Upping the ante in the metro buffet scene
Two weeks ago, I found myself trying out two different buffet options—one at I’M Hotel in Makati and the other at The Grand Hyatt Manila in Bonifacio Global City. Both have unique dining concepts befitting their target market.
I’M Hotel has revamped its dining area, now called The Common Good and packaged as a food playground with the promise of spoiling guests with Asian cuisine options where no dish is priced above P400.
To complement its buffet spread, The Common Good has introduced signature dishes that can be ordered a la carte.
For healthy options, head to The Fountain and Paul&Ranuka food stations. Try the Green Egg Sandwich, an open-faced gluten-free sourdough with slow-roasted tomatoes, avocado, salsa verde, asparagus spears, and black olives, and I’M Hotel’s very own enzyme drink, made from 100 percent fresh organic fruit that is allowed to go through a secret fermentation process so that natural sugars are released, along with probiotics to aid digestion and promote skin radiance.
For those craving Indian food, the Tiffin station offers Prawn Masala (you can ask the chef to adjust the spiciness according to your tolerance level) and Roti Paratha, a South-Indian flatbread made by frying stretched dough that is flavored with clarified butter.
At the Al Dente station, Italian classics are given a playful Filipino twist. The iconic flatbread pizza is topped with sisig, and with egg to boot.
Guests hankering for Oriental flavors should make a beeline for the Empress Jade, One Bowl Wonder, and Perfect Four stations for fantastic dim sum, noodles, and Malay dishes. There is Nasi Lemak (fragrant rice with fried boiled egg, peanuts, small shrimp, green cucumber, and sambal to taste); Ebi Tendon (crispy shrimp in tempura batter and seasonal vegetables served on top of Japanese rice); and Dim Sum Platter (hakaw, seafood beancurd roll, and shu mai).
The South African-Portuguese dish Peri-Peri Roasted Chicken and the Honey Thick Toast (with mango, banana, and hazelnut or green tea and ginger) await guests at the Parilla and Sucre stations, respectively.
“The Common Good aims to make good food the common denominator of the experience of all our guests,” said I’M Hotel marketing manager Melissa Lim.
At The Grand Kitchen, which is the multi-cuisine, all-day dining restaurant of the iconic Grand Hyatt Manila, sustainability is the buzzword.
“We are a 100 percent sustainable kitchen. Food waste here is absolutely minimum,” said Executive Chef Mark Hagan.
“The whole kitchen is designed so everything can be cooked a la minute,” added Hagan.
There are, of course, ready-to-eat dishes such as the cheese platter, prawn cocktail, sashimi and sushi, bulalo soup, and steamed catch of the day which are complemented by dishes that are prepared a la minute.
The ebi tempura, for example, is served piping hot, ditto with the steaks and grilled prawn. There is also several choices for Japanese skewers, including Wagyu cubes, chicken wings, squid, shiitake, zucchini, and asparagus bacon. Pasta is likewise made to order—you have a choice of penne, pappardelle, and spaghetti to be paired with mushroom ragout, seafood, or pesto sauce.
Make sure not to leave The Grand Kitchen without trying their Hainanese chicken rice—a delicious complete meal on its own served with soup made from chicken broth and three dipping sauces.
“You can interact with the chefs while placing your order,” said Hagan.
“Instead of just exposing the dishes for too long until it is time to refill, we make sure that hot food is served hot and cold food is served cold,” he added.
I’m at [email protected]