Grand Hyatt Manila officially launched Merienda Cena — a splendid and indulgent spread of British afternoon tea in the metro with a Filipino twist. This is an invitation to take catch-ups, tete-a-tetes and intimate gathering to luxurious heights with premium teas, coffees and rosés paired with delectable savories and sweets served — get this — buffet style.
To give the beloved English tradition that Pinoy twist, Grand Hyatt Manila's creative culinary team headed by executive chef Mark Hagan, French pastry chef Nicolas Vergnole, together with local sous chef Cid Lapena crafted an extensive menu showcasing native delicacies made in locally-sourced ingredients.
The unique yet delicious open-faced sandwiches comprise of lechon sisig with confit egg and liver pâté, fresh prawn with calamansi mayonnaise, beef salpicao with garlic purée and potato strings, and pickled milk fish with beetroot, sour cream horseradish and atchara.
One can always expect to find traditional homemade scones served with fruit preserves and clotted cream. To accompany the sandwiches and scones, the spread highlights its baked brie pithivier and seafood cocktails including tuna ceviche in spiced vinegar, chili, red onion, with crushed pork crackling, and shrimp cocktail mixed in marie rose sauce, lemon, iceberg lettuce and tabasco.
The collection of desserts also include well-loved signature cakes — mixed berry shortcake roulade, strawberry cheesecake, mocha hazelnut, almond Florentine cake, mango tart, and lime cream. Adding to the unique concept, diners can also enjoy the live station which serves banana foster, a flambé with Don Papa rum and French toast homemade crème Chantilly, as well as the luscious mango sans rival espuma.
According to Hagan, the culinary team decided to offer afternoon teas buffet-style so that guests can enjoy them at their own pace.
"Usually when you get your high tea stands, they put it on the table but in an hour later, the hot ones are getting cold and what's cold is getting warm. So this allows you to get everything in the perfect temperature as you want it in your own time," Hagan shared during the launch.
"It's more on taking your savory items first, enjoying them, and then come back up to try your sweets and everything is served to you at a proper temperature instead of it sitting at the table for more than an hour. Just ask for refill of tea throughout the course of the day. A crisp rosé is also very refreshing. They can have two or three more glasses without breaking the bank. We wanted everything to match," he continued.
Setting the scene, Merienda Cena will take place in the hotel's richly decorated The Lounge and stylish interiors featuring its iconic crystal chandeliers, glittering pillars, and glass staircase inspired by the Banaue Rice Terraces. The hotel further elevates the dining experience with a relaxing live entertainment — a dramatic piano and guitar duo in the background.
"Everything must be Filipino because the Philippines is our market," Hagan pointed out.
"You cannot probably have high tea without desserts and sandwiches but how do you make it into Filipino? So we created this menu that is proudly Filipino. So you get the link of the Banaue Rice Terraces, the talent of the Philippines playing the guitars and the whole atmosphere in The Lounge, the food and match with rosé wines and beautiful teas. You can keep going back for more," he added.
Merienda Cena is available every Friday to Sunday, from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., for P1,500 per person and P1,950 for guests who opt to add free-flowing rosé.