Buffets will always have a special place in my tummy. So after a highly-satisfying eat-all-you-can experience at Market Café earlier this year, I found myself in the sleek and elegant space of Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila once again. This time though, it's for a Filipino feast as Market Café joins Kulinarya Kalayaan to highlight our national hero's favorite Filipino dishes.
Just like other hotel and restaurant participants for this food festival, Market Café will also be offering its take on Jose Rizal's faves from June 10 to 20. Within this period, diners get to enjoy classic and authentic Filipino cuisine along with the generous spread of enticing and highly-irrestible international cuisine regularly offered at Market Café's buffet tables.
Kulinarya Kalayaan Dishes
Although I was truly impressed with my first Market Café dining experience, I was surprised at how Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila was able to make me appreciate Filipino cuisine more. Just look at all these food! Somehow it makes me wonder if people in Rizal's time enjoyed Pinoy dishes as good-looking and as good-tasting as these.
|Laguna Cheese with Anchovies|
|Green Mango Salad and Sinigang na Ulang (Lobster-Tamarind Soup)|
|Tinolang Manok (Chicken-Ginger Stew)|
|Tokwa't Baboy (Bean Curd and Pork)|
|Inihaw na Baboy (Grilled Pork)|
|Pinaputok na Tilapia (Pan-fried Stuffed Tilapia)|
|Ube Halaya (Purple Yam Dessert)|
|Turon (Banana Spring Rolls)|
Along with these Filipino food offerings for Kulinarya Kalayaan are Puto (rice cakes), Tablea de Cacao and some of Rizal's favorite fruits -- mango, atis, pineapple and melon. (I was meaning to take a few photos, but my camera's battery was already low so I had to save it. I know, I know.. Lame excuses.)
What We Got
I first got a plateful of Filipino dishes to start my Market Café meal -- salted egg with some Green Mango Salad, Pancit, Tokwa't Baboy, Inihaw na Baboy, Pinaputok na Tilapia, Laguna Cheese and a piece of Pandesal.
Seriously, everything on this plate tasted amazing! The green mango salad was a great appetite whetter, especially with a dollop of special bagoong (fish paste). The Laguna cheese with anchovies was also a revelation with its blend of creamy, salty and crunchy feats. Each one of the entrées on the other hand, was exceptionally-delicious too. Even with the pancit bihon which I generally don't like, Market Café got me digging in.
My friend Stacy and I also enjoyed this hot bowl of Sinigang na Ulang which was an explosion of savory and tangy flavors. Extra points too since Market Café served the soup and veggies on their buffet table separately, preserving the freshness and crunchiness of the vegetables.
All of the Filipino food offerings at Market Café were of impressive quality. Even the array of desserts I got to try -- the smooth, firm and thick slice of flavorful Ube Halaya and crispy caramel-coated Turon with a sweet slice of fresh ripe mango, exceeded my expectations.
But among the selection of gustatory delights, the drink-all-you-can Tablea de Cacao was the item that completed my day. The deep and rich chocolate flavor blended with a smooth peanut butter mixture plus fine peanut bits, was too good to not take advantage of.
Of course, I would not be me if not for my love of Japanese cuisine. So after the delectable Pinoy start, I followed suit with a plate of my favorite Salmon Sashimi with soy sauce, wasabi and beni shoga (pickled ginger).
If you visit Market Café on a weekend, you can also enjoy a smorgasbord of the freshest catch from the sea just like this Singapore-Style Chili Lobster. Truly flavorful and oh-so-succulent lobster meat with a sweet, spicy and savory chili sauce. This is just too good, I tell you!
To perfectly end the feast, it would be a sin to miss Market Café's home-made ice cream and sorbets. So for this trip, I had a scoop each of Strawberry and Mango which are both sweet, tangy and refreshing treats. For drinks, diners can treat themselves to a free-flowing supply of sodas and beer from Market Café's fridge. Or, you can opt to order some special beverages like the Dalandan, Guyabano and Pandan Iced Teas.
I was already impressed with Market Café on my previous trip. But with this session to sample Hyatt Hotel's dishes for Kulinarya Kalayaan, I can't help but admit that I was even more delighted. In fact, I felt as if I enjoyed the food more this time. Quite surprising to come from someone who isn't much of a Filipino cuisine fan. I guess everyone reaches a turning point, and Market Café had just successfully converted me.
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4.5/5
Price - 3.5/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Daily Lunch - P1,600++
Monday to Thursday Dinner - P1,800++
Friday to Sunday (Seafood Weekend) Dinner - P1,950++
Father's Day Rate - P1,950++
Market Café, Hyatt Hotel & Casino Manila
3rd Lvl., 1588 Pedro Gil cor. M.H. Del Pilar, Malate
Manila, Metro Manila