By Michael Karlo Lim
I’M ALL for elevated dining and have been to many that focus on heightened sensory experiences. Dinner In The Sky was elevation and height, alright! It’s not every day that one has to sign a waiver to have dinner. It’s not every day that one is strapped on a seat attached to a platform dangling from a crane 150 feet up in the air either.
I was booked on the 5:30 PM Manila Sunset Session that promised front row seats to the sun sinking into Manila Bay. Another option would be the 7 p.m. City Lights “flight.” Six-point seatbelts strapping us to our seats and the ultra smooth ascent allowed the weight of the waiver and some anxiety to fall away with the ground as we rose to a twelve-story height. The questionable playlist of club music proved a welcome distraction to the strong winds testing my hair product’s hold and slightly rocking the platform.
The highly entertaining Chef Hylton Le Roux of Solaire’s Waterside restaurant had a South American-inspired four-courser prepared, kicking off with a Tuna Tiradito. The subtle flavor of the thinly-sliced, fresh tuna is highlighted by the creamy and spicy Ají Amarillo. Crisp, lightly sweet, sour and gingery lime-pickled red radishes livened up the dish with Cassava Crunch adding texture.
Traditionally using beef hearts, Le Roux opts for the universal chicken in his Anticuchos. Sweet, sour and spicy again come into play in the Tamarind-Habanero glaze on the nugget pieces. Silky Mojo Verde grounds it with some earthy herbiness with a mild earthiness from baby beetroot. Cancha corn brings in crispy, nutty starch.
At this point, we were all entirely settled in and comfortable with looking down from our perch. We were all oohs and aahs at the sky glowing orange when the buffeting winds dusted the diners on our side with crushed chicharrones from the centrally-located prep as a teaser for the mains.
There was the choice of Mexican adobo spice Atlantic salmon with red quinoa, edamame, huancaina cream and chili corn salsa but I went for the Cuban-style, slow-cooked Pork Belly. Succulent, garlicky and melt-in-your-mouth meat under a crispy, crumbly crust of the house chicharrones.
Mojo sauce cuts into the richness with tartness and pungent bite along with the earthy base flavor. Baby carrots caramelized with agave in the roast is a nice contrast to the spicy refried beans.
Dessert was served DIY with a Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Dome and shot glasses with caramel popcorn, meringue, chocolate earth, chocolate crunch, meringues and pipettes of chocolate sauce and dulce de leche. “To get the creative juices flowing! Also, because we’re a bit lazy,” Le Roux joked. With it was the prize of a free cocktail at Waterside restaurant for the best plating. You’d never guess who won.
Fasten your seatbelts and enjoy this one-of-a-kind dining experience named as one of the world’s 10 “Unusual Restaurants” by Forbes in 2006. Dinner In The Sky Philippines features dishes by chefs from Solaire Resort and Casino’s restaurants: Chef Hylton Le Roux of Waterside (April 2 to 8), Chef Alan Marchetti of Finestra (April 9 to 15), Chef Norimasa of Yakumi on April 16 to 23. Chef Kenneth Cacho takes the reigns on April 24 to May 7; and, finally, Belgian celebrity chef Yves Mattagne on May 8 to 21. For more information, go to www. dinnerinthesky.ph or www.solaireresort.com.