Collaborations at Gilarmi

SPECIAL collaborations and experiments are firing up Discovery Primea’s new menu selections at the Gilarmi Lounge.

Discovery Primea opened in 2015 at the site of the former Gilarmi Apartments, one of Makati’s earlier skyscrapers. It was built in the 1960s, and named after businessman Virgilio Hilario and his wife, the first Miss Universe Armi Kuusela. To pay tribute to what had been there before, the lounge was named after the storied building.

Last week, Discovery Primea served slider portions of their new additions to their Burger Library: The Le Bistro 2.0 (mozzarella, Parmesan, Emmental cheese and caramelized onion), The Italian Job (beef and prosciutto patty, mozzarella, and tomato fondue), and The Mushroom (crispy mushroom “katsu,” cabbage slaw, and tonkatsu sauce). Surprisingly, the clear winner for most of us was the Mushroom, despite its lack of meat. While plant-based food sometimes tries to mimic the taste of meat, this one relies on the sheer pleasure of mushrooms, and one doesn’t even look for, or miss the meat. We suggested to Discovery Primea’s executive chef Luis Chikiamco that the mushroom patty could be served as a rice bowl (he’s thinking about it).

They also served their newest cocktail: a Negroni.

Yes, every self-respecting bar has the Italian cocktail made of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, but at Gilarmi, they aged the concoction in an American oak barrel. The resulting drink is more mellow, with a rounded finish, but still packs quite a heavy punch.

For dessert, they collaborated with Sebastian Ice Cream’s Ian Carandang, who made four desserts. We started out with the Mango Mango Mango (yema cake, puffed tapioca, and mango sorbet), then Sss’mores (chocolate in different textures, Sebastian’s Graham ice cream, and torched marshmallows), Tea and Cakes (Miso creme brulee, yema sponge, Sebastian’s Green Tea ice cream), and his version of Halo-Halo (Ube poppits and sapin-sapin ice cream, leche flan). We’re still deciding if we liked Sss’mores or Tea and Cakes better, but we really recommend both.

Discovery Primea’s General Manager David Pardo de Ayala

Discovery Primea’s General Manager David Pardo de Ayala said that more outside collaborations are being planned in the future: he said that Mr. Chikiamco is in talks for a dinner with former TV chef Rob Pengson, and a Singaporean chef.

“I think you need to keep refreshing your menu: giving people something to talk about,” he said. “The hotel experience, especially in F&B, cannot be monotonous.”

Gilarmi Lounge is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations and inquiries, guests may call 7955-8888 or e-mail — Joseph L. Garcia