Lamonfest at Vikings, SM Megamall

Vikings seems to be the default buffet resto for celebrations and family gatherings.  Known for its lavish decor that display sumptuous spreads of mouth-watering dishes from various cuisines throughout the world, Vikings can generate long waiting lines of avid diners.

The fam, together with the in-laws, recently dined at Vikings at SM Megamall’s Mega Fashion Hall for bro-in-law’s birthday celebration.

With an all-you-can-eat arrangement at the rates below, the family is definitely in for a #lamonfest:

  • Adults: Php738 (weekday lunch); Php938 (weekday dinner, weekends and holidays lunch and dinner)
  • Kids:
    • for kids below 3 feet: FREE!
    • for kids 3 feet to 4 feet: Php208  (weekday lunch); Php938 (weekday dinner, weekends and holidays lunch and dinner)
    • for kids 4 feet to 6 feet: Php418 (weekday lunch); Php618 (weekday dinner, weekends and holidays lunch and dinner)

Note: Rates not yet inclusive of the 5% service charge.

For this #lamonfest, I focused on some dishes that I don’t usually have the opportunity to taste that often: the Seafood Paella (I guess I’m going through a paella phase now), the Lengua Estofado (went so well with the paella for a great taste of Spain) and the Leg of Lamb.  The Ebi Tempura is always a good bet (and always nearly depleted by the time I get there, hehehe!), but some of the meats in the carving station fell short of my expectations: the Stuffed Turkey was a bit dry and the Angus Beef was tough and chewy.

For dessert, no one can tear my away from my favorite Puto Bumbong (since it always reminds me of Christmas; I even went to the Cheese Station and sprinkled some grated premium cheddar on it) and Avocado Ice Cream (as it’s hard to find ice cream of this flavor in the supermarkets).  I also tried the Caramel Dip for the Churros and the moist Carrot Bar.

Overall, it was a great dining experience for the family.

To make the most of your #lamonfest at Vikings, you might want to make sure you do the following:

  • Make your reservation. This way, you avoid waiting outside and can just walk right in as soon as you arrive. To make your reservation, you can call +63 2 8454647 (this hotline covers all Vikings branches), book via the Booky app (you may get some discounts at selected branches), or book online via the Vikings website.
  • Check out Vikings’ current promos.  You just might get big savings.  For example, birthday celebrants get to eat for free on the day of their birthday so long as they’re with one full-paying adult, or any day of their birth month if they’re accompanied four full paying adults.  Until June 30, members of the graduating class of 2018 can eat for free as long as they’re with three full paying adults (which is why my daughter snapped a photo of her diploma before we left the house).  Just make sure that you bring all the necessary documents.  For more details on these promos, click here.
  • Pace yourself.  Scope out the spreads first and pick the ones you want for your gastronomic explorations, be they your tried-and-tested favorites or some new cuisines you want to sink your teeth into (literally and figuratively!). Sample a bit of of the food and just come back for seconds to avoid leftovers.  There are an awful lot of food here and you don’t want to already be in a food coma just when you get to the stuff you want.

For tips on how to survive a buffet, check out my blog post: Buffet Survival Guide: All-You-Need-to-Know to Eat-All-You-Can.

Check out my blog reviews of other buffet restos:

Vikings Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Homey Comfort Food at Mom & Tina’s, Greenhills

One of the mantras I always try to follow is to never shop hungry. For one thing, experiencing hunger pangs might distract me from getting the best deal and I might end up just settling. On the other hand, hunger makes me a bit grumpy and I might snap at a hapless salesperson.

In a recent foray with Hubby at Greenhills Shopping Center (where I did not snap at anyone, hapless or otherwise), I chanced upon this Mom & Tina’s branch near the newly renovated Unimart.

I’ve enjoyed dining at this chain’s branches in Tomas Morato and Ugong (even took out cakes for celebrations at home) so I had no qualms suggesting to Hubby that we take our lunch here.

Similar to other Mom & Tina’s outlets, this branch has a bright, cheery yet cozy atmosphere, accented by rustic and homey bric-a-bracs and light-colored furniture.

