When talking of food, there is what you call as “gourmet” and “comfort” food. The former speaks of either a deconstructed dish with at least three layers of flavor, a complex cooking process, an aesthetically pleasing presentation, and perhaps some liquid nitrogen thrown on. The latter connotes food cooked at home, usually on a gas or brick kiln, with ingredients picked from the garden or bought from the nearby market.
Arima at Park Inn by Radisson offers exactly that. There is something comforting yet delightfully different from the food they are offering, with choices that range from a simple elegant and elevated thick mung bean soup, to pasta ai funghi.
Named after a system of work in the hacienda, the all-day restaurant located within the ground floor of the hotel has an open minimalist design, complete with furniture with clean shapes and corners, and modern furniture with enough spaces in between – social distancing is still important after all.
There is nothing pretentious about the place. It is classy, with plenty of wide spaces and glass walls to attract natural light.
But it is the food – prepared by the kitchen staff under the tutelage of Taal Vista Executive chef Jaimie Natividad along with hotel Executive sous chef Billy Jo Andaca — that has foodies, enthusiasts, and gourmands coming back to Arima
There is, for starters, the buffalo wings. Certain buffalo wings in some joints often drown theirs in buffalo sauce so thick it drowns out the flavor of the chicken. Arima’s buffalo wings, on the other hand, has just the right balance of heat as the sauce itself it spiced just enough to let the chicken flavor shine.
The Arima salad is another standout, with beautifully seasoned chicken inasal strips – juicy not dry – and shredded greens, corn kernels, pigeon peas (kadyos on the local language), thin slices of apples. It is a complete meal, that salad and it more than satisfying.
A personal favorite is the mung bean chowder. You read that right. Mung bean chowder. It is basically mung beans cooked into a consistency of chowder, almost like thick paste, with generous amounts of pork cracklings lending a wonderful saltiness to the umami flavor of the silky mung beans. A nice touch is the fried alugbati, a solitary leaf covered in batter and fried ala crispy kangkong style. Helpful tip : Dunk that alugbati in the mung bean stew, and put the tasteful spoonful into your mouth; it adds another layer of texture to the dish.
The pasta ai funghi is worth the mention. The creamy base has none of the mealiness of lesser sauces. It was seasoned just right, and the best part is the generous slices of shiitake mushrooms which lent an earthy taste to the dish. Heavenly.
Arima is just one of the offerings of the newest hotel in Bacolod, Park Inn by Radisson located within SM City Complex. Park Inn has outdoor swimming pool for adults and kids, a fitness center, laundry and cleaning services.
For bookings, call 7068888.