There is the element of surprise that makes food sampling exciting. This works well for hotels that have not fully opened their kitchen. They want to have their food critiqued for them to improve on the elements. This kitchen should open pronto because they have a wonderful blend of textures to go with each dish at the Aura One Hotel.
Appetizers came in three kinds to start the food feast.
Chicken karage is almost like a salad with a base of shredded cabbage, a mayo dip, and a slice of lemon to zest the meat. Rolled in a light batter and deep fried the chicken breast is tender inside and crunchy on the outside. The sweet Japanese mayonnaise dip and the lemon juice make the bite of chicken perfect with wine. Otherwise, it is enough to fill the wait for the salad.
The truffle cream fries were delightful. The chewy market potatoes were perfect with drizzled truffle flakes.
The bagnet chips were unusual because these were in long strips. Also dipped in batter and fried, these are not the oily and crispy versions but long and tender versions. These have a vinegar dip that is fermented with onions, chili, leeks, and soy.
Marinated chicken Oriental Salad looks like a pasta dish on sight. The wanton noodles cut in strips were fried like chips. The romaine lettuce and orange slices with small chunks of chicken drizzled with sesame vinaigrette dressing were truly Asian flavors in the salad. This is one salad that you will consume to the last sesame seed or cheese sliver.
The cream of tomato soup with multigrain bread is made with market tomatoes. Pleasantly thick and creamy, the soup-soaked multigrain bread adds texture to the soup. If one tested this soup blindfolded, one would say it was cream of mushroom. The cheese flakes give it an added salty perk.
For the main course, the crunchy fish fillet in pineapple salsa with buttered vegetables and mashed potato was perfect. The cream dory fish fillet rolled in flour that was fried was truly crunchy. This was unlike the other preparations of cream dory that turn mushy, the pineapple salsa on the side was like a light pickle that heightened the flavor of the fish.
Finely chopped with tomatoes and onions, the pineapple pairs this dish a mildly sweet juice. The buttered vegetables were just enough to clean the palate to enjoy the other flavors a little more.
But I enjoyed the mashed potatoes the best. Unlike the fluffy texture of the American type, this was the Buguias version that has a high-water content that makes it dense. The natural flavors of the harvest from the Benguet mountains never tasted so good.
The roasted honey garlic pork loin was tender and just the right size to complete the meal. The lean part of the pork with rice and buttered vegetables are perfect together. Sweet and salty gravy balances the soft textures of all the elements in the plate.
Fresh fruits in light syrup were derived from the market too. Strawberries, watermelon, and grapes with the syrup for fruits preserved their freshness and the sprig of mint does magic to the palate.
This complete course meal will be available soon and many more to combine the flavors that are exciting to eat.
I must confess that I like crunchy and sweet textures in meals the most, and this hotel is my type of gastronomic experience.
This sampling of different courses at Aura One Hotel will complement all the other types of food served in the city. The difference is that most ingredients are sourced from the market and the kitchen has no particular specialty to boast about but has gathered the best parts of Asian cuisines.