Marriott Café at Marriott Manila has recently revamped its buffet offerings. I have been there a couple of times and enjoy the nice modern ambiance of the all-day dining restaurant and absolutely love their desserts. Timing their new food offerings for the summer season, one can expect a lot of new refreshing flavors. Recently, we were invited to check out Marriott Café once more after what has been a long while.
Those who have been to Marriott Café previously would no doubt recognize the oldies but goodies – the cold cuts, salads, sushi bar and Chinese station with roast meats and dumplings. I was pleasantly surprised to find the rarely seen mackerel and yellowtail sashimi during my latest visit as I didn’t recall seeing these previously.
I still have fond memories of the butcher’s grill station where diners can choose various cuts of meat and have them grilled to their liking. Medium rare is always good idea!
The carving station features meat coming from none other than neighboring Cru Steakhouse – which by the way is one of the best steakhouses I’ve tried in Manila. The prime ribs are tender and cooked wonderfully. You have the option of putting peppercorn or mushroom sauce or add some horseradish by the side.
The revamped pasta station is quite interesting. It comes with a colorful instructional guide to allow diners to personalize their meals. There’s also the option to choose the base to go along with the pasta – cream, tomato and pesto.
As a counterpoint to the pasta section, the restaurant also has a customized noodle station. This novel concept may look complicated but the instructional guide makes it easy to do. With the variety of noodles, vegetables, meats, seafood, stocks and sauces on offer, this station gives infinite possibilities in terms of your preferred noodle dish. I tried the seafood laksa as well as XO noodles with shrimp. Simply delicious.
The Filipino Station had also been enhanced compared to our previous visit here. I managed to spot classics such as bulalo, sinigang, sisig and chiracharon bulaklak. The bulalo was especially tender and came in a piping hot bowl of soup. For foreign travelers who stay and dine here, the station serves as a good introduction to local cuisine.
Another addition to the buffet is the Halal section. Rest assured, you don’t need to be Muslim to enjoy this. The selection varies from grilled vegetables, to macaroni and cheese, to mashed potato and to prawns palak.
A trend I’ve spotted in various buffets recently is the inclusion of food coming from sustainable sources. Marriott Café has this as well, via what it calls Manila’s Sustainable Catch and the Gambas Station. This section is filled with fresh seafood that is locally sourced to help promote our country’s fisheries. They have oysters, mussels, clams, crabs and shrimp. You can eat them fresh with lemon, grill them in butter or bake them with cheese. The Gambas station is surely a highlight of Marriott Café. From choosing the sauce to picking the shrimp, the various options definitely satisfied my hunger. I chose the classic herb butter shrimp and the baked mollusks with cheese. Simply amazing.
Like I mentioned previously, the dessert offerings of Marriott Café is a must-try. The pastry selection has a good balance of western and Filipino desserts. This means one can spot classic Filipino desserts such as buko pandan and braso de Mercedes alternating with cheesecake!
A new crepe station now graces the buffet, with plenty of toppings to choose from including unique ice cream flavors such as Palawan Walnut.
As I recall, Marriott Café used to have their halo-halo section beside the ice cream but for the convenience of diners, this has been pleasantly transformed into a roaming halo-halo cart. The first time I have seen such a concept, the cart went by our table already filled with the usual toppings. Diners just need to put some shaved ice and milk, and they’re good to go. One can also ask for ice cream if that craving for sweets doesn’t dissipate. Just ask and you shall receive. No need to stand up or fall in line.
Overall, I found Marriott Cafe’s revamped buffet concept to be a refreshing change. Compared to other hotel buffets and the restaurant’s buffet spread in the past, there’s greater focus in customization and DIY to allow diners to have exactly what they want. This brings about greater eating liberties especially to picky eaters like me. How many times have we been served a dish but found ourselves setting aside certain portions because we don’t eat A, B or C? Marriott Cafe’s buffet helps to alleviate that.
Marriott Café has several buffet concepts including the Sunday Brunch which I tried previously. Prices vary depending on the day – it can go as high as Php 2,500 per head for the Sunday Brunch or Ocean’s Harvest. For a limited time between 4th of May to 30th of June, Marriott Café is selling vouchers for Php 1,100 each which can be used any day. This includes the Ocean’s Harvest and Sunday Brunch (that translates to savings of up to 56%!).
Here are the usual prices of Marriott Cafe’s buffets:
Lunch (Monday to Saturday) 12nn – 2:30pm – Php 1,900
Dinner (Sunday to Thursday) 6pm-10:30pm – Php 2,100
Breakfast (Monday to Saturday) 6:30am-10:30am – Php 1,450
Ocean’s Harvest (Friday to Satuday) 6pm-10:30pm – Php 2,500
Sunday Brunch (Sunday) 11:30am-3pm – Php 2,500
Marriott Hotel Manila
10 Newport Boulevard
Newport City Complex, Pasay City
+632-988-9999 for inquiries & reservations
Contributed by Lawrence Ong