We ordered a substantial amount of food (proof of how hungry we were):

  • US Roast Beef (Php435) – slices of roast beef served with rich gravy served with mixed vegetables, mashed potatoes and rice.
  • Beef Stroganoff (Php270) – al dente fettuccini pasta tossed in cream sauce with thin beef slices.
  • Barbecued Pork Steak (Php335) – marinated and grilled pork belly served with Java rice and achara

The roast beef slices are a bit too well-done for my taste (they tend to seem dry) but the meats are tender and well-complemented by the mashed potato and veggies. The pork steak is also tender and well-seasoned; its blend of sweet and savory flavors blend well with the Java Rice (I prefer not to include the achara, it’s quite overpowering). The beef stroganoff is also hearty and filling. The portions of these dishes are quite large and we ended up getting part of our orders wrapped for take home (which was greatly appreciated by my son who ate it for merienda).

And simply because there should always be room for dessert, and because I truly deserve it, I got myself a Carrot Cupcake (Php70) to cap the meal. (No, Hubby is not into cupcakes; so… more for me!)

This lunch experience reminded me of the appeal of Mom & Tina’s and I look forward to trying more of its offerings.

This Mom & Tina’s branch is located at 2/F O-Square Building, Greenhills Shopping Center, Ortigas Ave., San Juan City.   For reservations, call + 63 921 5737710.

Other branches are located at:

  • Ugong: FRDC Building, 106 E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave., (C-5), Pasig City (Tel: + 63 2 9140833 or +63 2 5711541)
  • Makati: G/F Unit 14 Tropical Palms Condominium, Dela Rosa St. cor. Perea St., Legaspi Village, Makati City (Tel: +63 2 8404299 or + 63 2 8943598)
  • Tomas Morato: 58 Sgt. Esguerra Ave., South Triangle, Quezon City (Tel: + 63 2 3323080 or +63 2 3323579)

Mom & Tina's Bakery Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Instant Roast Beef for family celebrations, thanks to Chef Resty!

To me, roast beef is in the same level as lechon .  It simply adds something extra to the celebration or family meal.  When I hotel or restaurant buffets, I would ignore some of the food items but definitely not roast beef.

There are times when I would crave for it or would like to serve it during a holiday meal but it’s a bit hard to DIY, or at least achieve the taste and texture that I’m looking for.

That’s why I’m ever so thankful that Chef Resty’s Roast Beef Carving Station reopened its stall in SM Hypermart Pasig.  With this stall so conveniently located near my place, I can order some roast beef for take out to enjoy at home after a bout of grocery shopping.

What I like about Chef Resty’s roast beef is its right blend of texture and flavor, brought about by several factors: high-grade Angus beef brisket marinated in herbs and spices then slow roasted for hours to achieve a juicy and tender meat.  Its rich buttery gravy was also made from its pan drippings, a perfect foil for the roast beef.  I usually order a side of

For a family meal, I usually order 700 grams of roast beef (at Php130/100 grams), sides of herbed marble potato and corn and carrots (Php20/serving) and just have rice prepared at home.

This way, the family gets to enjoy a gourmet roast beef meal at less than Php1000.

Chef Resty’s Roast Beef Carving Station Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Carnevores satisfied at Number 1 Barbecues, SM East Ortigas

Number 1 Barbecues is a recently-opened restaurant in SM City East Ortigas.  Because of its Unli-Rice promo, it was always full of people for its first few months that my family was only able to eat there last December in time for my son’s birthday lunch.

Interestingly, Number 1 Barbecues offers a range of dishes from different cuisines including Filipino, American, Japanese and Mediterranean, so there would be something for everyone. Its’ relatively cheaper pricing and free unli-rice offer makes it a great venue for group and family meals.

