This week marks the anniversary of the world living in various states of lockdown due to the pandemic. This pandemic has certainly changed the way we travel, socialise, work, celebrate, and dine. Most especially how we dine.
It’s been deemed that eating out in an indoor setting could be riskier than taking a bus. So it’s not at all surprising that most of us have relied on food delivery or home cooking for the past year.
But birthdays, even in lockdown, should be celebrated! Especially when it’s a milestone birthday. Like turning 40!
Yes I wanted to celebrate, but not risk my safety. I survived a whole year without getting any sniffles or cough (knock on wood), so I’m not about to jeopardise my good fortune.
So when I found out that Hilton Manila has introduced Vubble Pods as a safer way to dine in style, I was absolutely thrilled.
These vubble pods are air-conditioned and fully sanitised. And I don’t mean just your standard sanitisation. The pods are individually sanitised under the Hilton CleanStay standard, which they developed in partnership with RB, makers of Lysol and Dettol.
There are 6 of these pods scattered all over the lush, sprawling outdoor poolside garden of the Hilton Manila.
And how does it feel like inside the vubble pod?
Being inside the pod feels like entering a sleek and romantic collaboration between Hobbiton and the Jetsons! There’s a retro- space age, clean feel about it, but at the same time, the surroundings and inside the pod itself are filled with lush tropic foliage and greens so there’s definitely that romantic vibe.
What comes with the Vubble Pod Dining experience?
So what exactly comes with the Vubble Pod dining experience?
At about USD 210.00 for two, a dinner in one of their six pods offers you a welcome cocktail, gourmet entrées, and main courses coupled with wines and desserts. You can choose between a grilled chicken caesar or tuna tartar for starters, then garlic butter prawns and rib eye steak or a grilled half tiger lobster for the main course. Desserts include a delectable selection of European desserts such as compote and crepes.
Sanitation and Safety
Before I proceed to regale you with details of the food, I have to tell you about how they practised safety and proper social distancing when dining.
First, menu/food selection was already taken ahead of my visit. And I was assigned one dedicated staff, who was wearing a mask, face shield and gloves. He had very minimal interaction with me, yet provided such professional and courteous customer service.
There was also a QR code on the table where you can scan if you wish to see how your pod was sanitised and cleaned prior to your arrival.
All plates and utensils were cling-wrapped and sanitised wipes were available as well.
My starter was grilled chicken caesar salad with shaved parmesan and golden croutons. This was my second favourite in the entire course. Very refreshing and just the right amount to whet my appetite.
My main course was a Barbecue grilled half lobster, sauteed mushroom with garlic Bernaise and mixed vegetables.
The lobster was humongous! I liked that it really had that charred smokey taste. Towards the end of my main course, I happily had to use my hands to get most of the lobster meat out of the shell. The mix of sauces lent a very interesting texture and blend to the lobster.
My dessert was the mango compote and it was absolutely divine. The vanilla ice cream alone in this dessert is worth going to the Vubble Pod for. It’s extremely hard to find quality (like real quality) ice cream (or dairy for that matter) in the Philippines.
And the vanilla ice cream that they used for the compote was truly 110% up there in terms of the best vanilla ice cream I’ve ever had. Add to that the hardened chocolate and the sweet and tangy mango , and I could easily have downed 2 of these 🙂
Luckily I only had one mango chocolate compote because:
They gave me a birthday dessert! 🙂 This one was a very rich chocolate mousse which was the perfect finale to a wonderful evening. After all, calories don’t count on your birthday!
I would recommend trying out Hilton Manila’s Vubble Pod dining experience for milestone events, birthdays, anniversaries, and even just the sheer remembrance of dining safely during the pandemic!
I truly had a fantastic birthday dinner. And after living in lockdown for a year, it felt good to finally get out of the box and into the bubble.
Thank you to Hilton Manila for hosting me and making turning 40 much more fun. All opinions are my own.