Monday, February 13, 2023

#PenMoments: Classic Cuisine, Elegantly Refined and Revisited at The Peninsula Manila's Enduring Old Manila

Another chapter unfolds in the evolving story of Old Manila at The Peninsula Manila with a new Chef de Cuisine at the helm. And the long tradition of elegant fine dining spanning forty-two years and counting continues...

The Peninsula Manila marks the return of elegant fine dining at Old Manila with newly appointed Chef de Cuisine Domenico Nicolino showcasing his own innovative and elegant spin on contemporary market cuisine. Old Manila becomes the perfect stage once more for a memorable fine dining experience, adding one more lavish layer to your unforgettable #PenMoments. Read on and experience fine dining from the Peninsula perspective and create new memories with the exquisite dishes created by Chef de Cuisine Domenico Nicolino at one of the metro's finest dining destinations...  

For decades, the iconic structure on the corner of Ayala and Makati Avenues was the benchmark for elegance. That tradition remains intact, spinning even more #PenMoments since 1976. Few properties can claim a history of elegance, and The Peninsula Manila is one of those rare and true gems in the metro's constantly changing landscape.

Dining is an integral layer of any hotel experience, and fine dining with that unique Peninsula perspective shines at Old Manila (for more on Old Manila, see my previous post, A Cava Dinner with Freixenet at The Peninsula Manila's Elegant Old Manila from 2019). With its distinctive art deco inspired design and muted yet refined palette of grey, cream and black, Old Manila celebrates fine dining with a curated menu based on what's fresh on the market. Contemporary market cuisine is what diners can expect at the forty-two year old dining institution along with a refreshed and creative culinary flair with Chef de Cuisine Domenico Nicolino at the helm. 

The very first Italian to be appointed Chef de Cuisine of Old Manila, Domenico Nicolino brings his own personal style and take to contemporary market cuisine for a new chapter in the storied history of the restaurant. Armed with years of solid culinary experience from some of the best restaurants in the world, Chef de Cuisine Domenico Nicolino is a worthy successor to Old Manila's long line of esteemed chefs. And he's ready to delight your palates with an exquisite selection of masterfully executed dishes at Old Manila.

Amuse Bouche

First impressions matter. And Old Manila sets the mood the moment you step inside. Chef de Cuisine Domenico Nicolini starts our fine dining experience at Old Manila with the Amuse Bouche, an elegant trifecta with Yellowtail Tuna Carpaccio and Wasabi Yogurt topped with Seaweed Powder and Nori Cheese for a complex play on fresh, clean and vibrant notes...

...followed by a delicately crisp Honey Tuille with Goat Cheese Mousse and Sultan Wine Jam...

...and the succulent Gallagher Oyster from Ireland topped with Ossetra Caviar drizzled with Dill Oil and fresh Cucumber cured and cooked in sake, Compressed Apples and Champagne Granita. Right off the bat with his meticulous trio of tasty bites, Chef de Cuisine Domenico Nicolino sets the tone on a par with Old Manila's stellar culinary reputation. 

Foie Gras Parfait

The indulgent Foie Gras Parfait with Pear, Muscat Gel and Almond Nougatine is an elegantly plated course offering a deep savory richness from the foie gras as it melts in your mouth releasing even more intense notes lingering long on the palate. The contrasting sweetness from the pears cuts through the richness of the foie gras for that balanced finish while the textural play from the almond nougatine and honey tuille completes the course. 

Home-Cured Tasmanian Salmon 

Freshness is flavor, and the Home-Cured Tasmanian Salmon with Crème Fraîche d'Isigny, Lemon Confit, Nori and Sake-Marinated Salmon Roe is a clear presentation and execution of the contemporary market cuisine philosophy. Each bite delivers flavorful bursts of rich briny sweetness with a butter-like finish from the premium Tasmanian salmon followed by pops of flavor from the lemon confit, nori and sake-marinated salmon roe. The contrasting layers of flavors are smoothened and tied seamlessly together by the Crème Fraîche d'Isigny for that elegant finish. 

