Everyone is already familiar with Vikings, the luxury eat-all-you-can buffet at San Miguel by the Bay. However, it has been overly crowded and reserving for a table has started to be a problem. And with the continuous rise of the buffet trend in the food industry, another eat-all-you can player enters the buffet arena just at the other end of the bay, aiming to get a share from the Vikings goers. Yes, it's the newly opened Buffet 101 (from the owners of Yakimix) just near Microtel.
Buffet 101 is also branded as a luxury buffet. It has an interior almost at par with 5-star hotel restaurants -- with lavishly decorated space, posh ambiance and elegant decors.
A few days before Christmas eve, my date and I went to the eat-all-you-can restaurant as early as 2:30PM to reserve for a 5:30PM dinner for two. Yes, we're too excited to dine at Buffet 101. Who wouldn't be anyway as this sophisticated luxury buffet has already been creating a buzz on the internet even if it only started serving customers last November 29.
Fast-forward to our Buffet 101 dinner, it was a nice thing we were already waiting for its posh entrance to open even before 5:30PM. We were able to grace the lovely-decorated space before hungry diners started to flock. (Good for me, I got to take tons of shots before plates were half empty!)
Although there were less food stations unlike its rival, Buffet 101 also offers a lot of gustatory delights. There were a variety of meal starters, a fair share of Japanese cuisine, an array of Chinese foods and dim sum, a set of cooked dishes, some cold seafoods, a grilling and carving station and of course, the desserts section.
They had different kinds of breads, cheeses, soup with puff pastry, salads and other hors d'oeuvre. They even had fries and nachos, as well as other international finger food favorites.
I also checked their humble Japanese station. It had some sashimi, assorted maki, ebi and kani tempura, cold soba and miso soup.
Although their Japanese section only had a few items, their Chinese station on the other hand, was pretty interesting. They had different dim sum items, a live suahe station and even Peking duck.
I'm not really fond of cooked dishes in eat-all-you-can buffets, but my date found interest in Buffet 101's cooked foods.
I, on the other hand, found myself staring and drooling over their seafood delights. They had shrimps, fishes, crabs, mussels, oysters and other yummy sea creatures.
For barbecue lovers, they have a selection of grilled items -- beef, chicken and pork barbecue, as well as grilled liempo (pork belly). They also have some striploin and ribeye beef, as well as lamb chops by order.
And for the perfect meal enders, they have fresh fruits, pastries, a chocolate fondue and other yummy-looking desserts
Like its rival, Buffet 101 also prides itself by offering unlimited drinks from coffee, tea, fresh fruit juices, smoothies, sodas and even draft beer.
WHAT WE GOT
It's been several weeks since our last buffet adventure, so we let our hearts out and got everything we fancied. Of course, I started my buffet dinner with generous servings of my Japanese favorites -- salmon, tuna and tako sashimi, unagi nigiri, California temaki, some ebi tempura, and a hot bowl of miso soup.
My date also went crazy on the Japanese offerings and got each of every maki, along with some sashimi. And while all the sashimi looked and tasted fresh, the makimono on the other hand, tasted ordinary.
Even though I already filled my tummy with tuna and salmon sashimis, I still grabbed a small serving each of the tuna and salmon appetizers.
Both appetizers didn't only look enticing, but tasted good. The tuna was soft and a little tangy. The salmon with dressing on the other hand, tasted savory and was even nicely complemented by the veggies.
Being a shrimp lover, despite and in spite of hypersensitivity, I got myself a small bowl of freshly steamed suahe from Buffet 101's live suahe tank.
The cooked suahe had a beautiful orange-salmon color, and they tasted amazing! They were a little salty and sweet. Even without any sauce, their natural flavors can already stand out on their own.
My date and I both got some Chinese food fare too -- some Asian cold cuts, spareribs, siomai, chicken feet, wrapped Peking duck and other dim sum items.
Buffet 101's Chinese offerings are quite abundant both in quantity and in taste. They were good for being an eat-all-you-can buffet selection.
Since my date is a big eater of cooked foods in buffets, he didn't miss the cooked dishes in Buffet 101 and got himself a generous plate of various items which he willingly shared with me.
And while I check the smoothies section afterwards to get some watermelon and mango shakes, I didn't know that my date was already doing a major food hoarding that will jeopardize our buffet eating strategy. Yes people, he went around, got everything he liked and dumped them on our table. First, we savored some baked mussels and baked oysters with cheese.
While I am a fan of baked seashells with cheese, the cheese pimiento-ish taste of the mussels and oysters threw me off. It was good, but it was tiring on the taste buds. My date also got us a plate of grilled meat, one with barbecue sauce and one with garlic mushroom gravy.
Both were quite good, except that I was already becoming too full. We also got to sample the striploin beef, ribeye beef and lambchop. All cooked to medium doneness.
Everything on this plate tasted great. All three kinds of meat were tender, moist and flavorful even without the sauce. However, parts of the meat were too charred. Although I love grilled items, the charring was just too bitter for me.
We also have more plates of Japanese and Chinese food items that I wasn't able to take photos of. Since the night passed by so quickly, we forced ourselves to just finish everything my date grabbed. So unfortunately, after a few hours of pigging out, we were too full to try out any from the desserts selection. We promise to go back to Buffet 101 really soon though to sample the food items we missed, especially the delicious-looking desserts.
Although I love eating at buffets, I understand that offering so much food is equated to a mediocre-tasting selection. However even though everything was quite ordinary, I enjoyed the eat-all-you-can dining experience at Buffet 101 especially because of the freshly-cooked suahe and for the affordability.
The food selection at Buffet 101 is less when compared head to head against Vikings. But if you know you can't eat a lot anyway, and wouldn't mind missing out on frozen yogurts, then Buffet 101 can be a really good choice.
Ambiance - 4.5/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Buffet Rates as of 2013:
Monday to Friday Lunch - P6990
Saturday Lunch - P799
Sundays and Holidays Lunch - P1,050
Monday to Friday Dinner - P950
Saturday, Sunday and Holidays Dinner - P1,050
Children Fixed Rates
Kids below 4.5ft - P499
Kids below 3.5ft - Free
Vat inclusive and no service charge.
Buffet is inclusive of drinks.
Bldg K, Seaside Blvd. (near Microtel)
San Miguel by the Bay, SM Mall of Asia Complex
1300 Pasay City