Friday, October 18, 2013

Mario's Sunday Lunch Buffet at Tomas Morato

Nothing makes a Sunday morning better than a good brunch out with family or friends. My favorite brunch haunts are Wildflour in BGC, with their mimosas and fabulous Croque Madames, and Sweet Bella in Alabang with their yummy Eggs Benedict with wasabi hollandaise and a pot of their signature hot chocolate after the meal that can't be beat.

Brunch has never really taken off in Metro Manila, but with the classic restaurant Mario's in Tomas Morato offering their Sunday Lunch Buffet, I hope this starts to take off. Not one to be left out when food is concerned, I hiked all the way to Quezon City the first day of the lunch buffet to check it out in all it's naked glory!

You really can't miss the big Mario's sign along Tomas Morato - the restaurants around the area open and close, but this place has stood the test of time, with it's pine tree logo proudly showing off it's Bagiuo heritage.

The Sunday Lunch Buffet done the Mario's way is P750+ per adult and P580+ per kid. There are a few stations like the appetizer, soup, salad, carving, pasta, veggie, entree, and dessert - so there's always something to back to and try. This also comes with their famous Caesar's salad which can be served to the table upon request.

There were a few variants of assorted sushi to start the brunch off with. I'm not a fan of maki rolls with egg so I skipped this and moved onto the salads instead. There was a fresh cucumber, dill and yogurt salad as well as a macaroni salad. Both were a nice start but nothing really special.

There was a tiered tray plated with Oyster Rockefeller, Croquettas de Atun, and Bloomin' Onions. I think I must've gone back thrice for those Rockefeller Oysters. They were very fresh, happily soaked in butter and cheese, ready to slide down your throat like a little baby Koosh ball.

The Balsamic Tomato and Chorizo Fettuccine was heavy on the tummy, with the chorizo lending the dish most of it's flavor and the tomatoes taking out some of the spice.

I didn't bother to try the Creamy Tuna Pasta anymore. Next to the chorizo pasta dish, this looked boring and paled in comparison. Literally.

I liked how the Deviled Potatoes were a combination of my two favorite things. Although I wish they'd bake the potato again after scooping the insides out just to give the root vegetable a bit more texture. I couldn't really tell whether it was potato or egg yolk I was tasting at one point.

Out of all the entrée, the Beef Penang was my favorite. It may look like a lot of brown mush, but this was nice and spicy, with some crunch with each bite from the peanuts.

The Honey Lemon Glazed Roasted Chicken was sweet and juicy, something familiar and comforting to add to your colorful plate, and not to mention, kid-friendly.

The Steamed Fish with Saffron, Tomatoes and Beans needed a bit more oomph. I found it to be quite bland compared to the other mains on the table, but this is probably because I'm just biased towards the spicy beef dish.

On the carving station sat a very handsome Roast Beef, just waiting to be sliced up and promptly eaten. Quite pink on the inside, this was perfectly done, all I needed was some horseradish but they didn't have that, so I settled for gravy.

Of course, the Cochinillo was a hit at the buffet. This little piggy had a nice ratio of skin to meat and fat, and let off a nice little crunch with every bite. I didn't have to much of this, as I was making sure I had room for dessert.

I had my eye on the Chocolate Mousse and had two of these little shot glasses, each one holding whipped milk chocolate with a smidgen of cream on top.

I initially thought the Crème Brûlée was too small, served in little ladles, but as it turned out, the portions were just right. This was very, very sweet.

My friends all seemed to like the Sticky Bread Pudding, but I found it way too sweet, even sweeter than the Crème Brûlée! The brioche was soaked in a sweet, caramel sauce, made even sweeter with the sauce-soaked raisins.

Of course, no buffet would be compleete without a Chocolate Fountain. I didn't bother to try this, as I was saving some space in anticipation of another dessert.

And that was the Keylime Pie! This baby is beautiful! I have been in search for the perfect Keylime Pie in Metro Manila and I think I've found it! A crust that is firm enough to withstand being cut into with a knife yet soft enough to melt in your mouth, a sweet and sour citrus-y middle, and a light, creamy top all make for a lovely Keylime Pie, and although I doubt it's authenticity (really, where can you find Keylime in this country), Mario's version takes the cake!

So when mucking around Tomas Morato after hearing mass, or attending service, or waking up (whatever it is you do on a Sunday morning), head on over to Mario's, invite your friends or bring the fambam, and dig into a very filling Sunday lunch! Oh, and don't forget to order a slice of Keylime pie!

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+63 2 372 0360
191 Tomas Morato Ave
Laging Handa, Quezon City
Open Daily: 7:30am - 10pm