Of hotel tweets, lamb heaven and expectations (Spiral, Sofitel Plaza Manila)

This year could very well be my year of buffets. I’ve had my fourth just over a week ago people. FOURTH!

Why do I even wonder why I gain weight again? Anyway…


My team at work agreed earlier this year that we shall grab the first group buying deal that will come our way for Spiral. Ensogo announced one and we got a voucher each. Unfortunately, I wasn’t available on the date the group set for us to use them so was I left all alone with one coupon. (I. Know. Right?!?)

Sadness, I thought. Who eats at a buffet alone? So I posted a tweet, which for some fortunate reason, got a response from…

Sobrang sakto lang ng timing. Hahaha! :-)

Amazing what social media can do, really. Right there and then I called up friends I know would say yes  (with some coaxing of course), and on the same night, we secured the Cash Cash Pinoy vouchers. Woot!

Fast forward to the 13th of August, my time at the much hyped buffet of Sofitel Plaza Manila finally came to fruition. Barkada milestone too. Hehehe…

Sofitel is one beautiful space (we checked out the area by the sea and immediately wished we stayed there for the night), and so is Spiral. In my opinion, of all the hotel restaurant buffets I’ve been too, it had the most pleasing layout. The huge sculpture stairway in the middle is one commanding piece of art. The various table arrangements were outstanding too. I loved the round table we had reserved. Makes for a good first meet set-up. :-)

Buffet tip # 1: Scout the entire first place before even assembling your first plate. Having a big picture of what the buffet offers will give you an idea how to navigate the place, how to pace yourself and which food you will be consuming. :-) Here are some snaps of the place before we started dining.

Cold cuts, always a destination for me at buffet spreads...

...and cheeses too!

Triple chocolate fountain. The dark chocolate was goooooood.

Glorious ham.

Sinful prime rib. Look at that pool of grease...

At that point, I was reprimanded by a (security?) staff. He instructed me to stop taking pictures. I was like: SERIOUSLY?!? To myself, of course. I was baffled as that was the first time that happened to me. Was it because I was using a DSLR? I saw a loooot of people taking pictures using their point and shoots. Anyway, I didn’t let that spoil my lovely night. I figured I‘d just take photos of my plates instead.

So, in keeping with tradition, here are the seven plates I feasted on. Again, please don’t judge me. Haha! :-P

Plate 1: Salmon and tuna sashimi, ebi and tako nigiruzushi. First time to eat octopus sushi!

Plate 2: Assorted dumplings, including hakao and scallops.

Plate 3: Black forest and air-dried aged beef, crackers, shrimp cocktails, assorted cheese, dried apricots and walnuts.

Plate 4: Ham, Lyonnaise potatoes, roast beef, grilled lamb and mint sauce. LAAAAAMB! Hands down, best plate of the night.

Plate 5: Shrimp tempura, fresh oysters, and salmon nigiruzushi.

Plate 6: Bailey's creme custard, two versions of panna cotta and blueberry crepe.

Plate 7: Crème brulee, pistachio and espresso ice cream, and fresh pineapples.

 The verdict?

1. Lamb success! The best lamb I’ve ever had in a hotel restaurant buffet, BY A MILE. Tender, medium rare, grilled, with a refreshing mint sauce to boot. We looooooved it. Alen and I had two. Hahaha!

2. The buffet mainstays, like my always present sashimi, shrimp, cheese, and blueberry crepe were good as expected. What stood out aside from the lamb were the tako nigiruzushi (octopus sushi, first time and I liked it!), the dark chocolate fountain (I appreciated that it was more bitter than sweet), the espresso ice cream (the texture was a bit grainy though), and the coffee. Weird for me to mention the coffee no? Haha! That night’s had a hit that felt like one’s being punched in the face. That’s why it’s good. It was so strong, I wasn’t able to finish it. And that, my friends, is unheard of. It was a perfect meal ender.

It's always a good idea to end a buffet with coffee, yes?

3. The three misses of the night were the air-dried aged beef, shrimp tempura and the panna cotta. The cold cut was way too salty for me (and I like salty food na ah), the shrimp tempura was too greasy (even the newly cooked ones), while the panna cotta had the texture that wasn’t anything like what I expected of the said dessert. I was especially bummed by the aged beef since that was the first time I saw it being offered in a buffet spread. And oh! Why no lobster?

4. Apparently, only Ensogo offered the deal with a glass of wine, so the six of us shared one. Hahaha!

Redefining "shared resource". :-P

5. Except for the camera police earlier mentioned, the service staff was very friendly and very attentive. I really appreciate the simple things like not having to ask for your glass of water to be refilled. They always seem to know when ours needed refilling. Plus points for that.

I’ve heard a lot of buzz – the title best buffet in town being one of them – prior to that night at Sofitel Plaza Manila’s Spiral so I really had high expectations. Were they met? To be honest, I’m not sure. Though we loved the food, and the selection was great, I was hoping for more mind-blowing moments like the one we had with the lamb. I found the selection lacking in the “food items you won’t find elsewhere” department too. Now don’t get me wrong, Spiral was amazing. It’s just that, maybe, the hype got to me first, before I was actually able to experience it.

How about a deal for an overnight stay here next time? Woot!

My fourth buffet experience of the year was memorable nonetheless, a huge part of which was attributed to the company I had that night. With that, I think my next one will be in 2012 na. The question is: am I going to eat these words soon? Read: Circles. :-)


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