Cafe Ilang-Ilang at The Manila Hotel

dessert station
I never knew there was a new buffet place at the Manila Hotel until I saw Jin’s post.


Cafe Ilang-Ilang newspaper coupons
So yesterday 12 of us trooped to the Manila Hotel armed with 6 copies of 50% off coupons from 6 Sunday issues of The Manila Bulletin. Smart move huh?

Warning there are lots of pictures on this post. It may take time to load. Be patient and you will be rewarded. My problem with buffets is I take too much pictures and I can’t bear not posting all of them. Well almost all of them. From 268 pictures I’m posting only 61.

I can’t remember the last time I went to the Manila Hotel. I think the president at that time was Fidel Ramos.
The Manila Hotel

The Manila Hotel 2

The lobby was as grand as ever.
The Manila Hotel 3

Cafe Ilang-Ilang @ Manila Hotel-5

Just outside the entrance of Cafe Ilang-Ilang were these two life sized people that I didn’t even notice when I first entered. It was later on when they attracted attention that I realized they were real people.
Cafe Ilang-Ilang @ Manila Hotel-6

The restaurant had several seating options. From comfy couches to elevated tables (middle picture) which were my favorite.
Cafe Ilang-Ilang @ Manila Hotel-7
We sat in a beautiful private room called the wine and cheese room. I was so tempted to bring home the sausages and cheese stored in the chillers in the room.
Cafe Ilang-Ilang @ Manila Hotel-8

cheese selection
cheese selection

bread, bread, bread
bread, bread, bread

Japanese station
Japanese station

sushi
sushi

pates
patés

chicken terrine
chicken terrine

salad bar
salad bar

fresh seafood
fresh seafood

tabasco
tabasco

Italian station
Italian station

spaghetti and pizza
spaghetti and pizza

The pool area was accessible at the back of Cafe Ilang-Ilang.
Pool area
Pool area

In the middle of lunch we were treated to a local dance.
local dancers

Chinese food selections
noodle soup station
noodle soup station

dim sum
dim sum

The shrimp was replaced with spicy fried squid which was so good and tender.
shrimp & fish fillet
shrimp & fish fillet

pancit canton & beef fried rice
pancit canton & beef fried rice

Peking duck
Peking duck

Next to the Chinese food is the Filipino food selection.
Filipino salads
Filipino salads

The rice was a miss. Too soft, mushy and no flavor at all.
arroz a la cassola & kalderetang kambing
arroz a la cassola amb marisco (sic) &
kalderetang kambing (goat stew)

I tried the rice in squid ink and it was totally flavorless. The chicken empanada was just ok but the pork tapa was very, very good. If you eat that you will need a whole cup of rice. It was salty but very flavorful.
Zamboanga rice, chicken mushroom empanada, tapang baboy
Zamboanga rice, chicken mushroom empanada,
tapang baboy ramo (sic)

malungay & rellenong bangus
pinalangoy na sulib sa dahon ng malungay &
rellenong bangus

lechon
lechon

Middle Eastern fare
hummus & fatoush
hummus & fatoush

raita & vegetable samosas
raita & vegetable samosas

paneer butter masala, dahl, vegetable rangeela kebab
paneer butter masala, dahl, vegetable rangeela kebab

roti, naan, fish amitsari, chicken tikka masala
roti, naan, fish amitsari, chicken tikka masala

smoked salmon on scrambled eggs on potatoes
smoked salmon on scrambled eggs on potatoes

chicken shawarma
chicken shawarma

sausage rolls & sausage fajitas
sausage rolls & sausage fajitas

vegetable fritata
vegetable fritata

Strange looking container located in between the Middle Easter food and the breakfast food contained precious taho.
taho
taho

The breakfast selections are available on Sundays only.
breakfast station
breakfast station

Grill station. Oysters can be grilled by request.
Cafe Ilang-Ilang @ Manila Hotel-42
grilled seafood

hungarian sausage, smoked pork loin &  Argentinean beef churrasco
hungarian sausage, smoked pork loin &
Argentinean beef churrasco

Cafe Ilang-Ilang @ Manila Hotel-44
grilled veggies

Korean station. The chef in the middle is Korean. For me the food here was the best. The bulgogi and chap chae were yummy. The kalbi was a bit tough and dry but the taste was good.
Cafe Ilang-Ilang @ Manila Hotel-45

The dessert station was very impressive but most of the desserts had a lot of improvement needed.
Cafe Ilang-Ilang @ Manila Hotel-48
crepes

