MANILA, PHILIPPINES — At Mansion Sports Bar & Lounge, food is not an afterthought. This was apparent from the tasting menu that Chef Sean Jorgensen prepared in an exclusive food tasting hosted by the newest watering hole at the heart of Makati’s business district.
Appetizers definitely roused the appetite with chicken liver toast, tuna tartare, and charred broccoli. The tuna tartare is deliciously saline, chewy and firm without compromising the crunch of the nori which is a surprisingly sturdy base that does not foil the doubanjiang aioli.
Chicken liver toast is complex in textures, with the pate’s silky consistency balancing the lumps and crunch of bacon, onion jam, and shimeji mushrooms. The addition of grapes was a nice touch as the acidic element tying the whole bite.
Charred broccoli was punchy when it came to flavor, with an assortment of carrots, radish, candied peanuts and coriander subduing the sharpness of the char. The mix of mint, sesame seeds, and basil produces a taste one would mistake for arugulla. Asian noodles as a follow-up served bold flavors; it’s deceivingly simple looking, but has enough spice and tang characteristic of its standard.
The main course — bavette steak and shrimp — exemplified the chef’s restraint in his ingredients. Steak is best when left to its own natural flavor, and this one had a delicious sear and tender meat paired with springy shrimp, cooked just right and not a minute more.
As a bonus, Chef Sean surprised each table with Mansion’s signature roasted chicken. Soft inside and fragrant with herbs, this dish is an easy crowd favorite. Of all the items in the tasting menu that night, trifle best leans into the Filipino ingredients, opting for the calamansi and coconut as the main flavors of the dessert.
What sets the food apart at Mansion Sports Bar & Lounge is the pairing of each course with premium cocktails that are a delight, if not a palate cleanser. Overall, what was on the tasting menu were well-composed food that does not take away the fun out of eating.
For a place that promises elevation of the usual sports bar, nothing was ostentatious. With food such as these, Mansion Sports Bar will not have a problem filling its tables.