Selamat Menikmati : An Indonesian Feast at the Diamond Hotel

My best friend T recently left for a month-long business trip to Indonesia. I still remembered that time when she told me about it and the first thing I said was, "Wow you're going to Bali? no? Bandah Aceh?" This made her laugh out loud and told me she's actually going to Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. I can't believe I actually forgot about Jakarta! Silly me...

Looking at the map, I realized how close Indonesia is to our Mindanao region. In fact, Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world and is one of the highly populated countries too. However, Indonesia is also blessed with a lot of natural resources making it a valuable trading partner for coffee, spices and a lot more.

To be honest, when I think of Indonesia there are two main things that come to mind. First, their chips-- remember my entry about Matahari, my favorite snack kiosk that sells the best cassava chips? I love Indonesian chips and this is why I've been bugging T to bring home a few bags of chips for me.

Second, their coffee. Working for the Green Siren, my taste buds have been oriented to drinking coffee from all over the world -- from Europe, Asia, Latin America and a lot more. Two coffee blends that I greatly remember are those from Sumatra and Sulawesi, both from Indonesia. Both has an earthy flavor that takes some getting used to but nonetheless, a great way to experience coffee from the Asia/Pacific region.

diamond hotel indonesian buffet manila

Thankfully, my knowledge about Indonesia, most particularly on its cuisine, has widen after being invited to dinner at Diamond Hotel's Corniche. It has been a while since Paul and I have visit Diamond Hotel and we were surprised to see how spacious the lobby has become as we remembered that there used to be a lounge at the right side and all the buffet tables are located at the left. This time, Corniche surely looks so inviting that I felt my tummy growling the moment we arrived.

From August 16 to 28, 2011, Corniche will feature a number of Indonesian specialties where diners can enjoy together with their well-loved international buffet. These are specialties created by 3 renowned Indonesian chefs who flew in just to be able to share their local dishes with the diner of Corniche. Now you can have some Gado-Gado (mixed vegetables with peanut sauce) and a serving of spicy Beef Rendang together with some Japanese sushi and a slice of Roast Beef.

diamond hotel indonesian buffet manila

To celebrate the Indonesian festival at Corniche, most of the servers were in traditional Indonesian attire. One particular server caught our attention though as he was in full Indonesian groom get-up complete with pointy gold shoes and intricately designed blouse and sarong. On the tables are candle holders showing Indonesian art drawn on thin white paper. Talk about giving attention to the tiniest details.

I began my dinner with some Indonesian salads such as the Karedok (mixed veggies with chips and peanut sauce) and some Gado Gado. I love both cold salads and I have to credit the yummy peanut sauce for this. I had this together with a thick slice of soft cheese and cracker.

diamond hotel indonesian buffet manila

My next plate was filled with some Japanese sushi, sashimi and seaweed. Of course, a visit to Corniche is not complete without stopping over at the Japanese station. I love their ebi tempura and their wide-array of creative hand-rolled sushis.

diamond hotel indonesian buffet manila

Paul wanted to have some roast beef while I went for a few slices of lamb and mint jelly. Our next stop at the carving station satisfied our meat cravings. Wish though that the lamb was more tender as I went there a bit too late and got the chewier part that was pretty dry and tough already.

diamond hotel indonesian buffet manila

Of course, no visit to any hotel buffet is complete without my husband piling his plate high with king prawns dipped in marinara sauce. We also were able to try some grilled lobsters which had the juiciest meat making it so good even without any sauce.

I've also tried the Perkedel Kentang (deep-fried mashed potato) which I liked very much. Wish I had more room in my tummy for more of this but I had to content myself with just 3 pieces because I still have to save some space for dessert.

diamond hotel indonesian buffet manila

My last Indonesian dish was the Tongseng Kambing (lamb stew with white cabbage). Good thing for the English translation as kambing actually means goat in our native Tagalog dialect while it means lamb in Indonesian. No way am I having goat stew that evening. This dish was a tad too spicy for my taste but I noticed that they have cooked and simmered the lamb very well that it's free of any funky smell that people normally fear of when having lamb.

diamond hotel indonesian buffet manila

The Indonesian feast doesn't stop there! Heading over to the dessert table, there's a number of sweet Indonesian treats that has caught my eye such as the Lapis Surabaya (layered sponge cake with strawberry jam), Urap Jagung Manis (sweet corn with grated coconut) and Es Cendol (Indonesian spaetzle with brown sugar). Paul tried the Urap Jagung Manis and told me that it was very good. I had a bite of the Lapis Surabaya and was surprised that the sponge cake was very moist and the strawberry jam not overly sweet. It was actually our first time to try Indonesian desserts and I noticed that they make use of coconut and cassava quite a lot very much like how we also do here in the Philippines.

There's actually a whole lot more Indonesian dishes presented that evening but my stomach and only take in so much. I'm actually thinking of going back anytime within these two weeks to have another round of Indonesian specialties at Corniche. Of course, will have more Gado Gado and Indonesian specialties on my next return.

diamond hotel indonesian buffet

Buffet rate: Php. 1,588 nett per person (lunch and dinner)

Visit Corniche at the Diamond Hotel and have a taste of what Indonesia can offer from August 16 to 28, 2011. Avail of the buffet and get a chance to win a trip for two to Jakarta, Indonesia via Cebu Pacific!

*photo credit: Paul Ang

Diamond Hotel is located along Roxas Boulevard corner Dr. J. Quintos Street, Manila. For reservations,  call them at 528-3000.

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