Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fly me to the Moon: Astralis by Diamond Hotel

"Fly me to the moon, and let me play among the stars. Let me see what spring is like on a - Jupiter and Mars..." - lines from a classic Frank Sinatra song that greatly defines one of the previous gastronomical experiences that I've had - so good it was like a flight to the astral bodies and back! I am talking about a restaurant called Astralis, located at the Rockwell Strip in Powerplant Mall, Makati. Managed by the Diamond Hotel Group, this restaurant will surely entice you with its cozy and sophisticated ambiance aside from their high-quality continental dishes and excellent service.

It was truly a night to remember and let me start to share it with their delicious appetizer - Pan Fried Chicken Quesadilla with Salsa, Guacamole and Sour Cream. This platter is such a big hit, with its fine, cheesy goodness combined with the perfectly toasted pita bread and an array of fantastic flavors from the three different dips, everyone can have their own way of eating it and will surely be craving for more after every bite.

Pan Fried Chicken Quesadilla with Salsa, Guacamole and Sour Cream

I grew up loving soups of different kinds, I can still recall those moments that just by mere having a good bowl of creamy chicken soup, I was able to recover from an illness; so the moment I was asked what to have next for the appetizer, I've decided to try their best selling soups: the Double-baked Mushroom Soup and the Lobster Bisque. The first one was my personal choice, and lucky enough my dear friend, Yedy, had the latter, that way we can taste both types. The Double-baked Mushroom Soup was warm, rich and tasty and unlike the usual mushroom soups that I've tried, this one tasted really creamy without that powdery and milky taste. By having a spoonful of it makes me really smile, seems like its perfect consistency combined with bits of mushroom and some of the croutons had really made its way into my heart.

Double-baked Mushroom Soup

The Lobster Bisque had the most amazing sea flavors I've tasted. The lobster-like taste is very dominant in this smooth and highly-seasoned soup, strong yet very tasty and delicious. I liked that it tasted fresh and its flavors lingers in my mouth at every spoonful. This is a perfect comfort food for all the seafood lovers out there.

Lobster Bisque

After getting some warmth from those great tasting soup dishes, salad greens are then served. They offered us two of their best-selling salads namely, The Caesar Salad and The General Manager's or GM's Salad. The first one is such a classic hit for in its simplicity hides an array of flavors and textures mainly from the delicious Caesar dressing, fresh lettuce greens, croutons and grated cheese. 

 Caesar Salad

The GM's Salad, which is actually the hotel's general manager's favorite, is beautiful and scrumptious at the same time. The aesthetics of this dish is truly enticing and pretty to look at. A bowl of baked Parmesan cheese with fresh greens topped with cheese and mushrooms dressed with balsamic vinaigrette - the flavors amazingly blends well together giving your mouth such a feast. The saltiness from the baked cheese bowl added an extra layer of texture and flavor to this palatable salad dish. Also, you'll love how the balsamic vinaigrette wraps up all the flavors giving you a one-of-a-kind healthy treat!

GM's Salad

The night got even more exciting when they served us the main courses of our choice. Instead of me getting meat (lamb or beef) steak, since I am really craving for some fish that night, I decided to try their Roasted Norwegian Salmon - and it didn't fail me. Just by the mere sight of its luscious pink color, my tastebuds got very excited and after a single bite of it, my heart just jumped out of pure happiness. The freshness of the well-seasoned fish lying on a bed of creamy dill sauce is truly remarkable. The flavors of the fish, highlighted by its tasty Mediterranean crust (made out of black peppercorns, pecans and other kinds of nuts, herbs and spices) marries with the gentle flavors of the creamy dill sauce. Consume it with mushroom and garlic rice alongside with buttered carrots and beans and make it one heck of a delicious meal!

Roasted Norwegian Salmon

Another two seafood dishes that got my attention is their Seafood Risotto (Risotto Ai Frutti Di Mare)  and Prawn Napolitana. Packed with fresh squids slices, prawns, clams and mussels embedded on a creamy risotto, no one could ever resist its inviting aroma and impeccable delicious taste. The risotto was perfectly cooked and has absorbed the seafood flavors very well; it was so good you can actually eat it on its own. The freshness of the seafood used in this dish is undeniably awesome.

Seafood Risotto

The Prawn Napolitana, on the other hand, is also such a feat. Fresh prawns on a bed of warm and creamy mashed potatoes smothered with napolitana sauce - another great way to enjoy and satisfy your seafood cravings.

Prawn Napolitana

The steaks that my foodie friends ordered looked mouthwatering, delicious and ambrosial. I might not be able to try them all out but then through my lens I can guarantee that these dishes are truly to die for. I am sure every meat lovers would agree.

Cross-hatched U.S. Choice Rib Eye Steak

U.S. Choice Rib Eye Steak

Cooked from medium-rare to well done, these steaks are truly phenomenal. Simple as it may seem but the meat says it all - fresh, tender, tasty and juicy - all the yummy characteristics that a delicious steak should have. Paired it with some buttery mashed potatoes or dipped with a little of Mornay sauce (a kind of Bechamel sauce), these steaks are undeniably gastronomical. 

 Lamb Chops

U.S. Choice Porterhouse Steak

A meaty dish that as for me, is quite different from the rest is their Lamb Shank Caldereta. Inspired from the classic Filipino dish, this is another proof of Diamond Hotel's superb creativity when it comes to coming up with dishes that would greatly appeal to the Pinoy palate. 

Lamb Shank Caldereta

No great foodie night will be complete without an array of delightful desserts. I am known for being a dessert and pastry lover, so this is actually my much-awaited part. Since I have this great passion for French-inspired desserts, I decided to get their Tahitian Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee, though I was really frayed between it and the Chocolate Lava Cake. Luckily, Yedy opted to have the chocolate cake and the others the Trio Sorbet. 

The Tahitian Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee is such a darling. I deeply fell in love with its subtle and creamy consistency. The sweetness and richness of its vanilla-bean-flavored custard base is just right and its unbelievably complementing with its hard caramel top. The fresh fruits, most especially the peaches added another layer of flavor into this stellar dessert.

Tahitian Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

Everybody loves chocolates and I must say that with this treat, I have made my affinity into it even more stronger. The Chocolate Lava Cake is a moist, warm chocolate cake that has a surprising core. Dig into it and watch as some melted chocolate oozes from the center. This sweet surprise is heightened even more by Astralis - dig until you reach the bottom to find chunks of chocolate that would really make your chocolate cake experience worthwhile. Topped with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, the combination of hot and cold in this dessert is really a must try.

Chocolate Lava Cake

Lastly, the Trio Sorbet, as what its colors suggests, is very refreshing and is a good palate cleanser after having those savory and meaty dishes. You'll definitely enjoy it three revitalizing flavors: Coconut, Mango and Strawberry, yummy! 

Trio Sorbet

It was indeed a great night. Aside from the most appetizing food, we also enjoyed Astralis' elegant and sophisticated interiors - perfect place for a romantic dinner for two, a family quality time or catching ups with friends closest to your heart. As for me, being with these amazing foodies (Spanky, Jane, Yedy, Richard, Jonel, Melanie and Lian)  is such a great opportunity that I will be forever thankful for. 

Experience luxury, amazing food and good life only at the Astralis by Diamond Hotel.


R1/Lvl. Power Plant Mall,
Rockwell Dr. cor. Estrella St.
Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines
(02) 890-7124