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Eastwood Cafe + Bar: Cozy, Chic and Chill.

Eastwood Cafe+Bar (EC+B), the all-day dining restaurant of Eastwood Richmonde Hotel, is both chic and cozy. 'Being a restobar that is open from the break of day to late in the evening, we have to work extra hard to cater to the different cravings of diners,' declares Chef Victor 'Vic' Barangan, the hotel's executive chef. 'This is where we serve breakfast buffet, a la carte lunch and dinner, and late-night drinks and bar chow.'

There's definitely a standard that EC+B has to live up to in keeping with the brand image of the hotel, and Chef Vic proudly states that he and his team of 40 skilled chefs are more than able to rise to this challenge. 'Our aim is to consistently serve quality food. So when it comes to ingredients, we only use those that are fresh and of high quality.'

While most hotel chefs are generally well-versed in the classics of continental cuisine, Chef Vic would like to take this knowledge a step further by also elevating Filipino cuisine and bringing attention to indigenous ingredients. This personal advocacy also coincides with the thrust of Richmonde to celebrate Filipino culture, being a home-grown brand with an all-Filipino staff. 'The hotel's goal is to highlight local dishes or local ingredients,' explains Chef Vic, which is also in keeping with the growing locavore ethos of gourmands all over the world. 'When you say Filipino cuisine, foreigners are usually skeptical because it is unfamiliar to them,' Chef Vic admits. 'I want to help promote the taste and flavors of Filipino food until our cuisine becomes popular worldwide. Some of the best cooks in the world are Filipinos anyway.'

For the months of September, October and November, Chef Vic has come up with the Chef's Specials for EC+B that are internationally inspired, with his signature local twist. Consisting of bread, soup, salad, entree choices and dessert, the Chef's Specials are basically continental dishes that use a lot of local ingredients. Organic chicken from Abra is cooked a la kiev with salted egg butter; parrot fish is filleted and complemented with tamarind, cilantro, jicama and Zambales mangoes; Australian lamb shank is prepared adobar-style; and US short ribs is braised with Mount Apo coffee. Artisan bread with a side of anchovy butter and tomato jam; consomme broth with adlai, chicken and mushrooms (Tortellini Royale); and compressed watermelon salad are the starters that come free with your choice of main dish. The dessert, which completes the meal set, is an indulgent one with a melange of pistachio bark, spiced walnut, cured egg yolk, basil oil, coral sponge and cream cheese.

As Chef Vic and his team work on adding more exciting dishes to EC+B's menu offerings, the restaurant's signature items remain all-time favorites of its patrons. Richmonde's signature ensaymada, chocolate cake and bibingka have all been included in a popular 'best desserts' compilation. Chef Vic adds, 'Our chicken inasal is also a best-seller. I think the team was able to perfect the recipe so that it tastes authentic.'

Guests' expectations on their dining experience are ever evolving and constantly developing. Chef Vic shares, 'This is why we at the kitchen should always keep up. My philosophy at work is to be like a watch-be on time, be up to date and keep moving!'

With the assortment of food fare available at EC+B, the restobar's stylish yet relaxing ambience, and first-rate service, it is perfect for casual meetings or a quiet afternoon break, celebrations with family and friends, and even your regular after-office chill-out with colleagues. It operates daily from 6 a.m. to 12 m.n. Breakfast buffet is served from 6 to 10 a.m. every day, and the pastry counter is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Sep 15, 2018
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