We returned to The Lighthouse Marina Resort after our glorious and invigorating Sunset Yacht Cruise. It was nearly 7:00pm and just in time for dinner. I took a quick shower in our Aqua Terrace room which was our home for the two night stay.
The Sands Resto Grill is located on the ground level in between the lighthouse tower and the hotel’s front desk foyer. We stepped in the restaurant still energised from the day sailing and hungry from the sea air.
The roomy dining area was well lit, and thankfully lovely and cool!
A friendly member of staff led us to our seat. We noticed there was a singer setting up to perform. We were very pleased when we found we had been seated at the perfect table to enjoy the entertainment and a chef cooking some of the more spectacular dishes.
The staff happily announced they have a new executive chef. We were in for a treat! We were to be sampling dishes from the soon to be released “new menu.”
“Our new chef, Chef Mario, prepares Mediterranean and Filipino food!”, the staff enthused.
A variety of drinks were served first. The Lighthouse Iced Tea was a mix of juice from cranberry, lemon, orange, Nestea and grenadine.
Two freshly blended fruit shake were also served – watermelon and yellow mango from the local produce. So refreshing, just what was needed!
Complimentary warm bread which had been baked in-house and served with unsalted butter was brought to the table first.
In came the Mediterranean Soup. The soup was warm and calming. It had a selection of fresh, succulent seafood, tomatoes and asparagus. This was a real winner!
“Kaldereta” is a popular Philippine dish that is traditionally goat or beef stew made with tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, chilli and spices.
Chef had created a modern twist of this Filipino classic. The dish was served as a deconstructed Kaldereta. It consisted of beef tongue croquettes topped with Kaldereta sauce, green bell pepper sauce and togarashi.
I was compelled to shut my eyes while munching on the croquettes. It certainly didn’t look like kaldereta but was unbelievably convincing from the tip of my tongue down to the first burp (if you’ll excuse me!) that it was indeed what it claimed to be. This dish levelled up in texture and flavour. It was the star of the night!
I always enjoy a salad of greens with some vinaigrette dressing with my meal. I was so pleased when a Fattoush salad was served.
Another Filipino soup that was served was Chicken Binakol. This again had a modern take on the serving style. The fresh ingredients being the sliced chicken, mini scoops of yellow papaya, chayote, lemon grass and strips of coconut had all been elegantly placed in the serving bowl. Then the hot soup made with coconut water, garlic, onion and ginger was slowly poured over the dish.
Beautiful! With each spoonful, my mouth enjoyed a union of natural sweetness of the main ingredients, plus the mild homely flavours of the soup.
We were enjoying the duo sing so I had to request Jobim’s “Waters of March” which the two sang together beautifully.
We were further entertained by the cooking stunts of one of the chefs. Such a fun and delicious time we were having. Dinner and a show!
One of the two main dishes presented was the Mediterranean Chicken Kebab. The chicken pieces were so juicy and tender. Yum, too delicious! It was served with rice, fries and pita.
Regular readers of Gourmet Getaways are familiar with our first Filipino dish, Oxtail Kare-Kare, created by no other than Miss GG herself. The restaurant showcased their own version – Bagnet Kare-Kare.
Bagnet is crispy pork belly that originated in a region in the Philippines called Ilocos.
The chef used bagoong (shrimp paste) rice, the usual kare-kare veggies and bagnet. Served separately are the peanut sauce, a Filipino side called atsara and additional bagoong.
Yes, Julie. You read it right – crispy pork belly that was deep fried into perfection the Ilocos way. Forgive me for indulging but I did think of you in every mouthful (*winks)!
Chef Mario walked to our table for a little confab over the kare-kare. His special secret peanut sauce was to blame for the minuscule tummy room left for dessert.
Speaking of dessert, here come the sweets!
Like the bread, their frozen yoghurt for the Tiropita is also made in-house. It had a refreshing tartness and was mixed with berries that made the perfect end to my meal.
Thankfully my partner had a little more space for the Mango Halo-Halo Turon.
We were pleased to have savoured the distinct goodness of both cuisines. The next morning I still had musings of the croquettes, the soups, the bagnet and the desserts!
Sands Resto Grill is open every day from 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM with nightly entertainment from 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM and is located at the Lighthouse Marina Resort.Gourmet Getaways dined as guests of Sands Resto Grill.