Being a groupon lover, I find it very hard to resist tempting deals especially when there's good food on the line. So a few months ago, when Deal Grocer offered a voucher of P995 instead of P1,547 for a lunch buffet at Crowne Plaza Galleria's 7 Corners, I didn't even think twice 'cause I just knew I had to grab the opportunity right then and there.
It wasn't my first time to visit Crowne Plaza Galleria as I've previously enjoyed an eat-all-you-can dimsum session at Xin Tian Di, also courtesy of a Deal Grocer voucher. And since my previous experience at Crowne Plaza is quite commendable, I was more excited to try 7 Corners this time, especially since this buffet destination has been included in Philippine Tatler's Philippines’ Best Restaurants for 4 consecutive years.
Located at the hotel's 2nd floor, 7 Corners exudes a sophisticated yet quaint ambiance. Its space is drenched with browns and hints of blues, with sleek black tables and chairs, and walls filled with interesting trinkets. Although I've visited quite a good number of hotel buffets already, it's the first time I've seen a buffet dining area generously decorated with various knickknacks. I quite like it though as it makes the place seem cozier.
My date and I visited 7 Corners last May. (I know, this is a really late post!) And for the whole month, the restaurant has been serving Korean cuisine particularly of Seoul. As a newbie with Korean food, I honestly didn't know what to expect as the revelation came in by surprise. Fortunately, there were still a lot of familiar dishes to choose from.
Even while serving mainly Korean fare, there were still plenty of appetite whetters, hors d'oeuvre, salads and hearty soups both familiar and not at 7 Corners.
There were also a few Japanese dishes beside the section for appetizers. I saw some chawanmushi, assorted sushi and maki, as well as sashimi cut and served by order.
Of course, a hotel buffet isn't complete without its selection of cold and fresh seafood items. And at 7 Corners, they have mussels, prawns, lobsters and oysters on display. However, we were told that there's an additional fee for availing of the seafood. I'm not sure though if it's only for the lobsters as we didn't bother getting some anymore.
After the selection of seafood is an area for all the cooked dishes. There were the staples like sautéed vegetables, chicken tandoori and garoupa fish tikka among others, as well as some Korean viands like kimchi, gochujang chicken stew, ojinguh bokkeum spicy squid, Korean beef stir-fry, Korean bulgogi and some curry-based savory dishes.
For noodle lovers, there's a station where you can have your own hot noodle made. Just choose the ingredients you want and have the chef do all the cooking for you.
Then, there's also a pasta station for people like my beau who can't get enough of this Italian specialty dish. Just tell the chef what kind of pasta you like, and he'll cook it for you. Of course, there's also the carving station with a glorious chunk of US rib eye steak.
At a separate station across the room, there's a selection of breads, cheeses, dried fruits and nuts. This section also has a display of freshly oven-baked specialty pizzas.
And lastly, one can't simply miss the colorful array of desserts on display. There were cake slices, treats in shot glasses and ramekins, a chocolate fondue station, as well as a selection of ice cream for teppanyaki-style serving, and fresh slices of assorted fruits.
There were more dishes especially Korean viands which I failed to take photos of. Since we dined on a weekday, there were a lot of people both voucher holders and office folks who visited 7 Corners for a hearty lunch. And of course, you know a blogger can't do her job well when people give her the weird look.
The Pasta Dishes We Got
Since the beau is a big fan of pasta dishes, he went nuts with ordering them. There were 4 kinds of pasta which the chef can use when we dined at 7 Corners -- spaghetti, fettuccine, penne and fusilli, and 8 kinds of sauces to choose from. We got to sample and finish 5 kinds of pasta dishes. Not bad at all since we still got to try other food items aside from the pastas. (The beau isn't quite pleased though, he wanted to try all 8!)
First we had was Puttanesca, a tomato-based pasta dish with olive oil, anchovies, garlic, olives, capers, chili flakes, basil and parsley, then topped with Parmesan cheese. Being a fan of tomato-based pasta dishes, I was suat tsed at the quality of this plate. The sweet, tangy and salty flavors blend harmoniously and definitely made my palate happy.
We also got to try the Vongole, pasta cooked in olive oil and white wine with garlic clams, chili flakes and parsley. Although this dish only has a few ingredients, I really liked how simple yet flavorful it was. It had a light yet sharp taste to it, as well as a slight heat.
Next we had was Marinara, and by the name itself you'd know that it has seafood. This dish has pasta tossed in olive oil, tomato sauce and white wine with garlic, onion, artichoke, assorted seafood, chili flakes and parsley. Just by the looking at it, you can already tell that this is one tangy and savory pasta dish perfect to awaken the taste buds.
