What’s for dinner? Surprise!

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THE ELEMENT of surprise adds to the experience of a meal at Marriott Manila’s steakhouse, Cru with the recent introduction of a new concept by the hotel’s Executive chef Meik Brammer — The Mystery Box.

The concept is simple: every day, Mr. Brammer sets up a box containing four to six ingredients — but it always includes either tenderloin, striploin, or a rib eye steak. A server comes up to the diner and asks if they’d like the mystery box, which might be the equivalent of a daily chef’s special. When the diner agree to it, et voila, the ingredients are revealed, and the customer will have to eat whatever’s in it. The fun part is, the diner gets to decide how each ingredient is cooked, and the ingredients can be used to make appetizers or a dessert.

Last week at a tasting, this writer was given the mystery box, the contents of which were revealed to be Stockyard striploin, French beans, and truffle paste. The people at the table elected for mushroom soup with truffles, French beans and bacon, with a side of truffle risotto.

The steak, which I asked to be served rare, tasted full of life, and I could practically hear the cow mooing as I chewed on it — finishing the last bite and finding out that there would be no more, was a bittersweet experience.

The French beans and bacon was more than satisfactory, each ingredient providing crisp and crunch, while the truffle risotto and the soup practically scented the table, and the smell alone would have left us full.

Said Mr. Brammer about the box: “Why look at the menu when you can create your own menu?”

The Mystery Box at Cru is available for P3,500++. — Joseph L. Garcia