The Podium as a food mecca

Published May 7, 2022, 12:21 PM

by Philip Cu Unjieng

Our malls evolve to create their own identity, despite the property developers‘ intent that they become ‘everything for everyone’. In the case of The Podium, I like how it’s become the vicinity’s food Mecca for discriminating foodies. The line up of eating establishments point to both quality and diversity, and I love how the mall makes the extra effort to be an incubator of sorts for new food entrepreneurs.

What do I mean by this? Just look at the two-pronged food-related promotions going on right now. Until May 13, there’s a Tatler Dining X The Podium promotion, where 19 restaurants all joined in to create their specific Taste Edit, with each restaurant offering specially curated dishes under the Taste Edit “umbrella.”

Then, on the second floor, in line with Mother’s Day weekend, there’s a Food Lab organized in partnership with Awesome Planet until May 8. You’ll find 10 diverse stalls that showcase new culinary concepts from both start-up’s and more established food businesses that presently, don’t have mall presence. 

Both promotions make for exciting culinary adventures. For my Taste Edit exposure, I gladly walked into an old favorite, Nikkei. It’s a hamachi extravaganza, as they found an excellent supplier of Hamachi. And so there’s hamachi sashimi, hamachi nigiri sushi, and hamachi tiradito. My favorites were the torched sushi, and the sauce-infused spicy tiradito. What was great was the quality of the hamachi—definitely not to be missed!

The wagyu steak at Nikkei.

The hamachi sushi also comes into play in the Keiken Experience Nigiri Set, where it’s joined by tuna and salmon sushi. There’s also a pairing of wagyu Steak with Vilosell wine. These are all off-menu, so specifically ask for their Taste Edit. You won’t regret it.

Chef Ely Salar’s gâteaux de voyage, pound cake and chocolate creativity.

Food Lab on the secnd floor is an exciting journey into possibilities and what will be the foodie favorites of the near future. The first one that truly caught my eye in terms of presentation was Chef Ely Salar and his gateaux de voyage. From afar, I thought they were fancy eclairs, but as Chef Ely explained, they’re a playful pound cake with chocolate, and it’s his effort to bring something new to the dessert scene. In fact, he’ll be opening his own store, the Patisserie Chouxcolat, at The Podium next month. I can recommend his chocolate almond praline, and the calamansi with white chocolate. 

An array of the goodies at Caprichosa Gourmet Provisions.

Caprichosa Gourmet Provisions offers their home baked delicacies, and you’d be a fool to miss out on them. The black truffle butter, the crab fat butter, and their unique fruit preserves combination are the best. For the preserves, they offer blueberry raspberry, the strawberry orange, and peach mango rhum. The black truffle butter is a decadent indulgence that’s both earthy and sublime—and can be used in a variety of ways. It can be a spread, a base for sauces and drizzles, a finishing touch on roasts, or as simple as drizzled on popcorn. It’s this versatility that makes the Caprichosa line so popular, and such a good buy. Timmy & Rochelle Farrales have a strong one here.

Steffie Ng at her Tomoni Bakehouse stall—don’t forget her sherbets.

Tomoni Bakehouse has a young food entrepreneur behind it—the engaging but painfully shy Steffie Ng. She experimented endlessly to get their flaky croissants just right, then they came up with a dazzling array of savoury and sweet filled-croissants. They also have mean sherbets that act as wonderful palate-cleansers with the Lemon Lime as my favorite. Don’t forget their great cream pies, and puff pizzas—the flavors and combinations are signature creations and kudos to Steffie for bouncing back from her sorry experience as a franchisee, and coming up with this winner concept of Tomoni, which is Japanese for together.

If you miss out on the Food Lab this weekend, just be on the lookout for its Podium reappearance. I understand there are plans to bring it back in due time. For me, though, the takeaway here is how The Podium deserves a standing ovation for constantly upping their game when it comes to food options and culinary adventures. It would be far easier to just sit back and let your food tenants do this kind of work, but I appreciate how the Mall is constantly finding ways to offer something distinct.