Monday, October 28, 2013

Marriott Hotel Manila: Dinner Buffet at the Marriott Café

The crème de la crème of buffets in Manila can usually be found at the nicest hotels! There really is something quite marvelous about a hotel dinner buffet - whether it be how everything just looks so fresh, watching in silence a the cooks get to work behind the stove or grill, churning out delicious dish after dish, the efficiency of the staff in replenishing the food, and just how visually overwhelming the whole scene is.

A pet peeve of mine at buffets is the very loud family at the next table who hog all their favorite entrées, piling the whole tray of food onto one plate and proudly bringing it back to the table like it was a trophy of some sort, leaving nothing for the next sorry sod in line. Everyone has probably been witness to this ghetto behavior at least once in their life.

Thankfully, you don't get scenarios like that at Mariott Manila's Marriott Café dinner buffet. A very reasonable fee lets you enjoy a wide variety of cuisines, and as much of it as you want, all in the same space. Wonderful.

Read more on Marriott Hotel Manila:
Marriott Hotel Manila: VIP Treatment at the Executive Lounge
Marriott Hotel Manila: A Relaxing Afternoon at Quan Spa
Marriott Hotel Manila: The Birthday Staycation
Marriott Manila's Festive Treats: Christmas Hampers
Marriott Manila's Festive Treats: Thanksgiving's Turkey to Go

My usual buffet dinner starts at the cheese section. Marriott Café keeps it simple with their offerings of brie, cheddar, and Edam. Bling it out with some nuts and a few pieces of dried fruit on the side or nom on this while taking a break in between plates.

Along with the mini cheese platter, you can pair your churned dairy of choice with a few cold cuts like pastrami, salami, or panchetta. 

If you consider yourself a salad connoisseur, you'll be quite happy with Marriott Café's salad bar. They have everything from the simplest cucumber salad to the more complicated types. I might have been Russian in a past life since I kept coming back for the potato and earthy beetroot salads.

If you'd rather put your own salad together, you have an assortment of oils you can use to finish your masterpiece off. And if you have a vegetarian, vegan, or raw foodie with you, they will definitely appreciate the array of choices!

The sushi bar could use a bit of work, mostly serving different kinds of makimono. I'm more of a sushi purist when I dine buffet style and was looking for the tuna and salmon sashimi every time I'd pass by. Where is it?

The shellfish station was my favorite, with piles and piles of freshly boiled prawns neatly arranged, eager to be plucked out of it's icy home and onto a plate, then unceremoniously slathered with cocktail sauce and heartily consumed. Like a bawse.

I went a bit overboard with the prawns, but the crayfish made me one very happy camper! A generous smattering of more cocktail sauce was all I needed to enjoy a few of these bad boys. Yes, a few.

How do you like your curry? Aside from the other pre-cooked dishes on the line, Marriott Café also has a curry station, where you can put together your favorite curry combinations and tweak the heat to whatever level of spiciness you can handle. This way you know exactly what (and how much) of an ingredient is going into your laksa.

For the carnivores like me, this beautifully prepared prime rib eye should make you very happy. This is something I kept coming back for. A lovely shade of pink on the inside, this was fork tender and went nicely with my potato and beetroot salads.

The Mongolian grill is also set up for you to customize your bowl. Pick and choose between your meats, your veg, nuts, and the amount of noodles or rice you'd want in your stir-fry, as well as how sweet or spicy you want it to be and watch as the cook flips and mashes everything up for you 'til you can hear your tummy growling in eager anticipation. Be careful you don't burn your tongue!

For my pre-dessert, I enjoyed the plethora of fruit afforded to me by the lovely fruit station! Fresh mangoes, watermelon, dragonfruit, oranges, watermelons, papaya, and kiwis piled onto my plate, along with another plate just for the kiwis and my favorite mangosteens.

Going back for some real dessert, I had to give their Bread and Butter Pudding a go. As the name suggests, this is really rich, and made even richer with the optional sauces of cream, chocolate, strawberry, and what I can only guess is lemon, to take away the cloying factor that you get with most bread puddings.

And of course, the ceremonial chocolate fountain is always a must, with everything from pieces of fruit, to brownie bits, to soft-baked cookies for you to dip into the dark, chocolate-y waters.

Marriott Café doesn't end it as that. Why not cover the chocolate morsels of your choosing with mini marshmallows, buttons of white chocolate, flecks of green chocolate, a berry sauce, and even assorted chocolate rocks! I loved this chocolate fountain. It was epic!

And if choux pastry is what your tastebuds fancy, Marriott Café has a lot of that, too! I couldn't go back enough for the mini cream puffs and eclairs, not to mention the mini fruit and blueberry tarts.

When mucking around Manila and in quite a celebratory mood, give the dinner buffet at the Marriott Hotel Manila a whirl, reasonably priced at P1,850++/head (Sunday - Thursday) and P2,300++/head on Fridays and Saturdays.

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Marriott Hotel Manila
+63 2 988 9999 local 8090
No. 10 Newport Boulevard
Newport City Complex, Pasay City