Billy King at Prince Albert: One More for the Road

Chef Billy King, Prince Albert, Hotel Intercontinental closes

Chef Billy King returned to The Prince Albert at The Intercon for a one night only special dinner to bid the iconic restaurant adieu.

Chef Billy King, Prince Albert, Hotel Intercontinental closesThe new generation might not be familiar with Billy King but he is an exceptional chef who made a real dent in the Philippine culinary industry back in the ’80s. He was THE chef of Prince Albert who started the pan seared foie gras craze in the Philippines. Although Irish, he was THE authority when it came to French nouvelle cuisine in Manila.

Last December 9, it was great to see the King back in his element, reminding us all how to put the fine in dining. (Billy King lives a quiet life now as executive chef of The Manor in Camp John Hay and runs a luxury catering business. “Please don’t write about it, we don’t want to advertise,” he said.)

With his starters of carpaccio, terrine and escargot, King reminded old diners (and gave new ones a lesson) of his true mastery of the art of balance. The carpaccio, given dimension with the addition of scallops and shaved parmigiano, was perfect in serving its purpose of simply tickling the palate for what was to come. The escargot was light yet with bite. The duck liver terrine had the perfect balance of salty and sweet, the flavors delicate yet definite.

Billy King at Prince Albert Intercontinental Manila
Saumon et coquilles Saint-Jacques crues au poivre rose / Salmon and scallops with Pink Pepper Corn.

But the most memorable dish of the night for me was the seabass. I think it was with this dish that Billy King proved that he remains the King. This is the best seabass I have had all year. It was so beautifully soft. Think rose petals falling or a 3,000 thread count sheet. For all the new “fine dining” restos with molecular crap and visual deceptions going on in the industry, this one was a simple reminder that hey, fine dining has to be about the food. That you can eat. That is delicious.

Billy King, Prince Albert, Hotel Intercon
Loup de mer et jus d’homard au safron / Seabass and Lobster Stock with Saffron

Like the seabass, this lamb was also an ode to tenderness. It was also great to see truffles not stuffed in your face for display but serving the purpose of aroma and flavor.

Billy King, Prince Albert, Intercon
Carre d’agneau aux truffles noires / Rack of Lamb with Black Truffes

Dinner was capped with this chocolate mousse that was again beautifully balanced – not too sweet, decadently chocolately.

Billy King, Intercon Prince AlbertI have to admit, this King reigns supreme. Now if he would only come to Manila more often …

Billy King, Prince Albert, InterconPS. The Intercon will close its doors for good at the end of the year. (Related in the Inquirer: Goodbye, Intercon.). Chef Cyrille Soenen who was executive chef of Prince Albert in 2000 will also have a one-night only dinner tribute. However, this is now fully booked / now closed for reservations. Prince Albert, though, will remain open til the end of the year if you still have one last fix of that famous prime rib. Look for Rod. Call +632 793 7000 for inquiries.

PPS They have a room sale too!