Food for Functions: The Renaissance Hotel – Makati

It’s a cliche that the food served for corporate functions tends to be more than a little insipid or, worse, bland. The lucky part about being in the Philippines in this particular case means that the food served for a seminar, workshop, or posher-than-words trade conference will be neither of the two. Indeed, the food served for functions here is actually both good and interesting.

Our company recently hosted a conference at the Renaissance Hotel (formerly known as the New World Renaissance) in Makati and this meant a heavy tea break for 150 people at four and cocktails for the same number of people at six. So, of course, there was the question of what to feed the crowd. As shown above, we went all out and gave them a proper spread

I wasn’t able to snap a pic of the tea break spread, but it was a relatively good one: beef and chicken satay accompanied by a peanut dip, vegetable spring rolls with spiced vinegar, and penne au gratin.

The beef satay was deliciously tender and succulent; the fact that it was cooked medium rare helped and the solid flavor went harmoniously with the peanut dip which was, surprisingly, more savory than sweet. Alas, the chicken wasn’t as good as it was dry and tough.

The spring rolls and the pasta were, in my honest opinion, average; nothing spectacular about either the flavor or the presentation.

As seen on the plate shown above, the cocktail buffet held quite an assortment of tidbits. Clockwise from the top: toast rounds with a vegetable terrine, tuna tataki with sun-dried tomato and French beans in pastry, smoked salmon and cream cheese on buttered toast, suppli al telefono, pork siu mai, asparagus spears wrapped in proscuitto, and herbed lapu-lapu fillet bites. Not shown but also included were chicken drumettes and beef siu mai.

The vegetable terrine on toast was interesting, but not interesting enough to warrant seconds. The tuna tart, on the other hand, had a pissaladiere vibe to it and was one of the more popular nibbles. The smoked salmon canape was, of course, a classic taste while the bold, fresh asparagus went strikingly well with the smoky-tasting prosciutto. The pork siu mai was better received by most of the guests than the beef and the chicken drumettes disappeared rapidly from the table. I was expecting the suppli (risotto croquettes with mozzarella cheese) to be crisp on the outside and stringily chewy within, but was sorely disappointed by the stodgy, lukewarm logs that came our way.

Still, it was a successful function – and I daresay the food played a major part in its success.