Thursday, April 10, 2014

Vikings Luxury Buffet at Megamall #EatLikeAViking

Although Vikings Luxury Buffet has been around for a while - with their first branch at the Mall of Asia, which then expanded to SM Marikina, and North Edsa - I hadn't yet step foot in the sprawling buffet place, but not for lack of trying, They are just always so full and the waiting list is always so long (I'm referring to the MOA branch), I always end up giving up and just looking for another place to eat. As you can tell, patience isn't one of my virtues.

So when the newest Viking Luxury Buffet place opened in SM Megamall, I told myself I was definitely going get in on that before it got too crowded! I figured that going there for lunch on a weekday would have less of a crowd and invited Jericho, his sister Justice, and the good ol' Dude For Food, Gerry, to come with. The Vikings tag line is #eatlikeaviking, and I was pretty confident Gerry would definitely represent in that respect!

On weekdays, lunch goes for P688/person and dinner is P888/person. On the weekdays and holidays, lunch and dinner are both P1,088/person.

We got to the restaurant, located at the 4th floor of Megamall's new Fashion Hall, at around half past 10 o'clock in the morning to a very long line of people! I was expecting maybe a handful of folks waiting to get in, but this was ridiculous! Even for lunch on a weekday, this place is packed with people.

I walked around the huge space after getting seated, just admiring the view and the decor. Each Vikings restaurant has a different theme, and this one happens to have a contemporary museum theme, with the bright colors, graffiti art on the ceiling, and statues in corners here and there to catch your eye when you pass them by. Very MoMA. Heck, even the bathrooms here are beautiful, with a lush green, nature theme going on using mosaic tiles to represent the fauna.

I was surprised at how big the restaurant is, fitting in the buffet tables, the kitchens, and the tables without everything looking cramped, as the restaurant can comfortably seat more than 500 guests!

The station that caught my eye first was the Japanese station, with the big Viking longship carrying an array of colorful sushi and different kinds of makimono. Although I don't think sushi was the stuff of Viking legend, this is one of the prettiest stations at the buffet.

I had my eye on the salmon and octopus sushi, but found them a bit dry from sitting out for most of the morning. Nevertheless, it wasn't something a little kikoman and wasabi couldn't fix!

The makis all looked very impressive on display, so impressive in fact, that they was also the first thing to run out of once the buffet opened. I have to hand it to all the chefs behind the counter, working incredibly fast to get the next batch of rolls out there for the guests.

I'm more of a sashimi girl myself, and was very content with the shake and maguro sashimi by the buffet line. Just look at how pretty that display is!

The California Temaki, or hand roll, was super cute, propped up on a wooden stand. I wish they had other temaki flavors aside from the boring old California roll, as this has a lot more flavor (and crunch!) than it's maki counterpart.

So this was plate #1 for me - a host of different sushi, sashimi, maki rolls, and a colorful temaki roll, which I shared with Jericho. He isn't a fan of raw anything, so he got most of the maki rolls while I contented myself with my sashimi and a dipping sauce heavy on wasabi. Yum!

If you're looking for something a little more continental, maybe cold cuts and hors d'oeuvres that tickle your fancy. I had my fill of smoked salmon, deli meats, and even caviar complete with all the fixins and blini! This caught my attention when I saw a sweet little old lady walking around with her plate piled on with blini, looking for the maple syrup. "Lola, hindi po 'yan pancake..."

They also have an assortment of pâtés, terrines and galantines for those who want something different on their charcuterie board. The Chicken Pistacio Galantine was really good!

Get a handful of dates, cranberries, or prunes to finish off your mini charcuterie board. I was hoping for some nuts and honey to go with it as well, but I couldn't find any. Come to think about it, I should've asked one of the servers - they may have had it in the back somewhere.

The cheese board at Vikings is very simple, with your Bleu cheese, Emmental, Cheddar, cream cheese, and a few soft cheeses I'm not familiar with.

I headed back to the table with plate #2, filled with smoked salmon and caviar with diced onions, crème fraîche, light shredded cheese and blini. The caviar didn't taste like much, which was expected, and was served more as a colorful topping to the salmon when piling them onto the tiny blini discs.

I got a little bit of everything at the cheeseboard for plate #3 as well as some of the available cold cuts. The cold cuts were surprisingly very good - one was slightly sweet while the other had a bit of spice. Of course, I went back for the spicy one.

I was really excited seeing the bread station - the breads were displayed on trays and baskets that were also made out of bread! Bread-ception! I had my eye on the mini croissants, but alas, they were as hard as pebbles when I tried to sink my teeth into them. There is a little oven by the station, so I recommend everyone to use it as the air conditioning really takes a toll on them. It's like they came right out of the fridge.

Aside from the sushi station, the Asian sensation station was next in line to have long, winding, queues. You've got your sweet and sour pork, steamed fish, spring rolls, and other Filipino favorites. I skipped this, as I can usually get this in most restaurants.

I was more interested in the Korean beef and spicy tteokboki, which was really more my thing since I love anything spicy!

For those looking for dimsum, Vikings Luxury Buffet has that too, with most of our familiar favorites like siomai and chicken feet lined up for guests to partake.

Justice got a few hakaw balls as well as the colorful taro paos, which were alright by buffet standards. They also have a jellyfish dish which is my favorite as far as Chinese appetizers are concerned.

Now with all that food, I was feeling quite parched, but as this was Vikings, I had quite a few options for you to choose from:

I'm not one for beer, this is more Gerry's beverage of choice, but if you like a cold one with your buffet, there's draft beer on tap for you to enjoy.