In between bites, enjoy fresh baked bread with Old Manila's specialty butter made with olives, capers and anchovies. It's the little touches like this that define your fine dining experience at Old Manila.

Black Truffle and Wild Mushroom Agnolotti

Chef de Cuisine Domenico Nicolino draws inspiration from his roots for the next course with the comforting Black Truffle and Wild Mushroom Agnolotti with Demi-Glace and Parmesan Foam, a hearty and rustic dish made more indulgent with the deep, earthy and nutty hints of black truffle and wild mushrooms. Almost similar to ravioli but much thinner, the agnolotti is a stuffed flattened pasta folded over a savory filling. Chef de Cuisine Domenico Nicolino masterfully weaves the different components together for a satisfying pasta dish that's both comfortingly familiar yet refreshingly new and indulgent in the sophisticated culinary style of Old Manila

The bold hints of black truffle and wild mushrooms punches through with each bite made even richer by the savory and buttery demi-glace sauce punctuated by the subtle sharpness of the Parmesan foam. But it's the hand-made agnolotti that's clearly the star of the dish with its pillow-soft and mildly chewy finish that will have you going for another bite. And another. 

Seared Mediterranean Sea Bass

For the mains, Chef de Cuisine Domenico Nicolino served a duo of seafood dishes starting with the Seared Mediterranean Sea Bass with Cuttlefish, Bagna Cauda and Champagne Foam. The bagna cauda, a traditional sauce from Italy's Piedmont region, becomes the flavorful base for the dish with its rich garlic notes and hints of anchovies. The delicately seared sea bass just melts in your mouth with its fresh and clean flavors complemented by the champagne foam for an elegant finish. 

Pan-Seared Turbot

The Pan-Seared Turbot with Razor Clams, White Asparagus and Dashi Beurre Blanc topped with fish roe is yet another must-try dish by Chef de Cuisine Dominico Nicolino at Old Manila. The day's fresh and premium catch is intricately prepared with both modern and traditional culinary techniques delivering bold yet clean flavors. 

The best ingredients and masterful execution combine for a memorable dining experience at Old Manila, continuing a story that began forty-two years ago. But Chef de Cuisine Dominico Nicolino isn't done just yet, with dessert up next...

Lime Basil and Strawberry

The Lime Basil and Strawberry with Sorbet, Berries Gel and Lemon Crumble is a playfully inventive creation of berries and herbs for that perfect ending at Old Manila...

Chocolate and Raspberry

...while the Chocolate and Raspberry with Fondant, Ganache and Coulis adds that final emphatic touch to fine dining with the lavish Peninsula perspective reinterpreted by new Chef de Cuisine Dominico Nicolino. The stellar culinary reputation of Old Manila is in good and very able hands under the helm of its newest top chef.  

Classic, enduring, timeless. Changing times and the transition to the new normal have not diminished the fine dining reputation of Old Manila as it continues to shine under Chef de Cuisine Dominico Nicolino, spinning new stories for a new flavorful chapter of #PenMoments at The Peninsula Manila.

Experience a lavish contemporary market cuisine experience masterfully executed by Chef de Cuisine Domenico Nicolino at Old Manila every Tuesday to Friday from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm for Lunch and 6:30 pm to 11:00 pm for Dinner (including Saturdays for Dinner service only) and revisit memorable fine dining encounters with the Peninsula perspective (for reservations, see contact details and links below).    

After a sumptuous lunch at Old Manila, stay a while for a tipple at The Gallery Club...

...with a handcrafted cocktail at The Gallery Club to complete your #PenMoments (more on The Gallery Club on my next post, #PenMoments: An Old-Fashioned with a View at The Gallery Club of The Peninsula Manila). Fine dining is back. At Old Manila in The Peninsula Manila.

Old Manila is located at the Lobby Level of The Peninsula Manila, Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue, 1226 Makati City or call 632 8887 2888 extension 6694 for inquiries and reservations. You can also visit their FB Page at for more updates.

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