We ordered the following:

  • Lechon Belly (Php109)
  • 12-Hour US Smoked Beef (Php129 + Php50 for extra smoked beef) – served with mashed potato and coleslaw
  • 12-Hour Smoked Pork Belly (Php119 +Php40 for extra pork belly) – served with mashed potato and coleslaw
  • 5 pcs Shrimp Tempura (Php149)
  • Kani BBQ Bacon (Php99)
  • Chocolate Cake ala Mode, Chocolate Mouse and Creme Brulee (Php39 each)

The meats are tender and well-seasoned but the servings are quite small so it’s a good thing we ordered extra servings of the smoked beef and pork belly, satiating our group of carnevores.  The desserts are adequate bookends to the meal.

Number 1 Barbecues is located at Ground Floor, SM City East Ortigas, along Ortigas Avenue in Pasig City.

Number 1 Barbecues Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Barkada Meet Up at Pancake House, Ayala Malls the 30th

I had another holiday lunch meet-up with close friends that I haven’t seen for so long at Pancake House.  We agreed on this branch at Ayala Malls the 30th as one of my friends like practically all of Pancake House’s offerings while I, on the other hand, have yet to fully explore the dining options within the mall.

We ordered our hearty meals:

  • Pork Tocino (Php219). Served with garlic rice, fried egg and mango salsa.
  • Hot Roast Beef (Php310). Roast beef slices smothered in Pancake House’s buttery gravy, served on a thick slice of bread accompanied by mashed potatoes and corn and carrots.
  • Special Salisbury Steak (Php265). A thick patty of Salisbury steak with mushroom gravy and bacon bits, served with rice and vegetables.

Since our bill has reached beyond Php800, we were able to get 3 FREE mini pancakes upon presentation of my BDO Rewards Card.  I ordered a Belgian Hot Chocolate (Php130) to enjoy with my pancake.

The restaurant is quite spacious and can seat a large number of people.  The wait staff are also helpful and accommodating: aside from facilitating our orders, the staff gamely took our pictures.

Pancake House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Elegant buffet spreads at Marriott Cafe

Thanks to a credit card promo, we were treated to a buffet lunch at the Marriott Cafe for my mother-in-law’s birthday.

The place is very elegant and well-appointed and the buffet spreads featuring cuisines from various countries were aesthetically presented. The staff were courteous and attentive as well.

Being a card-carrying carnevore, my favorite station is the grill, I got myself some steaks (“Cuts of the Day” were juicy and well-marbled) and various smoked meats and sausages.

I also gorged myself on desserts. The cafe has quite a selection of tartlets, cakes, cookies and pastries as well as a chocolate fountain which is a hit with the kids.

Dining here is an experience I won’t mind repeating. (But I’ll probably wait for another promo!)

Buffet prices are:

  • (6:30 am to 10:30 am, daily); Php1,450
  • Lunch (12:00 pm to 2:30 pm, Monday to Saturday): Php1,900
  • Brunch (11.30 am to 3:00 pm, Sunday): Php2,500
  • Dinner (6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Monday to Thursday, Sunday): Php2,100
  • Dinner (6:00 pm to 10:30 pm Friday to Saturday): Php2,500

Marriott Cafe is located at the Manila Marriott Hotel, 2 Resorts Drive, Newport City, Pasay. For reservations, call 02-9889999 or visit the Resorts World Manila website for more details.
Marriott Cafe - Manila Marriott Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tummy’s full at Full Belly Craft Kitchen

Along Sgt. Esguerra Street in Quezon City, you will find Full Belly Craft Kitchen, which promises to have you leaving the place with… tadaaah!… a full belly. The resto’s concept is comfort food based on variations of belly meat. I usually go for the place’s Executive Meals which provide satisfying single serving belly-based dishes and Fully Belly Craft Kitchen’s own blend of iced tea.

My go-to order is the Roast Beef Belly Plate. Tender roasted beef belly meat served with creamy mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables drizzled with fragrant truffle oil.

  

I also sampled the Beef Belly Binagoongan. I found it very flavorful, the salty bagoong and shredded eggs complementing the tender beef belly meat.


Desserts are no less imaginative: the Lemon Ginger Pound Cake was a compact moist combination of sweetness and tartness, while the New York Cheesecake packs a surprise – homemade bacon jam, in keeping with the resto’s belly theme.



Bring your hungry tummies to Full Belly Craft Kitchen!

Full Belly Craft Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato