Agnes Huibonhoa elevates Japanese street food with an elegant setting and a European touch for an afternoon merienda
When Agnes Huibonhoa invites friends over to her elegant residence, she likes to keep it comfortable and relaxed. The casual atmosphere, notwithstanding, the Honorary Consul of Gambia will prepare a gustatory spread set tastefully on a table with a story. The proportions of the 10 feet long and four feet wide glass tabletop could not be accommodated in the elevator. It took four able-bodied men to carry the glass tabletop 23 flights up before settling it under the Baccarat chandelier in her dining room.
Everything gleams on the table with the light reflecting from the crystals overhead and the Venetian mirror strategically hanging on the wall alongside. The effect of brilliance is dramatic and brightens the already softly lambent interiors.
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Dolls on the Table
Her tablescape is enlivened by floral arrangements in pastel hues. Among these, the household staff sets the Bernardaud around the 10-seater. One of the themes that Agnes does is Japanese-inspired. For this, she brings out her collection of Hina dolls, the hand-crafted figures made in Japan for the Hinamatsuri festival. The china dolls with pyramidal figures are dressed in rich, elaborate material. These have silk hair, hands carved from wood with glass eyes. Agnes likes to collect fine souvenirs from her travels and uses these to enhance the table settings.
Taste of Europe
The food she prepares for merienda gatherings are small bites of flavors. For the Japanese themed mid-afternoon gathering, she put together a selection of Japanese street food, desserts and several cheeses with walnuts, almonds and apricots. The menu brings east and west together both for variety and also because she is partial to the European plate that serves an alternative to sweets. She serves light-bodied cheese that are lower in fat.
Agnes follows the rule of thumb to offer a maximum of three cheeses so as not to overwhelm. Complementing the cheese are dried fruits and nuts that serve to highlight the nutty taste of cheese. She also adds grapes for a refreshing finish.
Scroll down to see more photos and details from Agnes Huibonhua’s Japaense street food feast…
This article was originally published in our latest coffee table book “Lifestyle Asia. Millennials. Travel. Entertaining.” To see more parties from Manila’s most discerning hosts and hostesses, you can purchase the book by sending us a private message on Instagram (@lifestyle_asia) or on our Facebook page. The book is also available in leading bookstands.
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