I was excited when Zomato invited me to Canton Road, Shangri-La at the Fort’s Chinese fine dining restaurant. It had an amazing interior with intricate, luxurious-yet-trendy details. There were also a lot private dining rooms with couches, dedicated servers and their own washrooms. To add to the level of sophistication, the music was in Chinese but rotated between American 30’s and French 40’s. Truly a 1st class experience!
While waiting for the other guests, we had some of the Cashew Baked with Parmesan Cheese and Basil. #deeznuts are the bomb!
Teas, Cocktails, and Mocktails
To further whet our appetite, we were each served a Welcome Drink, a chilled tea containing extracts from Dried Plum (Kiam mui/Kiamoy), Wolf berry (Goji Berry) and Chinese Hawthorn Fruit. I figured that the complex and unique creation was the work of none other than Shangri-La at the Fort’s Head Mixologist Ulysse Jouanneaud whom I first encountered at the High Street Lounge. Interest piqued, I anticipated the other cocktails and mocktails to come.
True enough, he had prepared the Wild Blossom for us, a Jasmine Tea-based cocktail with Boodles Gin, lime, calamansi juice and egg white froth. In the middle of the meal, the Smokey Cha was served to cleanse the palate. It had a very smooth finish. The smokiness comes from the Basil, Ginger and Lapsang Souchong (black tea). At the end of the meal, we had the Canton Garden, made up of 5 things: Rosebud, Wild Chrysanthemum, Golden Osmanthus, Syut Guk–handpicked from the mountains of Tibet–and Genuine White Tea Leaf (Sau Mei)–has silvery buds and supposedly grants longevity.
Canton Road’s teas are sourced from Ming Cha, an award-winning tea brand in Hong Kong founded by Tea Master Vivian Mak (a.k.a. The Walking Encyclopedia of Tea). Ming Cha tea is sold in Manila exclusively by Shangril-La at the Fort.
Once the Foodies of the Round Table were complete, the food-tasting began. Canton Road serves both traditional and modern Chinese cuisine, housing 5 master chefs from different parts of China. An expert in his field, each chef came out to introduce what he had prepared for us. Thankfully, the Executive Chinese Chef Wang Wei Qing could speak English and translate. #nosebleed
We started off with the Huaiyang-style cold cuts by Head Huaiyang Chef Luke Shen Gang, like the Jiangyan Sweet Sour Pork Ribs. Sourced locally, the pork was aged for 6 months, marinated with Huadiao wine, slowly stewed with rock sugar until golden, and then glazed with a ketchup and black vinegar sauce.
We also had the Shaoxing Free Range Chicken (tasted like the white Chicken Feet but looked like Hainanese Chicken), and the Pickled White Radish marinated in aged white vinegar. (Didn’t get to take pictures. 🙁 )
We moved on to the hot appetizers by Head Barbecue Chef Zhu Jin Xuan. The Flame Barbecue Trio Sampler may seem like a common Chinese banquet platter, but with not-so-common ingredients and a quality that exceeded even my standards! It contained some Iberico Char Siew, Macau-style Crispy Pork Belly, Roasted Peking Duck and Sichuan Jelly Fish. They were all very tasty and had this certain bango that seeped into the core.
Next, Head Chopper Chef Robin Dong Hua came in to do a demonstration of how tofu is sliced into strings. This unique tofu-cutting skill took 15 years to master! The manner by which the tofu was cut was super delicate and precise. Imagine having to maintain a consistent thickness and length without having to break the strings!
After the demonstration, we were each given a bowl of Soft Bean Curd Soup with Yunnan Ham. Often mistaken as misua, the tofu strings are placed in the soup along with Yunnan ham, scallops, and spring onion. There’s a certain belief that eating more strings prolongs one’s life.
The main course comprised of a dim sum feast prepared by Head Dim Sum Chef Lin Zong Jin. First up was the Mingnam Five Spice Marinated Pork or kikiam wrapped like a candy with dried bean curd sheet. It tastes as good as it looks!
Next, we had the Steamed Crystal Skin Shrimps Dumpling or hakaw with flying fish roe, and the Steamed Iberico Pork Dumpling with Abalone and Black Truffle or siomai. They were definitely of superior quality.
There was also a Pumpkin Puff with Black Truffle Chicken just like they have in Hong Kong, but I failed to take a photo of it.
We ended the meal with some sweet dim sum. The first was the Steamed Hong Kong Custard and Salted Duck Egg Bun or panda bun. I generally love salted duck egg buns! ‘Nuff said!
We were also served the Mango Pudding with Baked Swan Taro Puff and Seasonal Fruits. I’m a really big fan of the taro puff for its intricate layers of flaky puff pastry and its finely pureed taro!
Overall amazing ambiance, service and food, Canton Road is now easily one of the best Chinese restaurants in Metro Manila! I would highly recommend this to the Filipino-Chinese community and Chinese food-lovers!
Location: 3/F Shangri-La at the Fort, 30th Street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Operating Hours: 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM and 6 PM to 10:30 PM
Contact Number: (+63 2) 820-0888