the big day preps series #2: the food

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the Big Day
Carrot rice yum! And it looks pretty too

What will guests remember most about your wedding day?

In my opinion, it won’t be the monogrammed table napkins, the fact that your cake is 100% edible, nor the matching bridesmaids’ shoes. What can make or break someone else’s memory of your Big Day is simply the food.

Also, isn’t feeding your guests well the best way of thanking them for being there?

Clearly getting a top-notch caterer was high on our priority list. After considerable research online only one name turned up consistently on our radar: K by Cunanan(Note: Seems like Kaye’s Facebook page is updated more regularly than the blog. Subscribe to her Facebook updates here.)

We had precious few trips home with which to squeeze all our supplier meetings in. Luckily Pooh, our planner, managed to book an initial food tasting during one of Kaye’s wedding receptions back in December.

The food tasting was so last-minute, we didn’t choose the dishes and instead just sampled whatever was on the bride’s chosen menu. The Fiancé had a family event at that time and couldn’t attend, so it was just me, my sister and my mom for a food-tasting for four.

While I personally wouldn’t have chosen the menu combination that day, I was ecstatic that the rave reviews for K by Cunanan were justified. I booked her the same day and just like that, we had the caterer we wanted. Yay!

We had our final food tasting when we returned to the Philippines in April, in order for us to finalize our chosen menu. The Fiancé accompanied me and my sister this time. On Kaye’s suggestion, we included food we hadn’t sampled before in this round.

The Drinks

We were undecided between the sweet (but not overly so) Vanilla Iced Tea or the fruity Raspberry Iced Tea. We eventually decided to serve the vanilla tea during cocktails and the raspberry tea during the dinner itself.

a cold glass of Raspberry Iced Tea

a cold glass of Raspberry Iced Tea

The Appetizers

During our initial food tasting, Kaye had graciously offered us a “freebie” for brides who booked her during bridal fairs: a choice between three additional appetizers or a box of wine. We preferred more nibbles, hence we had a total of six to sample that day.

First off was the Hoisin Chicken Wrap. I had already tasted this the first time and liked the combination of the sweet sauce and the soft wrap. I included it again just to see if the Fiancé would like it too, and he did.

There's also a Hoisin Crackling Pork Wrap version.

There’s also a Hoisin Crackling Pork Wrap version.

We also had the Blinis with Smoked Salmon and Dill. While I am generally averse to eating savory pancakes, I decided to give Kaye’s blinis a try. I had seen blinis before sold as hors d’oeuvre  in various grocery chains here in the UK, and thought they looked kind of cute bite-sized. As an added bonus, Kaye’s blinis tasted as good as they looked.

Bite-sized blinis with smoked salmon and dill. The only savory pancake I've liked to date!

Bite-sized blinis with smoked salmon and dill. The only savory pancake I’ve liked to date!

We also wanted to include the Bruschetta with roasted eggplant, peppers & feta cheese for the oldies and guests who weren’t inclined to have too much meat.

The peppers were cooked just right.

The peppers were cooked just right.

Being fans of Vietnamese food, we also decided to have the Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls. 

Despite the dollop of sauce on the top, these can easily be picked off the appetizer tray.

Despite the dollop of sauce on the top, these can easily be picked off the appetizer tray.

We wanted to try the Pan de sal bruschetta with adobo flakes, mango salsa, and kesong puti. While they were nom, we eventually decided to forgo these. They were a bit on the heavy side and we just wanted to keep our guests’ tummies happy enough so they wouldn’t grumble–not spoil their appetites for the mains and desserts.

The salsa went well with the adobo flakes

The salsa went well with the adobo flakes

Another highly recommended appetizer and a personal favorite of mine are the Crackers with Smoked Tanigue. Then again, I love smoked fish so I may not be the most objective person to ask. (No photos unfortunately, as we wolfed them down.)

Next on our list was the Cheese and Roasted Pepper Quesadilla. It tasted pretty good. However we thought that, as far as finger foods go, guests might find it slightly more difficult to deal with because it had to be dipped in the salsa.

