Text and images by Angelo G. Garcia
On the popular reality cooking competition show, Masterchef, there’s a challenge called “Mystery Box.” This particular segment tests the contestants’ ability to come up with a dish using only the ingredients inside a box.
Now, inspired by this challenge, Marriott Manila’s Cru Steakhouse makes dining a bit more interactive. Dubbed as “Cru’s Mystery Box,” this promotion challenges diners and chefs by creating a three-course menu spontaneously out of the ingredients inside a box. Both the chef and the diners have no clue what’s inside the box.
“The clients won’t know what’s in it. The only thing that we guarantee is you may have a tenderloin, a rib eye, or a striploin. We can guarantee that the chef can make three courses out of the ingredients in the box,” explains Marriott Manila’s executive chef Meik Brammer.
It costs P3,850 to avail of this promotion. The box, which is made from kiln-dried mahogany wood, has several raw ingredients inside besides the steak, like organic tomatoes, truffles, seafood, potatoes, mushrooms, etc. The chefs would roam around the restaurant with the box, offering it to clients. When the diners avail of the box, they have the chance to create their own menu.
“Ideally, the box is good for a table of two. The chefs will bring in some ideas, and you have to agree on the menu. Generally you can throw your ideas in as a guest, your own menu, based on the ingredients in the box,” he says.
Each box would have a different set of ingredients making every menu unique for each diner. The chefs would bring choices that are not available on the restaurant’s menu. The clients may choose if they like an appetizer and soup with the steak or an appetizer, the steak, and a dessert.
During the special press preview, a select group of journalists were able to experience how this promotion works.
Our particular box came with a striploin, organic tomatoes, risotto rice, truffle paste, French beans, potatoes, button mushrooms, and green apple. Our group decided on a tomato salad for the appetizer; steak with truffle risotto, French beans, and sautéed mushrooms for the main course; and German pancakes for the dessert.
Three kinds of organic tomatoes were used in the salad—red and yellow cherry tomato and zebra tomato. It was served with chunks of feta cheese, fresh arugula, and a pesto dressing.
The strip loin steak perfectly cooked on the grill was served with a side of truffle risotto, French beans with bacon, and sautéed button mushroom. The dessert was a serving of fluffy German pancake with green apples and a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream.
This promotion, which will only be available this whole month of April, makes the dining experience more interactive. For Marriott, it’s a way of offering something new and unique to the clients. Cru Steakhouse has consistently landed on lists of best steakhouses in Manila. But the restaurant constantly makes sure it offers something unique.
“I’ve been really blessed for eight years but to be honest, it is hard work every day just to stay on top. There are so many restaurants going up. The team and I make sure that this steakhouse is worthy of our clients. We want to take the chef’s special a little bit further and be more interactive,” Chef Meik says.
Cru Steakhouse, ground level Manila Marriott Hotel, Newport City, Pasay City / manilamarriott.com / Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat @manilamarriott