Fine Dining #1: Cafe Panorama

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A and I have done quite a few hospitality and restaurant projects and the feeling while dining at the places we designed is priceless. The finished product might not be exactly as per specs especially here in China but… hey, it ain’t the end of the world. Enough with the laments of a designer. What I want to say is that I’ve always wanted to share photos of the food being served there. The food photos never landed here as they never came out good. Few scenarios – I was too hungry my hands were shaking it’s impossible to take decent photos. Or simply too shy to take photos with people around, most especially if dining with Clients. But this is just the right time to reconsider! Ces of spiCes has come up with a very interesting blog project that is, like she said, close to our hearts. She calls it Fine Dining.

Share a photo of a dining area or a particular table you like. Yours or somebody else’s. Say a showroom you’ve visited, or maybe you’ve been invited to dinner by a friend you just can’t help but adore her fabulous dining room. Or a dining table that is such a wonderful piece of art. I don’t know what the exact guidelines are. I guess even the food photos are not exactly included but… I’m in.

To your left is Cafe Panorama, the western restaurant of Grand Mercure Hotel located at the heart of Hebei’s Capital that also offers international dishes. Still with minimal accessories, the photo was taken during daytime a couple of months after its soft opening last year. A bright place, simple lines yet elegant. Contemporary dining chairs with velvet upholstery and Regency-style English dining tables.

Lemme share few food photos though. Sorry, they aren’t decent enough. I was still using my old cam (5-year old) and my tummy was already aching after spending hours taking project photos; up and down and around the 26-storey hotel. We had lunch buffet and here are my platters of appetizer and vegetable salad.

A hearty pumpkin soup…

I forgot what this is – A‘s main course.

Fabulous cake for dessert.

Another shot of the restaurant and right below it is a 3D presentation done during conceptualization.

So… let me see you dine, too.

More food photos.

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I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

5 thoughts on “Fine Dining #1: Cafe Panorama

  1. sister!
    nice work!
    as mike puts it…WAAAAH! me too, i miss DESIGN!!!! buti ka pa! ako puro conduits at cables ng mga sub-stations ang kapiling ko ngayon!
    kaya dito nalang namin dadaanin ang aming utmost passion…hahaha!

  2. Hahahaha! Di bale… this Fine Dining thingy is a good outlet to “free the creative energy.” Thanks Ces for such a wonderful idea!

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