Thursday, July 12, 2012

Flavors of Asia at the Marriott Cafe

To celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary, Paul and I had a dinner date at the Marriott Cafe. I guess it must have been fate and perfect timing that the Marriott Cafe is currently having their Flavors of Asia promotions wherein a couple of Asian favorites will be featured every dinner for the entire month of July.

marriott hotel asian buffet

As such, it was a perfect chance for us to relive our fun two-weeks honeymoon spent in Singapore and Malaysia, two years ago. We did nothing but to eat, eat and eat. Luckily, our honeymoon coincided with Singapore's annual Food Festival allowing us to sample and enjoy never-tried-before local fares at affordable prices.

marriott hotel asian buffet

Marriott Cafe has prepared a really good spread! I began with some Vietnamese rice rolls that were carefully handmade by the happy looking Chef Phan Tien Hoa of Renaissance Riverside Saigon. Normally, I would have my rice rolls with hoisin sauce or peanut sauce but I was pleasantly surprised by this pesto-tasting green peanut sauce that was handed to me. It was very good and complemented the rice rolls very well. They have an assortment of rice rolls from shrimps to beef, from tofu and even Chinese sausage. All were delicious and were generously filled with cold vermicelli noodles, veggies and your choice of meat.

marriott hotel asian buffet

Aside from the Vietnamese Rice Rolls, I also love having some cold Shrimp Papaya Salad whenever I get to dine in a Vietnamese restaurant. I love the mix of the sweet and citrus-y flavors that makes this salad very refreshing. At the Marriott Cafe, the salad is created on the spot depending on your desired level of spiciness (or none of it, in my case) and how many shrimps you want added into it. As you point out your choice of ingredients, the Chef will carefully mix and prepare your salad using this interesting piece of wooden pot that looks like a giant mortar and pestle. In a few minutes, he served my Shrimp Papaya Salad and it tasted really really good!

marriott hotel asian buffet

While waiting for the Chef to prepare my Shrimp Papaya Salad, I saw some Fish Cakes which I tried and loved! I went back twice to get more. It was very flavorful and tender. Yum!

marriott hotel asian buffet

It was also in Singapore where I had my first taste of Nasi Lemak. Rice cooked in coconut milk and served with dilis, peanuts and normally a curry meat dish. I fell in love with it that I first had it at the Swissotel Stamford Hotel and later continued to order this every chance I get even in Malaysia. From fast food chains to sit-down restaurants, I had my Nasi Lemak almost every single day.

I'm so happy that the Marriott Cafe also had bowls of Nasi Lemak for its diners to enjoy. Of course, despite not wanting to load up on carbs during buffets, I just had to try this and I'm so glad I did. It was delicious!

As you may have noticed, I was truly having a great time trying the different Asian dishes out. Together with all the spicy curries, I also had my fill of my buffet staples -- fresh green salad, smoked salmon, stir-fried prawns and a plate full of hand-rolled Japanese makis. Paul also loved the ebi (shrimp) tempura and the miso soup from the Japanese station.

marriott hotel asian buffet

There are also a couple of skewered satays available. I had some lamb satays which I sadly find too spicy and chewy. I had better luck with the fish satay though which was pretty good too.

marriott hotel asian buffet

They also have a noodle station where you can have some warm pho to go with your meal. I wasn't able to try this though as I chose to reserve all my carb quota for the yummy Nasi Lemak. :)

To go with our meal, Paul and I enjoyed the Lime Drink which was also made specially for the Flavors of Asia festival. It was very refreshing and not very sweet.

marriott hotel asian buffet

Dessert was an array for coconut sweets. We tried the Pandan Crepes rolled in Caramelized Coconut and the Sago in Coconut Syrup. I also enjoyed both the Bread Pudding and the Banana Cake too.

marriott hotel asian buffet

Lastly, we cap our meal off with a scoop of homemade gelato topped with marshmallows, candy sprinkles and almonds. *burp*

There's still time to catch Marriott Cafe's Flavors of Asia as it will run up until the end of July. To make dining more exciting, all dinner buffet patrons are automatically eligible to win a 3 day, 2 night stay in any of the 4 Marriott properties in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam!

There's also an on-going cooking class for only Php 1,500 per head (inclusive of lunch) with the four guest Asian chefs on these dates:
July 9 : Thai
July 16: Malaysian
July 23: Vietnamese
July 30: Indonesian

Buffet rate is Php 2,300 net from Sunday to Thursday and Php 2,500 net for Friday and Saturday dinners.

Marriott Café is located at 10 Newport Boulevard, Newport City Complex, Pasay City. The hotel is located across the Ninoy Aquino International Airport 3. For inquiries or reservations, call 988-9999.

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