Old world grandeur and cultural heritage comes to mind when one mentions The Manila Hotel. Of course, we all know that the hotel is also a perfect location to experience Manila's fabled sunset. But aside from that, The Manila Hotel is also home to one of the best hotel buffet in Metro Manila.
Cafe Ilang Ilang is a favorite dining venue especially for families, as it has a lot of food choices that fits different cravings- from meat to seafood, salad greens to dessert, Italian to Japanese, carving and churrasco station, and a whole lot more.
Mouthwatering ducks at the Chinese Station. You can opt to pair the fowl with fried rice or noodles. Or you can have it with 'pancakes' and scallions with a dash of hoisin sauce. Hao chi!
There's also a DIY-hotpot at the Chinese Station if you are inclined to hot soups. And speaking of soup, you can also request the waiter for Soup of the Day. They were serving pumpkin soup when we dined.
For starters, I can't resist not having a slice of pizza, roast beef and a serving of polenta, and prosciutto and melon. It's also nice to see the chef tossing pizza dough especially if you happen to get a table near the Italian Station. And to make my first plate more Italian, I ordered a cappuccino. Btw, unlimited drinks (juice and coffee) are also part of the buffet.
Can you hear the crackling skin from the cochinillo?
This block of US Angus Ribeye is a crowd favorite when we dined at Cafe Ilang Ilang. Btw, I love mint jelly on my meat so just in case you're like me, you can ask for it at the Churrasco Station. You're welcome.
Huge prawns, crabs, and mussels for grilling or eaten as is. If you don't feel like pairing it with butter sauce, I'm sure they can offer you a different one. Or you can eat it as is, or with salad greens from the nearby Salad Bar.
Here's another one of my favorite from the buffet, Prawn Salad. This is a refreshing salad that has sweet mangoes and a light mayo dressing.
The Japanese Station is quite popular with diners. People do line up for freshly made tempura, gyoza, california maki, and different kinds of sashimi.
There's also a Halal Station that serves curries and papadams, the Korean Station, then there's the Bread & Cheese (and Dried Fruits) just beside the Roast Station. The food choices at Cafe Ilang Ilang is really diverse that even a picky eater is bound to find something appetizing.
The Dessert Station has an interesting mix of trifles, gelatos, cakes, among others. Cafe Ilang Ilang also has bibingka and puto bumbong which are also popular with diners.
For my dessert though, I was blown away by the creamy Creme Brulee. It's not that sweet and it doesn't taste overwhelming. That ramekin is good for sharing, or not! I also had a scoop each of Macha and Latte Gelato. Hello sugar, be nice to me.
To sum it up, it was a wonderful dining experience at Cafe Ilang Ilang. The place was very welcoming, and festive. The servers were all attentive and even suggest dishes for you to try.
Pro tip buffet guide: Just in case you don't know where to begin, I suggest making a round of the stations first so that you'll know what you want to get.
The Manila Hotel
1 Rizal Park