Being a groupon addict that I am, I never let a good deal pass whenever I spot one at group buying sites. I love saving money and getting the most out of it, especially in food deals. That's why when I saw Ensogo's deal for Manila Pavilion's Seasons restaurant, I didn't hesitate to purchase since I still have some money anyway.
However as much as I love food and buffets, I see to it that I do enough research first before trying out a new food destination. Although Seasons is situated in a reputable hotel, I've read some reviews that it doesn't offer a wide variety of food, but we still gave it a try since 50% off in a hotel restaurant is a steal anyway.
We arrived at Manila Pavilion less than an hour before their dinner service. The hotel lobby was spacious and feels very welcoming -- definitely a comfortable waiting area for hungry diners like us.
Come 6PM, we proceeded to Seasons' entrance and gave our vouchers to the restaurant manager. Being an early bird really pays off as we were the 2nd set of people (a lone middle-aged man being the first one) to grace the beautifully-decorated restaurant interior and the delicious-looking spread of Seasons.
There were 4 live stations in the restaurant -- salads, appetizers and desserts; Japanese and Chinese cuisine; cooked foods; and a pizza, pasta and grilling station.
Let's begin the food porn with appetizers.
Seasons also have different soups, Seafood Chowder, Hot Sour Soup and Miso Soup. Various ingredients are also available to make your own soup.
They also have different kinds of bread, along with various cheeses and spreads, as well as dried fruits and nuts.
Fresh vegetables, fruits and other add-ons were also made available for salad lovers.
There are also cold items for grilling or baking. They have mussels, crabs, oysters, various fishes, as well as chicken, beef and pork meat.
At the Japanese and Chinese station, are my all-time favorites -- sashimi, sushi and maki! Seasons' selection is very limited compared to other buffets I've previously tried though.
They also have various tempura -- shrimp, fish and squid. Just ask the chef to make a plate for you if they run out of your fave tempura dish.
There were also some dimsum offerings at the buffet table -- shanghai rolls, siomai and steamed spareribs.
And to complete the Chinese cuisine, they have roasted duck, along with adobo, sweet and sour pork, and other Chinese dishes.
At the next live station, they have roasted chicken, beef and pork, along with pizza and customizable pasta.
Completing the buffet spread with the much needed carbs are Seasons' cooked food offerings.
And to top everything off are the very colorful and diabetes-inducing eye candy of every buffet -- the delectable desserts.
Along with the food selection, unlimited fresh mango and orange juices are also available.
There were more food items in Seasons' buffet spread aside from the ones I've featured. However, people have started coming in as I was in the middle of my food pornoshoot. (And yes, I wanted to start eating already.)
WHAT WE GOT
If you have read my previous buffet adventures, you'd know by now that I always start a buffet meal with my favorite comfort food, Salmon sashimi and assorted sushi.
Sashimi is always good for me as long as it's fresh and paired with wasabi-infused soy sauce. However, Seasons' Salmon sashimi is one of the tastiest I ever had. Even my date gave it his seal of approval. I don't know what Seasons did to these tasty slices of Salmon sashimi. They might've done nothing to them. But whatever it is, either done on purpose or a chance of luck (maybe it's just a good catch?) we love it! Period.
However, as much as we loved the Salmon sashimi, the sushi and maki rolls didn't deliver the same gastronomic goodness. They weren't bad though, in other words, just so-so.
I also sampled some interesting gourmet-looking sushi.
This lovely-plated kani sushi is eye catching and looks delicious. However, it is just plain sliced kani atop a fried roll of rice, with sweet teriyaki sauce and a mango garnish. Nothing really special here.
Same goes to this fine-looking kani maki with wasabi mayo.. It looks good, but tastes ordinary.
However, it was different for this small plate of Tuna appetizer with pickled ginger in lemon liqueur.
I was curious as to how this small piece of food will taste. And after munching on it, it was a firework of different flavors -- sweet, tangy and raw. Yes, I can't think of any words to describe the tuna, but raw. I actually have a mixed feeling for this plate. I like the sour lemon taste and sweetness of the pickled ginger, yet whenever I taste the raw Tuna, I cringe.
To wash away the confusing taste, I got a bowl of Miso soup. At first, I was quite disappointed since the soup doesn't have tofu nor wakame seaweeds in it. There were no separate bowls for them either. However, after a spoonful of this soup, I understood everything. The soup has a strong miso and dashi taste, without being fishy. The tofu was generously infused into the soup too, so every spoonful is a flavorful treat.
I also got a plate of mixed cheeses -- goat, brie, herbed goat and Swiss cheese, dried fruits, pistachio nuts and breads.
I'm not really big on cheese, but I enjoyed eating it with Zopf -- a golden crust braided Swiss bread. If only I can have this every morning, I wouldn't want to skip breakfast anymore.
Being the unstructured and unorganized eater that I am, I went to get soup for the 2nd time. But this time, a bowl of their Seafood Chowder.
The soup was thick and creamy, not too flavorful and not that special as well. It was okay, but it was probably the most forgettable part of my dinner.
After checking the buffet stations again, I came across the Hot Sour Soup. If you've read my previous review, you'd know that Hot Sour Soup is my family's default soup order. So curious of how Seasons' version would taste, I grabbed a bowl.
The soup was not as thick as I expected, and it doesn't have a lot of meat and mushrooms either. And what lacked visually, continued to lack taste-wise. Is it sour? Yes. Is it spicy? No.
