Marriott Café

Marriott Café


Pasta Rosa, Four Cheese Pizza and Prime Rib Roast

To frequent travelers, hotels are best judged by the comfort of their stay: from the ease of booking, courtesy while clocking-in, luxury during the stay, to the comfort while checking-out. Foodies on the other hand (or at least me and many of my friends), tend to judge hotels by their buffet spread. Ask us for hotel recommendations and most likely, we'll enumerate the hotels which made the most impression in our tummies. As dire lovers of food, I guess that's just requisite.

I was recently invited to visit the fairly new Marriott Hotel Manila in Newport City. Now, the hotel may be one of metro's latest addition to its ever burgeoning hospitality industry, but as we all know, the brand definitely isn't a newbie in the business. Like any other hotel of the 5-star caliber, Marriott boasts of a sprawling complex housing 342 guest accommodations, an impressive ballroom, plenty a function room, a well-constructed spa, classy business centers, and a much-frequented casino. Take a step into the bright and spacious lobby of the hotel and there's no denying of the grandeur.

Marriott Café
Feast in the bountiful selections of Marriott Hotel Manila's buffet restaurant which features premiere cuisines from all over the world. Executive Chef Harry Callinan invites everyone to partake in Marriott Cafe's offerings.

But as you've guessed right, it's in their dining options I'm most interested in. What's a better way to assess the promised luxury of the hotel than partaking in a buffet in its flagship restaurant: Marriott Café?

So there I went, with expectations a notch higher than normal since the resto boldly carries the brand's name. Together with two friends, I raided Marriott Cafe's selections armed with nothing but an empty and very hungry stomach.

Mariott Cafe's spread was not overhwelmingly large, but it was definitely spacious-- middle range, I would say.

I found it odd that the first thing that greeted me upon entering the establishment is the mouthwatering spread for desserts. On top of the marble table lay a smörgåsbord of meal-enders: fresh fruits, cakes, pralines, tarts, mousse, and whatnots. I would like to think that this is their way to remind those who would indulge in their buffet to save some space for these must-tries. As tempted as I was to pick up that divine-looking chocolate slice at once, I mustered enough resistance and proceeded to touring the restaurant.

Right across the dessert tabletop was obviously their pizza station. The huge brick oven right behind them,stacks of canned tomato sauces and the busy, dough-tossing chef gave that away. I expected the bread, butter, and cold cuts next to it but, oddly once more, the section where seafood are semi-buried in ice came next.

From then on, I erased the typical buffet layout pictured in my mind (as Marriott obviously thought of it differently) and just proceeded to taking mental notes on which to revisit later. The roast looked particularly inviting. A lot were frequenting this station, in fact. There's the Indian station right next to it, but I wasn't really craving the cuisine so I skipped it. Next to it was 3 or so Filipino viands which I wasn't also in the mood for that time.

After passing an aromatic pasta counter where in different spices and sauces are lain out in the open, I finally found their Japanese selection. To my delight, a chef was slicing the sashimis from the fresh fish slabs. Although I found the Japanese selction a bit limited, I was happy to find all the basics in there. "Get as much salmon as you can," read my mental note.

The farthest portion of the buffet spread had their Chinese selection where the dimsums and the obligatory hanging glossy poultry by the window can be found. From there, retreating to your table will lead you into the island table top where the salads,cold cuts and breads are beautifully arranged.

After taking the appetizing tour around the restaurant, I immediately got my plate and stuffed it with my essential appetizers: salmon sashimi, tempura, maki, and asaparagus. This is how my first plate looks like in every single buffet I eat in.

There's no question that the salmon slabs are fresh: bright pink, firm, and glossy. Tempura is okay, not spectacular, but decent. My next plate, with more sashimi on, wasn't that much different from the first.

After a number of salmon slices, I finally moved on to breads, nuts, cheese,and cold cuts. As their breads and cold cuts are not labeled (something they should improve on), I have no idea how should call these lovely palate pleasers I got. All I know is that they fed me well and provided me a good transition to the main fare.

I've gotten myself a plate of dimsum, grilled shrimp, Pasta Rosa (a mix of white and red sauce, their specialty), lechon kawali, and some remarkable four cheese pizza. I took more of those I enjoyed much (pizzas and grilled shrimps). But I believe the highlight of the feast is their prime rib roast.

Pasta Rosa

Four Cheese Pizza and Prime Rib Roast

We all gave the star of the lunch our unanimous approval. Very tender. Cooked just right. Impossibly moist and flavorful. These are just some of the remarks it garnered. The addicting pepper sauce made it triply good. No wonder the carving section is the busiest among the live action stations. A piece of this steak is well-worth the price.

After two or so servings of the steak, we proceeded to the desserts which never left our minds since we first saw them. I got myself a decent slice of sansrival (aptly crunchy), chocolate slice (heavenly!), blueberry cheese cake (the cheesecake part must not be missed), and some serving of their almond ice cream. Perfect way to end my meal, I must say.

It was a pleasant surprise that our lunch resulted to something better than I expected. I knew I was not up to the longest and most varied spread in the metro. Priced at P1350 nett for weekday lunch and dinner, and P1650 nett during the Sunday brunch, Marriott Cafe's buffet isn't also the most affordable. Judging from the layout, it isn't even the most organized. But despite the lack of something extreme as their claim to fame, there is no denying that Marriott Cafe offers something artful and mastered that only a long-time player in the business can give. Yes, its concept of live-action kitchen in almost every section of the restaurant is something praiseworthy as it allows the customers a peek to the theater of it all. But more than that, Marriott Cafe offers whatever it is they are good at. And sometimes, that's more than just enough.

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