Residential haven likewise a hot new food destination
September 03, 2016  • Philippine Daily Inquirer

Can the north sector of the 100-hectare Ortigas Center—the properties along Meralco Avenue—suddenly turn into a flourishing gastro pub and craft cocktail scene? 

The question may seem appropriate considering master chefs and celebrity owners have set up their places just below the towers of The Sapphire Bloc, the area bounded by Sapphire and Garnet roads. 

The “invasion” includes chef Felix Fernandez at Cable Car; chef Jehrad Dolino at Moonshine PUB; chef Benjo Tuason at Sobremesa; chef Andres Soriano, chef Day Salonga and chef Mon Urbano at Cazuela; chef Taya Chua at The Stockpile; television hosts Grace Lee and Paolo Bediones at Kko; and Paul Perez at Papa Didi’s Handcrafted Ice Cream. 

Even the Starbucks outlet here is special as Starbucks Reserve dishes out a collection of rare and exotic coffees from all over the globe. 

What is fascinating is that a few years ago, this area is occupied by old buildings and grassy lots. The nearest places to dine or drink are located near or inside Robinsons Galleria, which is a few hundred meters away. 

One-of-a-kind retail mix 

But with the ongoing development of The Sapphire Bloc, a 8,421-square-meter, four-tower complex, Robinsons Residences is now creating a residential community that boasts a one-of-a-kind retail mix. 

“This area is now full of talented chefs that are slowly revolutionizing the food scene here,” noted Jackie Arceo, part-owner of Stockpile, which offers Western-inspired food as well as a variety of beers (Joe’s Brew on the list), cocktails and wines. 

According to chef Soriano of Cazuela, a restaurant that offers Spanish Colonial era recipes, today’s Ortigas crowd isn’t just looking for good food or hip restaurants. “They’re approaching each meal as a way to learn about culture.” 

Distinctive cuisine 

To feed that need, Soriano said Cazuela has crafted distinctive cuisine that digs into the history of the nation. “Gambas Al Ajillo and Baby Squids Al Ajillo are just some of our much-loved heirloom recipes,” he said. 

Robinsons Residences VP for sales and marketing May Lopez explained that The Sapphire Bloc’s unique selling proposition helped it won the “Best Residential High-Rise Development” award by the prestigious Asia Pacific Property Awards as well as the “Best Mid-Range Condo Development” and “Best Condo Development” from the Philippine Properties Awards last year. 

“The Sapphire Bloc’s modern Art Deco architecture definitely complements the food establishments here, creating that perfect setting for our residents’ and guests’ live, work and play lifestyle,” said leasing manager for Robinson Land, Jubie Vallarta. 

Once completed, the first phase (the now completed North and nearly finished West Towers) will offer 828 residential units while the second phase (East and South Towers) will have a total of 844 residential units.

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