My siblings and I were privilege enough to be treat by our parents for dinner at the Market Cafe of Hyatt Hotel in Malate, Manila. Though this is our second time, I must admit that I didn’t pay much attention the last time to the details (ambiance, food offerings, and services) so I am treating this like it was my first – a trying hard virgin.
picture courtesy of Hyatt Hotel & Casino Manila
My first impression of the hotel’s lobby was very chic and clean but it does lack a bit of luster. It would have been better if there’s more lighting inside. This way they can further highlight the features of the lobby. It was a bit too gloomy for me. We decided to take the lifts to go to the restaurant despite it was located on the second floor (an escalator would suffice). Upon entering the lifts, though my whole family could fit in one, again the lifts fell short of my expectations. It’s lacks brightness and pizzazz. You feel that you’re in a normal elevator when you’re going to your office.
picture courtesy of Hyatt Hotel & Casino Manila
On our way to the Market Cafe, prior to seeing the interior of the restaurant, a smoke of cooked food greeted us and admittedly it’s a bit overwhelming (and it’s not in a good way). The smell is a bit overbearing that you couldn’t figure out i it’s grilled meat or seafood, baked bread, baked pizza or cooked pasta, steaming dim-sum, or friend tempura – very confusing I tell you. The saying, “aroma entices the appetite” is an overstatement. You feel a full prior to taking a seat.
Our family was seating in a convenient place. It’s spacious enough from the nearby tables but then again our family requires a very long table. I just noticed that over us is a dome shape ceiling with a chandelier in the center. I am not technically knowledgeable of architectural design and aesthetics but the experience game me the right to say this. We could actually hear the conversations from the nearby tables. I think the sound bounces off the ceiling and lands on our table. I find it so annoying because it interferes with our family conversations. And I’ll bet the other patrons would feel the same about us, considering we’re more than them – imagine that? There were even some foreigners and the noise adds more to the confusion.
The food offerings were well positioned in the buffet area. I did noticed that the offerings were limited considering that the buffet costs Php1,600++ The sushi area offers the basic sushis and nothing special and spectacular, though the quality of the raw fishes are very fresh, I must admit. The dim-sum is ok but also limited variants. The tempura is a disappointment despite they used full shrimps. It was the batter and sauce that killed it. The secret to a good tempura is the quality of the batter. It was too thick and tough, and the sauce was tasteless. My dad was the most disappointed among us and he gave his score on this. The grill is a so-so for me since it does not require special skills but just to grill raw meat and seafood plus did I mention about this strong smell of the place? I was surprised with the dessert offerings because there are more selections than the other sections. My sister and in-laws were having a blast with this.
In fairness to the Market Cafe, what makes them different from other hotel buffets is the bottomless canned sodas and bottled local beers. But then again, this special feature does not contribute to the total dining experience.
One of the things that stands our from our experience is the slow service from the food attendants. Though it’s not expected from the attendants to be assisting us during our food selection but then it’s dishing out once we;re done with the plates, it’s a no brainer, right? I’d like to think with the price of the buffet, certain expectations are evident and one of them is ensuring that dishing out is regularly done. Well apparently NOT!!! We literally had to call their attention regularly. So service really fell so low on this one, sad to say.
Despite what we experienced, my family did make the most out of it. We all got up really stuffed and had our share of a hearty meal. More than the experience, we all had fun because we were all together and the never-ending stories we all share.
One of the things I like is the smoking area. This is not located on an outdoor setting. This is the section inside of the restaurant dedicated to smoking patrons. There are sufficient ventilations that you cannot smell smoke in that area. You will be seated temporarily in one of the tables and you can smoke without bothering anyone and vice versa. It’s such a delight especially being and feeling so stuffed.
If given the chance, will I go back to the Market Place? Most likely not or if ever it will be for a very very long time. The distance of the hotel with the traffic that you have to endure only to find these offerings and experience may not be worth the time, money, and inconvenience. But it’s a place that I would recommend to visit once and will let you decide and answer the very same question.
Do visit Hyatt Hotel & Casino for more information and details.