If the first thought that comes to mind when you hear “Solaire” is the casino, well… okay fine, they’ve got a really nice casino. That’s kind of a given.
But if you’ve never looked past that fact, you’d be surprised to hear that dining at Solaire is quite the jackpot in itself, even if you’re not the gambling type.
You may have tried some of their restaurants before, like Strip Steakhouse or Yakumi, but there are a couple of new players at the table in their newly-opened Sky Tower: Waterside Restobar and Oasis Garden Café.
Here are 4 reasons why checking them out is a bet where you have the edge.
1. 5-Star Food That Won’t Break The Bank
A lot of people have this oddly-placed misconception that Solaire is just about the bling — high-end casino, high-end restaurants, and V-V-V-V-I-P clients. The new Sky Tower restaurants hope to change that — having a meal at either of them is not only pretty gratifying, but are actually a lot more affordable than expected!
Waterside is Solaire’s new poolside restaurant. You can’t miss it with its large black gateway and dark wood accents contrasting against the bright white walls. With a strong emphasis on family, variety, and sharing, it’s the perfect place to take your friends and family for a lunch or an early dinner to catch the sunset.
Waterside’s menu is predominantly Mediterranean, strongly influenced by Chef Sascha Gausellman’s favorite Filipino dishes, and his experience with our country’s homegrown produce and proteins. In fact, about 85% of the ingredients they use in the 216(!!!) different items on their menu are from local suppliers… vegetables from Tagaytay and Baguio, tuna from Davao, the works!
You’ll find dishes that are Pinoy enough to feel familiar, but are also different enough to make you want to be a bit more adventurous with your orders. There’s Tuna Belly Confit, Salmon Cevice, and then there’s the Bangus Sisig — a sandwich spread-esque dish that doesn’t look like your usual sisig. Spread some of it on a few pieces of toast and you’ll find yourself wishing you could take a whole bunch of it home in a jar.
If you’re looking for something heartier, there are dishes like the PX Pork — a huge bowl of what looks like a pork stew with vegetables, flavored with Pedro Ximenez Sherry from Spain. For seafood lovers, their shrimp popcorn is dynamite. With just the right blend of sweet, spicy, and crunchy — this one’s an absolute must.
Then there are the dishes meant for sharing. There’s the paella, which the Waterside chefs cook over a hardwood fire. And if your appetite is up for it, HUGE platters of meat and seafood. The different platters are served with your choice of four “Co-Stars” (the term “side dishes” doesn’t do them justice) and two sauces.
Did we mention they’re huge? Enough to feed you and your family, with enough leftover for tomorrow’s lunch.
Do NOT leave Waterside without trying their desserts. The dark chocolate tart looks and tastes like it fell from chocolate heaven. Oh, and anything with their made-in-house sorbets will make you wish they served the stuff by the gallon.
The best part about Waterside though, is that you’d be surprised at how affordable everything actually is. Look at their menu and you’ll find that a ₱500-₱1,000 per head budget is more than reasonable. For the food, the ambience, and the service, you get A LOT… for much less than what you could easily spend on one spin at the roulette table!
“Oasis” is the perfect word to describe the Solaire Sky Tower’s cafe and dessert bar. Away from the bright lights and noise of the casino, it’s quite literally an oasis of serenity and calm, complete with its own 2-story indoor waterfall, lush garden surroundings, and a live pianist.
The highlight of any visit to Oasis Garden should be their assortment of cakes. Chef Josef Teuschler’s array of baked delicacies are a sight to behold, even when viewed from behind their glass case. There’s a saying, “you eat with your eyes first” — in this case, sa tingin palang, busog ka na.
Among the options available, you’ll find classics like tiramisu and fresh fruit tarts, but don’t be surprised to find things like an Ube Macapuno Pound Cake, an Ube Yema cake, or a Mango Coconut Mousse. Clearly, in the years that Chef Josef’s been in the Philippines, our local dessert culture has somehow intertwined itself with his European culinary roots.
An absolute standout among the desserts was the Caramel Cheesecake. This is definitely not your average cheesecake from the coffee shop down the road. It’s a triple caramel threat of caramel glaze, caramel mousse, baked caramel cheesecake filling, balanced on a light graham cookie crust.
It might just be the lightest, tastiest, fluffiest cheesecake you’ll have had. If you’re skeptical, try asking any member of the Oasis staff what their favorite dessert is.
2. The Million-Dollar View
Located right next to the hotel’s pool, Waterside also happens to have one of the most amazing views of Manila Bay. The restaurant’s floor to ceiling windows were no accident — there’s no way they were going to keep a view like that hidden behind concrete.
This means that the best time to book a table would be in the late afternoon, right before the sun starts its slow descent into the sea. Something about having a blood orange backdrop against your meal makes that seafood platter you just ordered taste so much better.
3. It’s A Cultural Experience
Visiting the new Sky Tower Wing, it’s easy to see why some people might call the place itself a piece of art. The high ceilings, the decor (Oasis’ Bird’s Nest is quite the sight) – a lot of it looks impressive. Even past the surface though, there’s still so much more to be seen.
Solaire adds class and culture to the place with the choices of art on display. Greeting anyone that goes through the corridor is a golden sculpture by National Artist and master of Philippine contemporary art Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera. Surrounded by a flower mural in warm red and yellow hues, it sets the tone for whatever rich experiences one is to have inside the new wing.
On display as well, until January 2015, is a selection of Mona Lisa homage pieces. The art showcase is both a tribute to the famous Leonardo Da Vinci painting and to Filipino talent creativity, as all the artwork on display also happens to have been created by a lineup of purely local artists.
Also in the Sky Tower is the newly-opened Solaire Theater — a full-sized modern theater for the performing arts, decked out in all the latest technology and equipment, perfect for musicals and live theater performances. On the playbill? The full foreign cast of Chicago!
4. …You Get To Eat Gold. HA.
It may sound crazy but for a limited time this holiday season, a lot of the desserts at Oasis are blinged out in 24-karat gold leaf. If there was ever a time to be all pinky finger out while sipping tea and enjoying some fancy cakes, it’s NOW.
They’ll eventually stop topping their desserts with gold leaf, but after the holidays, you can still get to try it as a permanent garnish on their signature item, the Solaire Chocolate Cake, a treat you can have all year round at the Oasis Garden.
While the gold itself doesn’t actually add much to the cakes in terms of flavor, it was interesting to hear Chef Josef talk about the added bit of detail on their desserts. “It’s purely aesthetic.” he says.
Still, hearing that a thin booklet of the stuff actually costs ₱6,000? It just goes to show how far Solaire aims to please their guests, from the grand displays, all the way down to the little details.
Solaire might still be best known for its poker tables and slot machines, but looks like the odds are good that Sky Tower will become a pretty popular destination in the very near future.
Solaire Resort and CasinoAseana Avenue, Parañaque, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 888 8888