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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Being fans of Vietnamese food, we also decided to have the Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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.
While in our opinion Ladurée’s is the best, Bizu’s macarons are still quite scrumptious.
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!