Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dim Sum All You Can at Bellevue Hotel's Phoenix Court

Ever since I discovered the crazy beauty of dim sum buffets in New York's Chinatown, I have been trying to fill a void in my greedy, greedy soul for something much like my experience in the States. After two years of searching, I think I have finally found it in Phoenix Court in the The Bellevue Manila in Alabang of all places!

This is so much better in so many ways, as you don't have to stand in line for over an hour with a bunch of hungry tourists and irritated locals while waiting for your party to be called, you don't have to share a table with anyone, and although the dim sum does take a while to get to your table, you're pretty much assured that no other has gone through them in the kitchen who may or may not have sneezed on the basket you see before you.

Now that would be unfortunate.

Phoenix Court is at the new Tower Wing of Bellevue Hotel, on the second floor. The sprawling floor space takes the typical Chinese family into consideration, being that when they eat, they eat in clans!

The Dim Sum All You Can is priced quite affordably at P650++/person and P325++/child (6-12 years old) every Tuesday to Sunday for both lunch and dinner. There really is no excuse to try this place, especially if you live down south.

You have your big round tables that can fit a family of 10 with Lazy Susans in the middle to distract you with baskets of happiness from that annoying aunt whose only topic of conversation with you is always, "Ang taba mo naah!" to which you consciously have to stop yourself from saying something equally compsulting like, "Mukhang happy si tito ah! Sino po yung bago niyang mini-misis?" And then you smile, so she also knows you're joking. Maybe.

This will also probably be the same aunt who will also tactlessly say something that will totally kill your buzz at the end of the meal like, "Libre mo naman akomatagal ka nang nagtatrabaho eMayaman ka na siguro kasi kain ka ng kain sa labasMagkano na naipon mo?" Haha! As you can very well tell, I'm not a fan of clan outings or the passive-aggressive very Pinoy I'm-joking-but-not-really conversations.

Now, take out annoying auntie and replace that with the foodie fambam and things will definitely be looking up! Absolutely no judgement here! The Lazy Susan at the table I was sitting laden with goodies, we couldn't keep up with taking pictures of all of them as they were gone so fast!

I started out with the dim sum basics which included the Pork and Shrimps Dumpling Siomai done right. No cardboard here! This was nice and juicy and so nice with a little bit of soy and a lot of chili oil.

I don't know who ordered the Pork Spareribs with Tausi - I didn't try it but haven't heard any complaints from anyone, so I take that as a good sign.

A favorite at any dim sum buffet is the Crystal Prawns Dumpling Hakaw! Who can say no to glorious balls of peach colored hakaw, their think skin revealing the big chunks of prawns that make this dumpling so addicting. Actually, most of the prawn dumplings are pretty badass.

I didn't get to try the Water Cress Dumplings, as they were always out of them by the time I wanted to have a taste! Replenishing the dumplings can take a while - a good 15 to 20 minutes - so it's always better to order a lot since they all arrive at the same time anyway. But alas, even with re-orders I didn't get to try this, so it must be good!

The delicate Scallop Dumplings were a favorite of mine, and tasted like the kiss of the sea... wrapped in rice paper and steamed. No need for soy on this, maybe a touch of kalamansi and the tiniest spot of chili oil to add another layer of flavor to the dim sum.

Jericho was really hungry and wanted something a bit more filling than dumplings, so enter the Barbeque Pork Bun Siopao. I'm glad he was able to get a shot of it before it all disappeared. The simple asado is given an upgrade, using tender pork flaked marinated in barbecue sauce and folded into the fluffy bun. Who doesn't like fluffy buns?

The Fried Salmon Taro Puff was one of the weirder dumplings, with flakes of salmon wrapped in a taro puff with mayonnaise and a little bit of salmon roe for color. This wasn't something I went back for.

Another dim sum I found bizarre was the Mango Seafood Roll, which were chunks of prawn and mango deep fried in a wonton wrapper and served with mayonnaise. Wontons and mayo, I get, but the mango component just left me with a weird warm-yet-wet feeling in my mouth - and not in a good way.

The Xiao Long Pao looked pretty deceiving - all wrinkled up like some kind of shriveled bull's testicles, but it was still nice and soup-y (probably similar to bull's testicles) with ground pork and herbs making up most of the meat (probably unlike a bull's testicles).

My personal favorite was the slightly oily Shrimps in Wonton Wrapper, which were actually big prawns which were covered in shredded wonton wrappers and deep-fried 'til golden and crispy. Give it a good dunk in the sweet and spicy chili sauce before biting into it, letting out a loud crunch-crunch-crunch!

The dim sum buffet had so much more on offer that we either didn't try or didn't get to take pictures of, like the Cuttlefish Cake Served with Chili Sauce, Nori Shrimp Roll, Barbeque Pork Pastry, Crispy Pork Bun, Szechuan Duck Buns, and Glutinous Pork Pie to name a few, along with Deep-fried Sesame Ball Butchis, Chilled Mango Sago Cream, Chilled Almond Bean Curd with Longan, and Hot Taro Sago with Coconut Milk for dessert!

When mucking around Alabang and nursing a craving for dim sum and then some, you got to check out the Dim Sum All You Can at The Bellevue Manila's Phoenix Court! This is hands down one of the best dim sum places in town with one of the widest dumpling selections aside from soup and yes, rice!

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Phoenix Court
+63 2 771 8181 loc. 2211
2/F Tower Wing, The Bellevue Manila
Filinvest City, N Bridgeway, Muntinlupa
Open from Tuesday - Sunday: 11am-2:30pm, 6pm-10pm