The display was beautiful but the small desserts were really, really bad.
Cafe Ilang-Ilang @ Manila Hotel-46

The only thing I liked was the bibingka. They didn’t make a new one when it was finished. So better get this first.
Cafe Ilang-Ilang @ Manila Hotel-47
bibingka or rice cake with salted eggs and cheese

Cafe Ilang-Ilang @ Manila Hotel-50

The gelato was a big hit with everyone.
Cafe Ilang-Ilang @ Manila Hotel-49

You can order any kind of coffee you want- latte, cappucino or just espresso. The guy in charge of making coffee told me the huge espresso machine cost P1.6 million. I googled it and it was worth $15,000. So I guess the real price is somewhere in between. It did make really good coffee.
Cafe Ilang-Ilang @ Manila Hotel-51
Faema Emblema

I’m not really a big fan of buffets because I easily get overwhelmed and believe it or not I get full fast. That’s why buffets aren’t a good deal for me.

Here’s what I ate. I really, really loved the paté maison. It was so rich and creamy. I really wanted a crisp cracker like a lavash for my cheese and paté but they only had soda crackers and bread.
Cafe Ilang-Ilang @ Manila Hotel-52
cheese and paté plate

The hummus was a bit dry. The roti was too thick for my taste.
hummus with roti and naan
hummus with roti and naan

My downfall was the chicken shawarma. After I ate this I was full. I did enjoy it very much though. I ate half of it and just the chicken filling for the remainder. I loved the taste of the marinated chicken and the garlic sauce.
chicken shawarma
chicken shawarma

The only thing I ate on this plate was the beef bulgogi, kalbi, fried squid and pork tapa. Both rice, sweet potato tempura and tokwa’t baboy were not worthy of their calories and precious space in my stomach.
my main plate
my main plate

My real main course was the dessert. I had bites of the regular and ube ensaymadas. Not bad but a little dense and bread-y. The bibingka was dry on the outside but really dense and gooey with the texture of sticky mochi. I loved it.

I had 5 small scoops of gelato – tiramisu, walnut, mocha & mixed berries. They were all good but the best was the tiramisu gelato.

The slice of cake of the top right hand of the picture which I thought was cheesecake was horrible, tasteless gelatin like layers with a chocolate cake base that didn’t taste like chocolate at all.

Below that is another chocolate cake that had zero taste or flavor. They really have to improve their desserts. No wonder everyone just got gelato.
Cafe Ilang-Ilang @ Manila Hotel-56
my desserts

The best double shot cappuccino from a hotel buffet. Ever.
double shot espresso cappuccino
double shot espresso cappuccino

The kids on our table went gaga over the steak. Christine had 12 slices!
Argentinian beef churrasco
Argentinian beef churrasco

I tried my seatmate’s quattro formagio pizza. The topping was great specially the blue cheese but I found the crust a bit too thick and doughy.
pizza
pizza

free balloons too!
Cafe Ilang-Ilang @ Manila Hotel-60

Did the pictures make you drool? I leave it to you to judge if this is the best buffet in town. For me my favorite is still Inagiku.

Buffet price: (now you know why we bought a lot of newspapers)
Weekday – P1,372++
Weekend – P 1,647++

kids below 12 half price

Cafe Ilang-Ilang
Manila Hotel
One Rizal Park, Manila
Philippines
telephone:(632)527-0011

Comments

comments

  • Arlene

    Looks yummy.  Hope it was.

  • browneyedgirl

    ang tiyaga mo to take — and identify — all those pics!  i also read jin’s reviews before but after seeing your “photo album,” i really want to try this buffet talaga.  do those 50% coupons come out every week in manila bulletin?  =)

  • shootfirsteatlater

    ya it took me several hours to do this post. for the love of my blog… :D i’m not sure if it comes out every week but I think Sunday issue of Bulletin has the biggest chance to find the coupon. good luck!!

  • Yom

    I wish I were a kid. LOL. It’s relatively less expensive than Circles or Spirals. Makes me wonder.

  • chief

    I’ll be eating there tonight because of this post! :)

    freshcrumbs.blogspot.com

  • frannywanny

    i just had lunch there! i love the sushi bar and the korean station :) i even bumped into jin there too!! hahaha

  • shootfirsteatlater

    ha ha suking suki si Jin dun! =-X

  • Mordecai

    Beautiful Pictures. What camera are you using if I may ask?

  • shootfirsteatlater

    Thanks! Panasonic GF1.

  • garyapointe

    So, if you’re planning to check in at a Manila Hotel, you may enjoy the buffet served everyday.manila accommodation