The quesadilla with salsa

The quesadilla with salsa

The Crostini with Prawn Thermidore wasn’t originally on our chosen menu, but since we were on the fence with the quesadilla Kaye offered us some crostini to taste. We polished them off pretty quickly and decided instantly on switching them for the quesadilla (only because the crostini seemed easier to handle off a tray), hence the lack of photos to show.

The Soup

The soup included in our first food tasting was Broccoli and Cheese. While it was pretty good, it was also quite cheesy. Considering that we planned to serve lechon baboy (roast suckling pig) and lechon baka (roast calf) as well for the mains, it was in all likelihood too heavy for a starter.

We wanted a soup that was light but tasty, and settled on Tomato Soup. We thought it would be cold tomato soup in the style of the yummy gazpacho. But it was warm and hearty, which was fine too. I guess the majority of us Filipinos wouldn’t be too used to having cold soup anyway.

Hot tomato soup to start

Hot tomato soup to start

The Salad

The other salad I tried during the first food tasting was the Barbecue Chicken Salad. Let’s put it this way: this is the salad to choose if you and your guests don’t like eating salads in the first place. I didn’t care for it very much.

I eventually chose the Insalata Caprese with orange, walnuts, and strawberry vinaigrette. I love vinaigrette and it worked well with the sweet tang of the orange and the crushed walnuts.

I wonder where she sources the strawberry vinaigrette? Me likey

I wonder where she sources the strawberry vinaigrette? Me likey

The Mains

For the final food tasting, we largely chose dishes I hadn’t tasted the first time so that we’d have more to consider. As mentioned, we would be having additional roast dishes anyway so we were keen to have seafood and chicken for the remaining mains.

I had tasted the Grilled red snapper with mango salsa and coconut cream the first time and decided to get it off the bat, hence no photos. (It was that good!)

For our pasta dish, I wanted something that wasn’t cream-based nor too heavy. We eventually settled on the Vongole pasta with chopped fresh tomatoes and pesto drizzle. 

What was convenient about the way the vongole was presented was that individual portions were already “looped” together in a single ready-to-grab loose ball, reducing mess and ensuring your pasta still looks good in the serving dish, no matter how many guests dig in.

Vongole pasta with fresh tomatoes and pesto drizzle

Vongole pasta with fresh tomatoes and pesto drizzle

On a side note, if I really, really had my way I would have settled on the Grilled chicken on pesto–I absolutely adore pesto. Not everyone does though, which is something to keep in mind when choosing your dishes. A few tips on wedding reception cuisine while we’re on the topic:

Tip 1: Choose dishes that you like but will still be a hit with the majority of your guests. I settled on a happy compromise with my chosen pasta’s pesto drizzle.

Tip 2: Choose dishes that go well with each other. For instance, they can’t all be cream-based, unless you want your guests waving the white flag of surrender as early as salad-time from too much rich food (i.e. nauumay / naaalo). I was especially keen for my guests to have space for dessert, for reasons I’ll explain soon.

For the chicken, we sampled the Herbed spatchcock with oven-baked vegetables which was delicious. I had to look this up on Wikipedia myself–but for everyone’s benefit spatchcock is a way of cooking chicken by flattening it before grilling.

Herbed chicken-y goodness

Herbed chicken-y goodness

We had another chicken dish to try in lieu of the grilled snapper I had already decided on previously. The Supreme of chicken in herb cream sauce (why not call it, simply, Supreme chicken?) was quite YUM so we chose this over the spatchcock, since we already had the roasted lechon dishes and wanted to introduce a bit of variety.

It'll be a hit with guests, I'm sure!

It’ll be a hit with guests, I’m sure!

Finally, we had Honey Nut Prawns, Kaye’s most popular prawn dish and highly recommended by our planner. While I would have preferred something that wasn’t fried, it was absolutely tasty and easy to eat. Another predicted hit with guests (I hope!).

Yummy honey nut prawns

Yummy honey nut prawns

The Rice

There was absolutely no question to this: YES to Kaye’s carrot rice! Allowing for tastes of guests however, we opted for a combination of both carrot and plain.

