Thursday, December 18, 2014

Widus Hotel & Casino: Discover the Newest Culinary Hub at Clark Freeport Zone

The country's famed culinary region gets another welcome addition to its list of dining spots, with its wide range of flavors. And like they say, if it's good, you'll find it in Pampanga. 

Widus Hotel & Casino, the newest, and some say, the most luxurious property at the Clark Freeport Zone, is also gaining a reputation as Clark's new culinary hub. Apart from gaming, Widus Hotel & Casino clearly has another ace up its sleeves with its flavorful cuisine.

Executive Chef Johnny Rodriquez heads all the food and beverage outlets at Widus Hotel & Casino, bringing with him a wealth of experience gained from international stints. A Mexican national, Executive Chef Johnny Rodriguez also shares classic Mexican cuisine as part of the hotel's culinary offerings adding to the diversity of flavors.

At the casino's Malt Bar, one can sample the classic Fish Tacos with soft flour tortillas, a convenient meal in between a round at the gaming tables. The crisp breaded fish fillet is topped with shredded cabbage, simply squeeze some lemon, add some sour cream, some fresh pico de gallo, and some chili sauce and you're good to go.

Executive Chef Johnny Rodriguez combines the local favorite, pork sisig, with the classic taco for a unique fusion of flavors. The Sisig Tacos is another popular dish, topped with chopped onions and great with a beer. Refreshingly different yet comfortingly familiar, this is one dish you'll go back to time and again.

The classic Chicken Quesadillas is another popular option, with a crisp and chewy tortilla. The emphasis is on real food with real flavors served fast at Malt Bar, and traditional Mexican favorites work quite well to get you right back to the gaming tables.

At Salt Resto, the hotel's all-day dining restaurant, Executive Chef Johnny Rodriguez introduces us to an authentic Mexican Tamales, a traditional chicken mole wrapped in corn husk and steamed, topped with fresh shaved slaw, pickled red onions, feta cheese, and creme' fraiche. It's a taste of home for Executive Chef Johnny Rodriguez, and this is as authentic as it gets. Pair it with a refreshing Watermelon Margarita, and you've got a winning pair.

Looking for something light yet packed with bold flavors? Go for the Jamon Serrano, cured Spanish Ham on grilled baguette with French goat cheese, warm red grape vinaigrette, basil pesto and dried figs on a bed of mesclun greens. Pair it with a white wine sangria with its refreshing sweetness to balance the richness of the cured Spanish ham.

You can also find an interesting salad dish with a cool spin, the Watercress Salad, with crispy hoisin pork lardon, shaved green apples, Roma tomatoes, crisp onion rings, and sweet sesame dressing.  The crispy pork and onion rings add unique layers of flavors to the salad, with the fresh greens adding both texture and flavor. The sweet tartness of the green apples and tomatoes complete this dish. Pair it with a fine Shiraz to complete your dining experience.

Executive Chef Johnny Rodriguez then takes a crack at a local dish with his own inventive twist, Salmon Sinigang, with roasted Norwegian Salmon fillet in a traditional sour tamarind broth with roasted cherry tomatoes and okra. He then tops it with a crispy salmon skin chicharon and ebiko totally transforming the local dish into something new. The delicate buttery richness of the salmon contrasts with the sharpness of the tamarind broth, while the crisp salmon skin and fish roe add texture to the dish. This is your seafood sinigang taken to the next level. Pair this with a crisp chardonnay...perfect.

For dessert, Executive Chef Joseph Rodriguez created this simple yet indulgent dessert, infusing a local ingredient to give it an entirely new flavor profile. The Pavlova, with its signature crisp and chewy meringue topped with fresh mixed berries drizzled with calamansi honey vinaigrette. The sharp notes of the local calamansi balances the sweetness of the honey vinaigrette, bringing out the fresh tartness of the mixed berries. Pair this with a sweet sparkling wine for another winning combo. Executive Chef Joseph Rodriguez has so much more to offer, including an extensive selection of local, Asian and Korean dishes to satisfy any serious craving. If you don't get lucky at the gaming tables, you're guaranteed better odds and a winning hand at the dining tables of Widus Hotel & Casino.  

For more on Widus Hotel & Casino, check out my previous post here at You can also see more of Executive Chef Johnny Rodriguez and his unique and diverse cuisine here on my other blog at

Widus Hotel & Casino is located at M. A. Roxas Highway, Clark Freeport Zone, Angeles City, Pampanga or call +6345-499-1000. You may also contact the Manila Sales & Reservation Office located at Unit 2311, Cityland Herrera Tower, 98 V. A. Rufino corner Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati or call +632-840-1430 for inquiries or visit their website at

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