Back to Back at Cucina, Marco Polo Ortigas Manila

Cucina is the all-day International dining restaurant of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila and is one of my favorite hotel buffet restaurants in the metro too. While it may not have the widest array of dishes to choose from, I love how each dish is well-curated making it go very well with the rest of the line-up. I also love how they make it a point to change the themes every so often so I don't feel like I'm having the same old, same old in every visit. One visit, I had Italian, the next I had Thai, in another visit I enjoyed the best Filipino dishes and so on. There was even that one lunch wherein we had the most authentic British fare too. Despite the regular thematic changes, the top favorites are there to stay.

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I also love breakfast at Cucina! I'll never forget that one memorable breakfast during our babymoon staycation at the hotel and I woke up so early because I was starving. I tell you, pregnancy hormones can sometimes just get so crazy. So there I was, part of the 6am crowd and I was busy filling my plate with eggs, sausages and rice.

During the weekend of our family staycation at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, we decided to just enjoy all the hotel amenities and that includes dining in at Cucina. It's also hard to walk around with little kids in tow and the news about the first case of the COVID19 just broke out then, we just wanted to take that necessary extra precaution. So it was dinner and breakfast at Cucina for us and our little ones. I know I've showed you what Cucina has to offer in my past blog post so this time, I will focus more on my personal favorites and the kid-friendly dishes too.

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For dinner, it's already a routine for us that we get food for the twins before we start eating ourselves. It's really important that our kids are well-fed to avoid unwanted meltdowns and toddler tantrums. Kidding aside, one of the secret of twin parenthood is to follow a strict schedule. There should always be the right time for napping, eating, snacking, playing, sleeping and more. So, dinner for the twins is normally around 6pm to 7pm and since we had to much fun playing at the pool earlier, we got to Cucina at 7pm already. Good thing I immediately saw this huge platter of Baked Creamy Macaroni and so I filled up a bowl with this which the twins happily enjoyed.

My next stop was the bread station since you all know how much L loves her breads. Just like me, she also loves cheese so I filled a small plate with cheese and crackers to share with my little girl. I normally love soft cheeses but for L, I chose all the hard cheeses which were all very delicious. I also love the pretzel bread too.

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As soon as the kids were happily settled, I started to get my first plate. I always go to the Japanese station as I just love love love fresh salmon sashimi and sushi rolls. Cucina actually has one of the best selection of Japanese sashimi and hand rolls so this is definitely a must-try.

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Apart from their sushi selection, you also have to try their fresh salads and appetizers. The appetizers change depending on the theme. During our visit, they were having Signature Tastes so it centered mostly on Cucina's specialties and well-loved favorites.

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In addition to that, they have 3 highlighted dishes namely -- Chicken Rissoles with Garlic Butter and Herb Cream Cheese Sauce, Medallion of Beef with Onion Parmesan Gratin on Red Wine Onion Jus and my favorite -- Fillet of Snapper with Grapes in Dry Vermouth and Dill Cream Sauce.

I love how the sweet grapes surprisingly went so well with the savory creamy sauce. The snapper was very tender and flavorful too. The chicken was also okay but I am not a big fan of anything deep-fried and while I had high hopes for the beef, it was just too salty for my taste.

Nonetheless, I love the signature paella that is always present in the buffet spread as well as the Chinese dimsum that you can have a plateful of.

Moving to the other stations, they have the grillery, the carving station, the Indian station, the pasta station and the Asian station with the yummiest Adobo and Sinigang.

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My twins ate very well and since they were very behaved, we rewarded them with a bowl of homemade ice cream each. L wanted chocolate while J went for strawberry. Isn't it just so amazing that they now can make these decisions for themselves? We also filled their plates with fruits too which L loved! She got so messy eating the watermelon but we just let her be and we dealt with cleaning her up later on.

It was such a relaxing dinner at Cucina and despite the restaurant being packed that Saturday night, we still managed to leisurely enjoy all our favorite dishes. Even Yaya M enjoyed her picks and since it was her second time at Cucina, she has her own go-to dishes too.

Breakfast at Cucina

The next day started really crazy. I woke up thinking that it was 10am already and we have missed our breakfast. I made a quick call to the lobby reception and was told that breakfast ends at 1030am. Thinking that we have 30 minutes left, I quickly got up, ran to the bathroom to brush my teeth, wash my face and to change out of my sleepwear. It was only when I was frantically collecting my phone and the room key and rushing the kids to wear their slippers that I caught a glimpse of the clock and oh my goodness! It was only 9am. :o

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I asked Yaya M what time it was and instead of hearing 9am, I heard 10am and my blurry eyes thought I saw 10am too. I almost had a heart attack and was already thinking of alternatives in my mind like grabbing Mcdonald's breakfast instead but as partly also very disappointed thinking we're missing breakfast at Cucina. You can just imagine the relief that I felt when I found out that we had an hour and a half to enjoy breakfast and not just 30 minutes. I seriously have to have my eyes checked.

Okay, so we're finally at Cucina and the twins were as expected, hungry! I'm happy that Cucina has a nice selection of cereals and they got yogurt in a giant chilled bowl too. My kids are not used to having anything oily and savory early in the morning and they're happy picking on their cornflakes while watching their favorite cartoon.

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Meanwhile, I headed to the egg station and had a special omelet made. Lots of cheese, mushroom and some veggies. This is probably the most popular station in all breakfast buffets as no hearty breakfast will every be complete without eggs.

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I also checked out the bread station but unlike the selections the night before, there were more sweet breads this time which I wasn't too keen on feeding my kids with. Okay, we skipped this part for breakfast.

They also got pancakes and waffles for the little ones and lots of cut fruits too. We tried the fruit juices which were also yummy but I would have preferred to be made fresh.

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I noticed that they no longer have the taho which I used to love before. I also noticed that the Filipino station had less choices too. This is why I opted to just go with a salmon sandwich instead of my usual -silog as I wasn't too crazy over dried fish or tapa for breakfast. I wish they have tocino or more sausages as well.

This is how we do our family staycation -- no itinerary, good food and all out fun. I love how my kids are learning to enjoy these simple mini vacations that we take and it also serves as a good breather for us adults as we take a day or two away from our usual routine and environment.

Related link: Read about our Family Staycation here.

Cucina is located at the 24th floor of the Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, Meralco Avenue corner Sapphire street, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Call them at 7720-7777 to make a reservation. 

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