Carrot rice yum! And it looks pretty too

Carrot rice yum! And it looks pretty too

Though we made a few tweaks to the final menu, the Fiancé and I are delighted so far with the quality of service we’ve received from Kaye and her team, the attentive serving staff who refilled the drinks at the tables, and of course–the yummy food.

The Dessert

I am an absolute sucker for dessert. I’ll always save space for it.

While Kaye’s desserts were delicious (special mention to the mixed fruit compote and banoffee cups–was it banoffee cups?–that were graciously given to us to taste), we had already decided to book Bizu Patisserie separately for our dessert bar.

We actually had a tasting with Bizu for the reception dinner and dessert, but came away impressed with just the desserts. That shouldn’t be surprising, since Bizu is famous for its cakes, pastries, and the macarons de Paris in particular.

Our Bizu food-tasting was held in their Glorietta 4 branch in Makati. We could select up to 12 desserts of our choice.

The 'Before' shot: Indulging our sweet tooth

The ‘Before’ shot: Indulging our sweet tooth

Clockwise from L-R starting at the top: Roca (dark chocolate ganache with vanilla custard); Jolie Sugarfree (sugarless flourless mousse with hazelnuts); Amour (orange chocolate mousse); three types of Chiboust or cheesecake; Nirvana (dark chocolate mousse with pistachio); Babylon (raspberry mousse); Tiramisu (things have progressed since ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ so everyone now knows what this is); Limone (calamansi — a Philippine lemon– mousse); another chocolate mousse; and Madagascar Vanilla Crème Brûlée in an Egg Shell.

The 'After' shot: Sweet tooth indulged

The ‘After’ shot: Sweet tooth indulged

While in our opinion Ladurée’s is the best, Bizu’s macarons are still quite scrumptious.

The macarons -- vanilla, chocolate, rose, and mocha

The macarons — vanilla, chocolate, rose, and mocha

Bizu can also coordinate with your stylist in case you had specific preferences on how you want the desserts presented.

I’ll probably write a final review on K by Cunanan and Bizu once the Big Day’s over. Till then, I hope this helps all the Filipina brides out there scouting for a good caterer. Happy preps!

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The Author

I am 100% Filipina. I've lived in Manila, Jakarta, and London. Right now, I'm firmly planted in the tiny island of Singapore! I caught the travel bug early on. I also love reading, dark chocolate, spur-of-the-moment food trips, Fridays, dachshunds, and lazy weekends with my family or the Hubby.

14 Comments

  1. Jennylyn Del Mundo says

    hi Cinnamon Girl,
    Great Blog.. Im inspired to get kbyc as my caterer & stylist on my 2014 wedding..
    would it be possible to know the cost of the food and or styling rates?

    thanks,
    2014 bride

    • Hi Jennylyn! Sure. I can send you the quotes I have (drop me a message with your email). Small caveat: these quotes may be outdated so the best thing would still be to ask Kaye + team direct. Thanks for dropping by! :)

  2. Paula Roldan says

    Hi! Can I ask for the Bizu quote? Im getting Kaye too and as much as I like their deserts, Bizu is calling my name. Haha sent you my email. Thanks a bunch!

  3. annkelly1@ymail.com says

    awesome wedding and great blog too! we are planning to have a wedding next year too and thinking about getting K+team. Can you please send me the quotations of your wedding too if you don’t mind? Thank you :)

  4. Kathy says

    hi i love your post. very informative. :) im getting K by as well. Still thinking of bizu, can you send me a quote for the dessert bar please :)

  5. harriette says

    Hi there! I was wondering what the rate is for Bizu’s dessert buffet? If you would be so kind as to send me the rates pls, I would really appreciate it. Thank you!

    • Hi – Sorry for the delay in response! I’m afraid the Bizu package I have (from circa 2012) will be hopelessly outdated by now… would suggest you ask Bizu directly (at any of their stores).

      Happy preps!

  6. Dianne Caulo says

    Hello there! I love your wedding details! If you could send me the rate for the caterer. Thank you.

    • Hi Dianne! The quotes I have from K by Cunanan are quite dated… they’re circa 2012. I’ve sent this to you anyway, but it may be more helpful to ask her for an updated quote. Cheers!

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