Aside from the soda fountain, they also have ice cold Milo, strawberry and blueberry lemonade, sago't gulaman, as well as coffee and tea. I came back quite a few times for the strawberry lemonade, which was quite refreshing and came with little strawberry seeds and crushed pieces of fruit.

There are also jugs of Twinings concoctions for you to choose from as well as a wine selection (you pay by the bottle) for those who want to kick their dining experience up a notch. The beverage section alone was overwhelming - I made quite a few trips to the little girls room because of it!

There's a grill station to one side of the restaurant where you can choose to get your meat and seafood grilled to your liking - medium rare, please!

You can also get your fill of fresh mussels cooked any way you want them - I prefer mine with lots of garlic butter and cheese, please!

Jericho came back from the station with plates #4 and #5 loaded mussels and prawns with aligue butter and freshly baked oysters covered with cheese. This stuff was the bomb!

The carving station also had a pretty long queue, with a full roast turkey, roast beef, and roast lamb ready to be cut into and served with gravy, horseradish, and mint jelly.

If you're looking for something of the porcine persuasion, Vikings also has porchetta - a moist, boneless lechon done Italian style. For those a  little more conscious of their weight, there's a roast chicken for you to enjoy, done the Savory way - crunchy crispy skin on the outside, moist, tender meat on the inside.

Enter plates #6 and #7, heaped on with pork, turkey, roast beef, lamb, roasted garlic, grilled corn, onion rings, and Yorkshire pudding. Now that's more than a proper Sunday roast... for lunch. In the middle of the weekday. We split this four ways, getting a little bit of each, as this was too much protein for one person!

Plate #8 was a bowl of sukiyaki Jericho and I shared. You can order this from any of the servers passing by - just tell them how many it's for so they know how much to put in the bowl -  and they bring the pot and burner over to the table and you heat up and cook the sukiyaki there. 

Surprisingly, the Vikings Luxury Buffet also has a fresh pasta station! Pick your pasta, your toppings, and your sauce, and the chefs behind the counter will put everything together for you and even have it served at the table. Justice got a heavenly truffle and duck ravioli, which was so divine we forgot to take a quick picture first!

We were curious to see how the fresh pasta was made and took a sneak peek behind the counter to see the pasta machine churning out oodles and oodles of noodles, with a few noodle batches just hanging out, waiting to be ordered.

Jericho got plate #9, a squid ink pasta with meatballs and a tomato sauce with freshly grated cheese on top. It looked like such a weird combination, I let him have it all.

I loved discovering some of the art pieces that were strewn about the large restaurant while walking around the place. We had this big Buddha head looking over us, situated next to the table we were seated at. One big square table had this lovely sculpture in the middle, which makes for a great conversation piece, too. That sculpture represented how I felt after my third plate of food - it was an uphill climb. Haha!

The pasta station is right next to the pizza station where you can get your fill of freshly made pizzas and flatbreads. I found this too thick and doughy for my taste. It was like something the guys at Pizza Hut would serve. But hey, if this floats your boat, go ahead and tuck in!

For a palate cleanser, I headed to the fresh fruit station and got my fill of oranges, sweet melon, watermelon, mangoes, and pineapple.

For those feeling a bit more adventurous in the dessert department, there's crêpe station where you can pick your filling and go wild with the choice of toppings - from all sorts of sprinkles, to gummy candy, and mini marshmallows.

There's a big station dedicated to petits fours, but I found they all kind of tasted the same. Nevertheless, they all did look quite pretty.

I had a better go with the cakes, tucking in to slices of chocolate cake, brazo de mercedes, and black forest. This all went down very well with a few teacups of Earl Grey. It was nice to see they use both Twinings and Harney & Sons for their tea selections.

The best dessert I had was something Gerry discovered off a kid while waiting his turn at the ice cream station. The kid asked for two scoops of dark chocolate in a glass, headed to the Milo machine, and turned it into a Milo float! It was pure genius! Gerry followed suit and was raving about how good it was, I had to give it a go as well! Ah, the simple pleasures in life.

We started our lunch at 11 o'clock and finished a little past 2. There was so much food to get through, and a whole lot of eating going on, we lost track of the plates we managed to finish. It was a really fun experience and one of the nicest non-hotel buffets I've been to, but I was really turned off by the people who would just hoard certain dishes (like the sashimi, tempura, hell, even the rice!), getting more than they can finish and leaving everyone else waiting for the next batch of food. It's a buffet, people! Get what you can finish and go back for more. They may not charge you extra for leftovers, but that doesn't mean you can eat "family style". Really, some people are just plain lazy.

When mucking around Mandaluyong and in search of a buffet place that offers fresh ingredients, wide choices of international cuisine, a luxurious ambiance, and value for money, check out Vikings Luxury Buffet at SM Megamall. With over 200 dishes to choose from, this is definitely worth every penny! And if it's your birthday, take advantage of their Birthday Promo and show any government ID and bring a friend along with you to get your meal for free! No wonder these guys are always full!

Just mucking around Manila,
Follow @_muckingaround on Twitter and Instagram.
Like the Mucking Around Manila fan page.

Vikings Luxury Buffet
+63 2 656 3888; +63 2 656 4888; +63 2 656 5888
4th Floor, Mega Fashion Hall, Bldg. D,
 SM Megamall, Julio Vargas cor. EDSA,