Spend A Day in Korea... in Manila: Kiwa Grill Dining, Solaire
My first job in Manila was at The Korean International School of The Philippines teaching English. This is where my love of Korean food began. One lunch I remember enjoying what I thought were crunchy onions until I examined a bit closer to discover, they were tiny little fish. Quite the surprise for an American. My goodness, if Korean food can fool this American into enjoying tiny little fish they are on to something. Kiwa Grill Dining is an establishment like no other. It's as if you were transported to Korea for the dining experience. From the interiors to the food and the staff, all has been imported from Korea making it authentic.
A special anecdote about the restaurant name: Chief Operating Officer, Eddie Park shared, "After all, Kiwa means traditional Korean roof tile, those used for Korean homes. As a restaurant, Kiwa aims to be a shelter, a place that provides a comfortable environment for relaxation and leisure." (Taken from Kiwa press kit.)If you follow me on instagram (handle: amommabroad) you will notice I often use the hashtag, #bringtheoutsidein. And so it is with Kiwa. Their inspiration for the interiors was to bring the outside in. Be still my heart. Private dining rooms are plentiful. Unfortunately, I did not get a photo of the bay view lined with trees from Korea.It is as though you are taken away from the bustling city to the serene nature Korea offers. The ceilings had me in design heaven. I mean! Many of the materials were brought over from Korea, even the stones! You could not get any closer to Korea unless you were physically there. The style was impeccable even down to the flatware. It took me halfway through the meal to realize there was no fork or knife. They have clung to Korean way and are trying to stay as authentic as possible. Under the beautiful gold plate is the grilling station, where you transform meat into a culinary journey. Ha! Let me take a moment and also share about how fun it was! Kiwa provided the absolute purest foods and experience. Sharing it with these ladies was top notch. From left to right: Sabrina, Helene and Yen.Kiwa prides itself in using the freshest ingredients and highest quality meat. I can attest to this. While we had many dishes, and I indulged, I did not feel heavy at the end of the meal as I normally do after eating greasy foods.
The openers: Pumpkin Salad.Baebaek Kimchi, Pear and white kimchee cold soup. INSANELY DELICIOUS! Don't be afraid, go for it. You will not regret it. A fresh garden salad with radish dressing and sprouts accompanied by a tomato filled, cold seafood salad. Both light but so flavorful. Haemul Pajeon, pancake mixed with seafood, spring onion and assorted vegetable with spicy soy sauce with sesame oil on the side. Japchae, seasoned soy sauce-based pan-fried glass noodles with beef and fried assorted vegetables. These two dishes were a personal favorite packed with savory flavors. The noodles had a delicious smoky flavor. Gobachi, platter of scallops sashimi, salmon sashimi, steamed shrimp, steamed octopus and marinated tomato. Kiwa Dining Grill has the advanced exhaust system used in the finest of grills in Korea. The system is actually below the table so you do not get the harsh air or smells. You leave smelling just as you came instead of like grill smoke. It passed my hair smell test. Silly, but it is true.The star of the show: Yangnyeomgalbi, grilled marinated beef ribs with Kiwa’s special sauce and Samgyeopsal grilled seasoned pork belly. I personally love grilling my own meat. It is so tender and fresh eating straight away from the grill. Head Chef Gi Won Park is truly a culinary genius. It was a meeting of flavors that I had the pleasure of indulging. (photo courtesy of Kiwa press kit.) Ending our meal with the traditional ice slush and red bean dessert accompanied by a non-traditional cold plum juice. The plum juice stole my heart. My mouth is literally salivating thinking of the sweet juice. The sweetness was not that of sugar but of the plum fruit. Bloggers doing what they do best. :) Kiwa staff has been trained deeply in the Korean way of culture, etiquette and even food order. In Korea it is traditional to not eat rice until the end of the meal. This can be accommodated to have rice at your choosing but holding strong to the Korean way is the whole concept of Kiwa Grill Dining.
Kiwa will have it's grand opening on January 28, 2016. I am sure they will have nothing but the best of success. I want to express my gratitude for the kindness and hospitality that was extended to me. The management and Michelle had everything organized that allowed us to have the smoothest experience.
Things to know:
-Hours of operation 9am to 12mn - Sunday to Thursday, 9am to 2am - Friday and Saturday -Located at Solaire Resort & Casino, 1 Aseana Avenue, Paranaque City -Contact: +632 888 8888 and www.kiwa.com.ph