For most restaurants, repeat customers serve as omens of success. When one of its very first guests dined in Seda Vertis North’s new Chinese outlet three separate times in just a week, the food and beverage team and the Chinese culinary team headed by Executive Chinese Chef Hann Furn Chen were naturally elated.
Shortly after the five-star hotel carrying the homegrown Ayala Land brand in Quezon City opened its doors in 2017, they had seen the gap for a restaurant in dynamic Quezon City catering to Chinoys and other lovers of Chinese cuisine in an upscale setting and served with attention to detail. But it had to offer value for money — defined as well-executed dishes with authentic flavors matched with fine service at reasonable prices. The guest’s successive visits confirmed that Pin Wei, meaning “good taste,” appeared to be meeting that need.
Executive Chinese Chef Chen is confident that his extensive menu of dim sum items as well as hand-pulled noodles is highly appreciated. After all, the former executive chef of Tin Hau restaurant in Makati had an excellent track record for meeting clients’ expectations — even for the Chinoy favorite, Sweet and Sour Pork. He remarks that this dish appears to have a following only in the Philippines but not in Indonesia, Singapore or Dubai where he has also served as executive Chinese chef.
Yes, he will also serve the dish in Pin Wei but would prefer to woo clients with a wider selection of barbecued meats and duck, seafood and beef, all paired with the finest collection of teas. There will be something for everybody — whatever he or she may be craving.
For special occasions, Pin Wei’s Beijing Duck with Chinese pancakes and Crispy Roasted Suckling Pig are likely to be the festive centerpieces of the meal. The tender but firm pancakes beautifully contrast with the duck’s crispy skin and moist slivers of meat smeared with homemade hoisin sauce.
The suckling pig’s entire skin, on the other hand, has the crunch of lechon macao but with much less oil. After all, the pig is slowly but meticulously roasted. Note that this dish requires four-hours of preparation and must be ordered in advance.
More casual visits with family to the 130-seat restaurant would merit the melt-in-your-mouth braised lapu, prawns that remain firm and juicy despite being deep-fried and paired with mayonnaise and golden cornflakes, and chicken served two ways. The first chicken version highlights wok-tossed chicken meat coated with a piquant honey-vinegar sauce. The more decadent second version features the chicken skin stuffed with a shrimp mousse.
Knowing only too well that well-executed Chinese dishes can be habit-forming, the culinary team also expects regular diners during the week to drop by for Pin Wei’s dim sum especially its siomai samplers including flavorsome combinations of caviar tobiko, baby abalone, scallops, and shrimps. Other popular dim sum items are the carrot-shaped glutinous dumpling with black pepper minced beef and the steamed buns with minced duck in oyster sauce shaped and colored to look like a large mushroom.
The Xiao Long Bao is also a must-try.
Together with Chef Chen, the Seda Vertis North food and beverage team intends to complement the evolving menu with attentive service and a contemporary but warm restaurant setting. There is none of the lacquered dark wood furniture favored by the older Chinese restaurants at Pin Wei. Instead, natural lighting from floor-to-ceiling windows is easily deflected by the bleached wooden panels and the streamlined seats with woven rattan backs.
At night, warm lighting illuminates the second-floor restaurant easily visible through glass walls from Ayala Malls Vertis North. The restaurant’s interiors and attentive waiters would most likely convince even jaded onlookers that Pin Wei is destined to be a special place.