ingredients like Boston Lobster, you don't need much to make the dish any better. 

Back at the kitchen, Chef Alessio's team fires up the next round of savory courses... the Filetto Di Branzino, Zucchine Alla Piastra, Crema Di Peperone Affumicato (P 1,150), an elegant pan-seared fillet of seabass with zucchini and smoked bell pepper cream. Masterfully executed, the buttery fillet of seabass is moist and juicy with a delicately crisp outer layer for textural contrast. The smoked bell pepper cream adds more layers of flavors to complement the mild buttery hints of the seabass.

The dish is given a modern and contemporary vibe with the addition of foam to complete both flavors and aesthetics. Just like the antipasti and pasta dishes served earlier, the use of premium ingredients is a recurring theme throughout the Ristorante di Verona dining experience. Tradition infused with modern culinary techniques combine for a refreshing and fun rediscovery of classic Italian flavors.  

The Filetto Di Manzo, Patate Al Tartufo (P 2,650) should satisfy any serious beef craving with Black Angus MB3 Australian Tenderloin paired with truffle potatoes. The premium slab of prime beef doesn't need much, it can very well stand on its own but Chef Alessio paints a colorful palette of flavors to complement the savory richness of the beef with the sauces and sides of vegetables.

The side of potatoes is elevated with the infusion of truffles with its deep nutty hints pairing well with the richness of the fork-tender beef. Perfectly grilled to medium with a juicy pink center, the Filetto Di Manzo, Patate Al Tartufo at Ristorante Di Verona is one more must-try dish for steak lovers. 

But it's the Agnello Al Forno, Crosta Di Pistachio (P 2,700) that has me planning my next visit to Ristorante di Verona. The tender and juicy lamb rack crusted with pistachios is my personal pick at Swissotel Clark's newest dining destination.

From the smoky sweetness of the grilled aubergine to the richness of the sauce, the impressive lamb rack with its outer crust of pistachios and juicy pink center delivers solid flavors down to the last satisfying bite. Chef Alessio Loddo has a wining play list at Ristorante di Verona with traditional Italian flavors updated with contemporary touches transforming fine dining to fun dining. 

Other tempting savory main courses at Ristorante di Verona include the impressive Bistecca Tomahawk Alla Grigilia Con Patate, Spinaci Al Burro E Carrote (P 12,500), Polletto Alla Diavola, Pomodori Al Limone, Crochette Di Patate (P 850) or Chicken Diavola and Cotoletta Alla Milanese, Patate Arrosto, Rucola (P 3,150) or Veal Chop Milanese.  

Chef Alessio Loddo isn't done just yet. At the kitchen, his team whips up an indulgent array of Italian desserts to cap a sumptuous feast at Ristorante di Verona including the traditional tiramisu, reimagined with a playfully inventive and modern touch. Chef Alessio breaks down the Tiramisu (P 450) with his novel reinterpretation delivering the same indulgent notes in a fresh and novel execution. And it works. 

From antipasti to savory mains and desserts, Chef Alessio Loddo shares his stories with each plate taking your palate on a culinary adventure to Italy. It's a fitting ending to a memorable dining experience at Ristorante di Verona, best paired with a freshly brewed cup of Latte. 

The decadent Mousse Di CiocolatoCrocante Di NocioleSalsa Di Lampone (P 650) is a delicate creation that's sinfully rich and lavish just the way you like your desserts. Intricately plated, the silky smooth chocolate mousse with hazelnut crocantine and raspberry salsa is pure indulgence.

The Panna Cotta Alla Vaniglia, Gelatina Di Mango E Fragole (P 350) with mango jelly and strawberries drapes the palate with a silky smooth and lavish richness. The rich notes of the panna cotta are perfectly tempered by the sweet and mildly tart hints of the fresh strawberries and mango jelly for balanced flavors. 

No authentic Italian dining experience is complete without cannoli, just like that now timeless line from Peter Clemenza. One bite and you'll gladly take the cannoli and leave the gun. The Cannoli Siciliano (P 350) with creamy ricotta, fruit candy, chocolate and pistachio in a crisp shell is exactly the way you imagine that perfect cannoli, delicately crisp on the outside and smooth and creamy inside with the luscious ricotta. 

The Crostata Di Fragole (P 400) tastes as good as it looks. The tempting strawberry tart with creamy mascarpone, fresh strawberries and strawberry salsa is one more stunner of a dessert at Ristorante di Verona. The vibrant tartness of the strawberries and strawberry salsa are smoothened by the mascarpone for the perfect sweet finish. 

Affogato? Absolutely. Chef Alessio Loddo showcases one more neat trick from the kitchen with the Gelato Allo Zabaglione Affogato (P 250) with creamy gelato and a bold espresso shot. See that tube? 

That's right. Squeeze some crema for a richer affogato experience. it's little touches like this that make any dining experience at Ristorante di Verona memorable and special.  

Complete the experience with a sip of Luxardo Limoncello (P 250) for the proper Italian ending at Ristorante di Verona.

Chef Alessio Loddo clearly has a well-thought vision for Ristorante di Verona with his curated menu of traditional Italian cuisine. His conscious decision to leave out Carbonara and Bolognese from the menu allows diners to explore even more Italian flavors and go deeper into the Italian dining experience. 

And that's what you get at Ristorante di Verona, real Italian flavors from antipasti to pasta and pizza, savory mains and desserts made with the freshest and finest ingredients for authenticity. Ristorante di Verona is a welcome addition to the fast evolving culinary scene in Central Luzon. And you'll find it right here at Swissotel Clark.

And Swissotel Clark has even more flavorful adventures to offer with nine other dining outlets. Check out the blog for posts on MARKT and Oma's Dessert Bar (more on my next post at Flavors of Swissotel Clark: Market Day at MARKT), Spice Street Eats (see my post, Flavors of Swissotel Clark: A World of Asian Flavors at Spice Street Eats), The Atrium (more on G&Ts at The Atrium on my post, Flavors of Swissotel Clark: Meet Me at The Atrium for Refreshing G&Ts) and Swiss Tropic Pool Bar (see my post, Flavors of Swissotel Clark: Chillin' at Swiss Tropic Pool Bar).

Authenticity and tradition with a pinch of contemporary flair, experience Italian fine dining with a fun twist at Ristorante di Verona with the added layer of #SwissHospitality at Swissotel Clark starting July 7, 2022. The Clark Freeport Zone is opening up with a world of possibilities and new dining experiences and if it's authentic Italian cuisine you're craving, then it's Ristorante di Verona... 

Swissotel Clark is located at Lot 2A, Lot 2B, Lot 2E1, Manuel A. Roxas Highway corner Claro M. Recto Highway, Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga or call +63 45 306 2000 for inquiries. You can also visit their website at and FB Page at for updates. 

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