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Hi.

My name is JJ.Acuna, aka. "TheWanderlister". I am an Architect and Interior Designer and founder of JJ Acuna / Bespoke Studio. Ive been the author of this blog for about 8 years running. Check back with us to read about all the great things happening in Hong Kong and the Asian region at large.

theW+ Food: Margarita Fores' Grace Park / Manila

theW+ Food: Margarita Fores' Grace Park / Manila

Manila's Celebrity Chef Margarita Fores (@margaritafores) has been called a lot of things in her life, but the latest moniker, "Asia's Best Female Chef" in 2016- crowned by regional voters of the World's 50 Best set, must be the best label yet- and it's a winning one. Always one to wear multiple hats, Fores- whose culinary career began in her 20's- on a 4-month solo trip to Italy post her grandfather's passing, was able to learn Italian-style cooking from three female mentors. That was in 1986, and 20 years later in 2016- she receives the Asia's Best award- showing that through sheer will, passion, determination, and focus- success is really measured in longevity and preserverance.

Okay now unto Grace Park! After opening popular casual (@Ciboph) and high-end dining (@Lusso_manila) Italian/Euro-centric establishments for Filipinos, Fores decided she wanted to go aspirational dining with a farm-to-table approach in the newly minted and chic Rockwell district. The purpose of Grace Park, launched in 2012, was to create a kitchen (in rustica style with concrete, iron, and reclaimed timber interiors) connecting local "farms, friends, and purveyors"- (of which the menus list their names-over 30 establishments total)- to an audience hungry for local seasonal ingredients and dishes.

The name Grace Park is the name of the neighborhood her grandmother once lived in, allowing Fores to make a direct link between this restaurant and the concept of a "meal made by Grandma". Unlike her straight up Italian-based restaurants, Grace Park offers a mixed assortment of Filipino Dishes (Adobo, Sinigang, Kinilaw) with Italian Pasta (Fettuccini Ragu of Organic Lechon).

As I told Chef Fores after the meal, my friends from Hong Kong who tried Grace Park for the first time, truly loved each dish individually and as a whole experience. We also appreciated her elevated take on local flavours, prepared and plated in her own signature "Italian style." Viva Filipina!

 Pinoy and Italian-based Flavours work well individually and as a whole. So best to bring at least four people- sharing is caring.

Pinoy and Italian-based Flavours work well individually and as a whole. So best to bring at least four people- sharing is caring.

 Fores' Lamb Adobo rice was the star of the show.

Fores' Lamb Adobo rice was the star of the show.

 River Prawns with Anchovy Butter- another highlight.

River Prawns with Anchovy Butter- another highlight.

 Baked Scallops with Capiz Fish Roe- as good as the dish I grew up with from the same region.

Baked Scallops with Capiz Fish Roe- as good as the dish I grew up with from the same region.

 A stew of jackfruit, legumes, and pork - topped with Cotechino- mixing farm style Filipino cooking with Italian sausage.

A stew of jackfruit, legumes, and pork - topped with Cotechino- mixing farm style Filipino cooking with Italian sausage.

 Retro looking desserts- the subtle Avocado Pie and the loud Eton Mess.

Retro looking desserts- the subtle Avocado Pie and the loud Eton Mess.

 Chef Fores welcomes us all.

Chef Fores welcomes us all.

 This blog post was made possible with the Camera, Photo, and SquareSpace apps, all on the iPhone X.

EAT Grace Park . Ground Level, One Rockwell, Rockwell Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati . https://www.facebook.com/graceparkdining/

JJ.

theW+ Food: Garima Arora's Gaa / Bangkok

theW+ Food: Garima Arora's Gaa / Bangkok

theW+ Design: Tom Dixon Factory

theW+ Design: Tom Dixon Factory