After the disappointing Hot Sour Soup, I grabbed some Salmon sashimi and went to check the appetizers station. Delving into the world of unknown is fun, yet risky. That's how I felt after grabbing some unfamiliar rolls of appetizers.
The ham and pickle roll, along with the mushrooms were familiar appetizers that tasted mediocre. However, the 2 unfamiliar rolls didn't satisfy my palate. The colorful one was filled with red and green bell peppers. (Not a big veggie fan here!) The second one, on the other hand, was too bland even if I added mango puree. So it's either they really don't taste good or I just don't know (and like) them.
I tend to avoid Chinese food (okay, except for soup) whenever I eat at buffets. But curious as how Seasons' Chinese offerings fare, I sampled a few items.. From my date's plate.
He got some shanghai rolls, siomai and steamed spareribs. The shanghai rolls and siomai were ordinary, but the steamed spareribs were good. They were soft, moist and flavorful. My date loved it to bits!
We also got some oysters and had them baked with cheese. It was nice that I get to personally pick the oysters I want for baking. However, it seemed like a self-service thing since they wouldn't deliver the baked oysters to our table.
As if the drama over baked oysters wasn't enough, the taste of these sea dwellers also didn't make up for all the effort and waiting. It was raw, fishy and watery -- the total opposite of the way I want my oysters. Even my date didn't like them since we expected the baked oysters to be cooked a little salty, a little sweet and with a silky yet creamy texture.
We also asked the chef for some baby back ribs, a perfectly safe choice for pork.
However, the meat was very hard and a little dry. These baby back ribs were probably cooked earlier, then just re-heated.
Although a bit hesitant to try their other pork dishes, we still asked the chef to cook us some pork barbeque and grilled liempo.
Surprisingly, these were delivered to our table. And another surprise is that these actually taste good. Both the pork barbeque and grilled liempo were tender, moist and flavorful. I liked the pork barbeque more though, but my date thought the grilled liempo tasted better.
After sampling almost all the dishes in Seasons' spread, we went to try the offerings from the cooked foods section.
I just got some paella and a few pieces of potatoes. The rice in the paella is nothing to boast of. It was even lacking in taste. However, the crab that comes with it was perfectly cooked -- meat was tender and packed with flavor.
My date also grabbed some paella, adobo, fish fillet, sweet & sour pork and a beef viand.
Among all these food on his plate, he says that only the adobo tasted great. The meat was tender, juicy and flavorful.
After the long dinner, we finally got to the good part -- desserts.
My date only grabbed a donut for his meal-ender. He got the one with the chocolate chips on top. I, on the other hand, skipped the donuts and delved into the greatness of Crème Brûlée, Blueberry Panna Cotta and Fruit Salad.
The Crème Brûlée was ordinary though, maybe below average even. The caramelized sugar on top lack that crisply-heated texture, while the custard filling was too soft and a little soggy. The Blueberry Panna Cotta, on the other hand, was great. The gelatin parts were sweet and creamy and the blueberries were not too tangy and not too sweet. It had a nice balance, even further complemented by the whip cream and mint leaves on top.
However, the Fruit Salad was another disappointment. I initially thought that the white strips were of fresh young buko (coconut). But as I take my first spoonful, it turned out to be macapuno -- a sweetened variety of coconut, which was too dry and hard for the Fruit Salad.
To help us get rid of that over-stuffed feeling after a hearty meal, we asked for a cup of tea (for me) and coffee (for my date). It was the manager who served our hot beverages and even brought us packets of sugar and a cup of milk.
After having a few sips from my cup of tea, I grabbed the milk and poured some on my tea cup. And, lo and behold, my own concoction of milk tea! It wasn't sweet, but it was creamy and clean-tasting.
After the long dinner, both my date and I went home stuffed. Although Seasons' buffet spread is quite limited compared to other hotel restaurants, I personally think that we got our money's worth. I got our vouchers for only P488, even a bit lower than Ensogo's selling price of P650. Some of the food items were not good. However, there were some that stood out and were even added to our "best [insert-name-of-food-here]" list.
Being situated in a hotel, the ambiance of not only the lobby but also the restaurant interior was even a big plus, along with the commendable service of the staff especially Mr. Abe -- one of the restaurant managers.
It was quite unfortunate though that we dined on a Monday. I just found out that they have "Flavors of Singapore Thursdays" and "Seafoods Ahoy! Fridays" which would've probably boosted up my rating for Seasons. But nonetheless, our experience with voucher-dining at Seasons was a memorable one.
Will we purchase discounted vouchers for Seasons again? Yes. Will we dine if we are to pay full price (P1,400/pax)? No.
If you're interested on this deal, Ensogo's having a flashback sale for Seasons buffet at Manila Pavilion.
Ambiance - 5/5
Service - 4/5
Deal Price - 5/5
Original Price - 2.5/5
Overall Value - 4/5
(Note: Overall Value rating is for the discounted voucher amount we paid.)
Voucher Amount - P650
Weekday Lunch - P1,400
Weekday Dinner - P1,500
Flavors of Singapore Thursday - P1,500
Seafood Ahoy! Friday Dinner - P1,700
Filipino Brunch & Dinner Saturday - P1,500
Seasons, Waterfront Pavilion Manila
G/F Waterfront Pavilion Hotel,
U.N. Ave. cor. Ma. Orosa St.
Manila, Metro Manila