Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Modern Sichuan (The Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City)

Full disclosure: the dinner I am about to describe was comped by the owner of the restaurant, who happens to be a long-time friend. We were not invited to dinner, but I had heard good things about the restaurant (I am a die-hard fan of its sister restaurant, Modern China at Glorietta, and its Sesame Fried Chicken), and decided to book a table for our mini-reunion of Rep old-timers. When we got to the restaurant, we were told that the owner had reserved a special room for us (I'm sure in anticipation of the noise that we were going to be making - an expected behavior from theater people). We had ordered stuff on our own, but when we got to the room, we were told that the owner had ordered for us. Soon he arrived, and it was good having him around because it took the guess work out of the ordering.

"Sampay" Novel way to serve a cold appetizer
If I am asked what my favorite cuisine is, I invariably answer Chinese and Filipino. Naturally. Modern Sichuan has a lot of good new stuff, starting with sampay, a cold appetizer of thinly-sliced pork belly and cucumber, hung (hence the moniker) from a bamboo serving dish with a spicy dipping sauce. Another winner was the Uni Fried Rice, my first time to try uni cooked instead of served raw. This was really, really, really good. I can't wait to go to Modern Sichuan again to pair this with the Sesame Fried Chicken (a bonus at this restaurant: they Modern China menu is also available here).
The evening's champion: sweet potato au gratin
By meal's end, we were really, really stuffed but the owner brought in two desserts: the avocado sago and a dessert that will remain in my dreams for the rest of my days: the sweet potato au gratin. Sounds un-Chinese, but the owner swears this is a Sichuan dish. My best guess as to how this dish is prepared: the side of the sweet potato is lopped off, its flesh scooped out and mashed with condensed milk, then reunited with the shell, and baked with a cheese topping. I thought I couldn't finish mine, but I did. I even ate (some) of the potato skin. It was that good.
A close second to the au gratin: uni fried rice

A very simple and fresh vegetarian soup: just spinach and chicken broth
By the way, I have had other meals that were comped but I did not write about them because I did want to seem ungrateful for someone's hospitality. I have written good and bad things about meals that I have paid for, good things for meals that I have been treated to, but never good things about bad meals that I was treated to, or bad things about bad meals that I did not have to pay for. I wonder if I expressed my philosophy correctly?

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