After coming back from Hong Kong, I found myself craving for some Roast Goose. It occurred to me that even with the abundance of Chinese restaurants in our country, satisfying my Roast Goose hunger was not exactly an easy task. It all changed when I saw that Man Ho was opening in the new Marriott West Wing.
Man Ho (萬豪) is the literal Chinese translation for Marriott. Bringing the flavors of Man Ho in Manila is none other than Chef Chef Law Wui Wing, a Hong Kong native who has been cooking since he was 15. He has been an executive Chinese chef in several of Marriott’s signature restaurants in China (the Man Ho in JW Marriott Hotel in Shanghai, the Pearl Restaurant in Beijing Marriott Hotel City Wall and the Four Seasons Restaurant in Marriott China Hotel in Guangzhou). He also spent time in Japan which can be seen in some of the Japanese inspired Cantonese dishes. Chef Law assures us that there is no MSG in the food he serves. He prides himself in the best ingredients, which is why he imports only from the best places if it cannot be found here in Manila (an example would be the signature Roast Goose). A fan of casual conversations with guests, he makes sure that they are happy so that he can be happy in return. He prides himself in the quality and being honest in the food he serves.
I was fortunate enough to get invited to the tasting preview before the restaurant officially opened its doors on the 29th of November 2016 at 6pm. Upon arriving in Man Ho, you can distinctly notice the high ceiling and wonderful hand embroidered mural on the wall.
The restaurant can accommodate 140 seats with 6 private dining areas (2 can be combined for a bigger function) named after certain dynasties in China such as the Han, Ming, Tang, and Jin. Man Ho gives importance to every aspect of the dining experience.
For our starting appetizers, we were served with Japanese Cucumber, Smoked Pompano, and Vegetable Salad with Sesame Dressing. These dishes were fresh, simple and refreshing which brought out the natural flavors of the vegetables as well as the fish.
Chef Law brought with him Du Wen Bo, a dim sum trained chef who previously worked with Chef Law in Beijing Marriott Hotel City Wall. It is no surprise that the dim sum prepared for us was simply amazing since it is cooked upon request. We were offered three specialties; the Siao Mai, the Steamed Chicken Feet, and the Har Gao. I found the Steamed Chicken Feet to be tender and tasty, easily edible. The Har Gao was also worth noting since it was packed with shrimp. Dim sum is only available during lunch time.
It was then time for the main event. I really did not expect Roast Goose “Hong Kong Style” to be in the menu since this was a first in Manila. The goose is imported from Hong Kong, stuffed with Chinese herbs and fan dried for 10 hours before being placed in the oven. With so much effort placed into his masterpiece, it’s no surprise that the crispy tender juicy roasted goose will linger in your thoughts even after a few days.
After the appetizers and the dim sum, we were served Seafood Soup with Tofu and Caviar. The array of seafood in the broth was very filling and delightful. The richness in the flavor was complimented by the caviar and balanced out by the delicately cooked tofu.
Your average person would probably be stuffed by now but since I have a foodie’s tummy, I wanted more. Another specialty of Man Ho Manila is the Beef Tenderloin with Bell Pepper in Black Pepper Sauce. The beef is juicy and tender which compliments the mushrooms very well.
Since Chef Law prides himself in the quality of his ingredients, he gave us a taste of the Poached Boneless Wild Pink Garoupa with Pumpkin Sauce. The fish meat is fresh and succulent, with the natural flavor brought out and complemented by the light pumpkin broth.
Chef Law makes simple quality dishes as seen in the Asparagus with Fresh Crab Meat Sauce. It was a surprise to me that the sauce had actual chucks of crab in it. Some of the lucky ones even had crab fat in it. Cooked perfectly, the asparagus just had the right crunch.
As with traditional Chinese restaurants, the rice is served last to satisfy any hunger left. We had the Fried Rice with Beef and Egg White. It has enough elements to be eaten alone but consuming it with the other dishes would be highly recommended.
We ended our meal with the Western Dessert Combination. It is Jasmine tea lava cake with soy chocolate gelato. The description alone will make your mouth water. Tasting it makes a perfect ending to a wonderful meal. If you would like a more traditional dessert, there is the Steamed Custard Buns with Egg Yolk and the Sweetened Almond Cream with Egg White.
They had me at Roasted Goose and it seems I will have no choice but to go back for more. With so much to offer, it’s safe to say that Man Ho Manila will definitely be a contender in the Chinese restaurant industry as well as in the Chinese Banquet scene.
Man Ho is located at the new West Wing of Marriott Hotel Manila, No. 10 Newport Boulevard, Newport City Complex, Pasay City, Metro Manila. Reservations are recommended. Call (632) 988-9999.
Contributed by Lawrence Ong