By Tedrick Yau.
Some of my fond childhood memories were trips to Clark Field, Pampanga for an overnight stay with the family. I remember that the drive would be more than two hours for a getaway out of Manila. It was quieter then and the biggest activity was to hoard goods at the different duty free shops.
Recently, I was reacquainted with Clark. Swissôtel Clark became my haven for a weekend to sample their latest gustatory offering. Getting there, I was pleasantly surprised that the drive has shortened and it took a little over an hour and a half to get there from Manila. As soon as I arrived at the property, I was welcomed with warm smiles from all the staff.
Walking through the entrance, peaking through the casino, and admiring the tree covered lobby, it was a quick check-in and a glimpse of what the hotel has to offer.
Immediately, I rushed to Ristorante di Verona for the launch of the Verona Brunch Club or VBC. I was one of the first who sampled their fun-dining concept that offers unlimited food a la minute. Exclusively open during Sundays from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm, VBC offers an al fresco, upscale brunch experience overlooking the natural view of the Zambales Mountain Ranges. It’s simply exciting while sipping free-flowing bubbly, vino, or craft cocktails. A DJ was on deck to provide the beats that livened the atmosphere more.
Upon checking the menu, the first item that caught my eyes were the oyster options. I had to order all to sample how each was prepared. While waiting, I was served a crunchy focaccia bread with tomato paste. All the oysters tasted fresh and paired well with the pinot grigio I was sipping.
Beef Carpaccio was next on my menu with thinly sliced meat topped with crispy parmesan cheese, then drizzled with the cocktail sauce and balsamic wine reduction. I was amazed to find out that the restaurant uses a 25-year old balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy that follows all the rules of a century old tradition. Pasta Carbonara was authentically creamy and savory, of course, best eaten warm. I decided to sample two mains. I started with the tender Beef Tenderloin with red wine reduction. A tasty Porchetta followed with the the green peas cream. No Italian menu is complete without a risotto and the Risotto ai Funghi was quite a comforting treat. Dessert was heavenly with the light and sweet Mascarpone Cheesecake.
There was also a wide selection of bread, waffles, pancakes, cheese, and eggs that completed the whole brunch experience but I was already too stuffed to have more food.
After the full meal, I was eager to retire and see the interiors of the room. The color palette was relaxing and the sheets were luxuriously soft. The backdrop of the bed had an artsy image of mountain ranges that is reminiscent of the Zambales mountain ranges. The room is also equipped with curtains that automatically open without needing to pull it to the end. Lastly, after a hot day outside, the room quickly cools down minutes after first entering the room.
It was unexpected that I renewed my experience at Clark with a gustatory experience that truly filled my appetite.
For more information about Ristorante di Verona and the Verona Brunch Club, visit Swissôtel Clark on Facebook and @swissotelclark on Instagram.