Fourth on the table was the Seafood Pesto, a hearty pasta dish cooked in olive oil, white wine and pesto, with garlic, onion, artichoke, mixed seafood and chili flakes. For pesto dishes, I quite have a bias for the seafood variety. So of course, this earthy and savory pasta dish got my nod for approval, as well as two thumbs up.
Last among our pasta escapade was the Pomodoro, another tomato-based pasta dish with olive oil, garlic, onion, basil, parsley and oregano, then topped with Parmesan. I'm not a big fan of this pasta item, but I liked how tangy, earthy and herby this dish tasted. It was truly refreshing on the palate, perfect for summer if I may say.
After trying out 5 among the 8 pasta dishes available at 7 Corners, I can definitely say that this buffet really knows how to make quality pasta items. Our spaghetti and fettuccine were cooked al dente, and the sauces were all made with high quality ingredients. Even the beau who's picky when it comes to pasta was very much satisfied.
Other Food Items I Got
Of course, we didn't visit 7 Corners just to drown ourselves in pasta dishes, however good they may be. It's not just pasta all-you-can anyway. So aside from our Italian favorite, we tried to sample as much as we can from the buffet spread.
I can't remember correctly if there were no other soup items available that day. But for a warm hearty start, I got a bowl of Jogaetang or spicy clam soup. The clear soup looked harmless at first, but it was indeed really spicy after a couple of spoonfuls. And since I don't have a high tolerance for spicy dishes, I just finished all the clams.
Next on my plate was a selection of mostly Japanese food items. I got a few freshly-sliced Salmon Sashimi, a piece each of Saba Sushi and Spicy Salmon Roll, a bowl of Chawanmushi and a few strips of the Korean Beef Stir-Fry. The sushi, maki and chawanmushi were good albeit not extraordinary. The sashimi on the other hand, tasted fresh and buttery so I guess it really helps that these are freshly-sliced upon order. On the other hand, the beef slices are okay though I'm not really a fan.
On my next round, I had small serving each of Jae-yook Bo-kum (spicy pork and stir-fry kimchi), Dakgalbi (chicken in spicy sauce), Pajeon (Korean savory pancake), a seafood entrée which I forgot the name, and Korean Kimchi Fried Rice. I'm not too acquainted with Korean flavors yet, but I like how savory yet spicy most of these dishes are.
Even if we already ate quite a lot already, there's always room for a tender and succulent slab of US Rib Eye Steak. The beau got our steak medium well which explains why it was a little dry inside. But if I were the one ordering, I'd have it medium.
We also got some Grilled Marinated Beef which despite not looking too enticing was a delight to eat. Each piece was soft, juicy, quite fatty and has a sweet and smoky flavor.
Since we had a lot of food, it took us quite a while to finish everything up. Actually, up to the point that the staff were already cleaning up the buffet spread. And since we haven't had desserts yet, we hurriedly took a trip to the sweets section and got anything we can. For my last plate, I had a slice of Cheesecake and Pistachio Cake, Crème Brûlée and a scoop each of Pistachio and Strawberry Ice Cream. It was a shame I missed the teppanyaki ice cream, but I guess I was still satisfied 'cause they were good even as it is.
The lunch buffet has an included round of hot tea or coffee. However, we opted to avail of other beverages as much to our surprise, the drinks were reasonably priced. Still a little expensive compared to casual dining restaurants, but not bad for hotel restaurant pricing. The beau enjoyed his Iced Cappuccino, while I got a Shirley Temple. I can't remember the exact prices, but if I'm not mistaken, each beverage was a little less than P200.
Our trip to 7 Corners was a nice buffet experience despite still being flawed. The choices may be limited, but everything is of great quality. The servers were all friendly and courteous, while the ambiance delivered that of what's expected from a luxurious hotel.
However, there were 2 things that gave me quite a bad impression about 7 Corners. First, it wasn't clear if the cold seafoods were part of the buffet. I believe it should be as proven by other bloggers, but why were we told that we had to pay an additional amount? Next, it's sad that no one called our attention before the buffet tables were to be cleaned up. I thought servers should ask the guests first if they would like to make a last trip before closing time? Anyhow, I still enjoyed the buffet lunch so I'll now rest my case.
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 3.5/5
Promo Price - 4/5
Original Price - 3/5
Overall Value - 3.5/5
(Note: Overall Value rating is for the discounted voucher amount we paid.)
Lunch Buffet Rates:
Voucher Amount - P995
Weekdays & Saturday - P1,547 nett
Sunday Rate - 1,879 nett
7 Corners, Crowne Plaza Galleria
2/F Crown Plaza Galleria Manila, Ortigas Ave.,
Cor. Asian Development Bank
Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila