travel & lifestyle blog by ruth dela cruz


Classic Cocktails + Bar Chow at The Gilarmi Lounge

May 18, 2015
The busy business district of Makati suddenly found its light again with the opening of Discovery Primea Hotel. One cannot miss the luxurious hotel with its iconic height and glass panels that serve like an inviting window to hotel’s very soul.
Everytime I get stuck in traffic or finding it hard to go home, I always wish I could stay and spend the night at Discovery Primea. It prides itself in providing luxuries to business and leisure travelers through its accommodations and five restaurant outlets – TAPENADE, The GILARMI LOUNGE and soon to open, 1824, EDGE and FLAME. 
A few weeks ago, I got the chance to try the food and cocktail pairing offerings from the GILARMI LOUNGE. The Gilarmi Lounge pays tribute to the Gilarmi Apartments, the building which once stood where Discovery Primea now rises. The lounge serves Filipino-inspired bar fare, light snacks, high  tea, draught beers from around the world and new twists of classic cocktails. 
 Discovery Primea’s Executive Chef Luis Chikiamco collaborates with one of the metro’s top mixologists, Lee Watson, for a night of classic cocktail and all-Filipino bar fare. It was an affair of contrasting textures, taste and flavors.

The cozy lounge is a perfect nest for holding meetings, or simply unwiding after a long day. Everytime I looked outside to check the traffic along Ayala and the glint of bumper lights, I was thankful to be spending the night inside the lounge with good friends and cocktails prepared by Lee Watson. 
 We started off with the Riviera Fizz paired with Filipino Ceviche

The peach cocktail is a mix of La Navarra Pacharan, Blood Orange and Lemon Soda. I could imagine having this while on a beach. The Filipino Ceviche was inspired by kilawin which happens to be a universal recipe from South America and Europe. If you think about it, the flavors were both sour, but they surprisingly blended. A little sharp on the tongue which made me want to crave for more. 
Before I could ask for another serving of cocktail, these were served to me.
Guyabano-Tarragon Mojito paired with Pinoy Rockefeller
Now the pairing didn’t sound too right for my tummy but it was a rare night and I didn’t want to spoil the bar feast. I had my rockefeller – an all-time favorite made from creamed spinach and hollandaise sauce. It was given a new twist with KangKong – and hollandaise sauce infused with calamansi instead of lemon. 
The Guyabano Tarragon masked the flavor of Mojito. It is made of Bacardi Silver Rum (pronounced as Ba-car-DI!), sugar, lime, soda and guyabano. The mint was replaced with tarragon. It is one of the smoothest mojitos I have tasted. More please!
The Tropical Gin Fizz paired with Sisig Sa Riles
The white cocktail reminds me of a milk – thank you for the delicate mix of coconut, bombay sapphire gin, Licor 43, Lime, egg white and soda. Interestingly, the drink seemed perfect to temper the spicy flavor of Sisig sa Riles. 

 I found out this dish was first served in Pampanga train tracks. An upgraded twist of sisig made it exquisite and perfect for the lounge set-up.
Cilantro Sour paired with Tuna Brochettes
The Cilantro Sour has got to be my favorite mix that night. I personally do not like any dish with Cilantro – but mixing it with scotch, lemon and sugar was like drinking a herbal drink. 
The delicate flavor of tuna was captured perfectly and complemented by the soy based sauce. The red chili and garlic gremalata added a burst of color, texture and taste.  
The next pairing was an interesting play on color and flavor. The Blue Caipirinha was paired with Chicken Wings Inasal. The mix was Cachaca, Almond Syrup, Lime Juice and Blue Pea Flower. I never know flowers could be such a great garnishment. I love the inviting color.
The Chicken Wings Inasal is not your ordinary Buffalo Wings though. The wings were seasoned with traditional chicken marinate of garlic, spices, lemon grass, annatto oil and vinegar. 
We were all having a great time and raving about how smooth the cocktails were. Even with strong and premium base alcoholic drinks mixed with every shaker, the cocktails were smooth to drink. If there was one that gave us that “kick” it was the Cherry Blossom Whisky Sour. It concealed its true flavors with a sweet name. It was more of a manly drink. It is another twist on Whiskey Sour with a slightly peachy blended Scotch, floral syrup and local-citrus. But, it kicked us hard. 

To give us a soothing relief, there’s Binondo Cua Pao. It is fondly called as Mantou bread with Chef’s very own rendition of char slu pork or pork BBQ. It was so good, mine was done with two big bites!

What a gastronomic feast! We only had a few bites but I felt full with contrasting flavors and textures. We settled in the comfy couches and shared a few stories with Rey, Cristelle, Rodel and Ferds. We had a festive mood in an intimate setting. I couldn’t remember if I was laughing louder than usual because of the Cilantro Sour. 
Lovely time with friends! Thank you Discovery Primea for having us!

with Ferds Bondoy, Rodel Flordeliz, Yen Dreyfus, Myke Soon, Chuckie Dreyfus and Rey Belen

The Gilarmi Lounge
Ground Floor, Discovery Primea
Ayala Avenue, Makati City
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