So my Saturday went a little something like this…
M: I just saw on Instagram that Four Seasons by Vikings has an opening promotion today. First 100 customers get 50% off the dinner buffet. Wanna go?
Me: OK! Wait… Do you like hotpot? I don’t know if I’m in the mood for hotpot. Um… OK, let’s give it a try.
I was slightly deterred by the prospect of the dinner service line starting at 3 pm, but what the heck? We’ve lined up for other adventures before, like when we baked in the blazing high noon heat of BGC Fully Booked for Free Comic Book Day. We were there by 3:30 pm, and it looked crazy already.
After standing near the construction site of a Burger King and our half of the line inhaling drill dust, paint fumes, and smoke from passing cars, we were finally let in at 5:30 pm (as promised). It was not unlike lining up for a ride at Universal Studios, but this one really didn’t move until the designated time. Luckily, we made it as part of the first 100 (98th and 99th, oh yeah!), so we got to avail the 50% discount.
First impressions: Let’s talk about the interiors. Viking’s takes the usual high-quality hotel buffet concept and gives it reinvention after reinvention via the interior design and special dishes on their various branches. We’ll get into the culinary offerings later, but the interiors are modern rustic. It’s like stepping into a pastel-accented English country home, but on a much more extravagant scale. I found myself caught off guard by this as the thought of hotpot obviously brings to mind more oriental settings. Then again, the hotpot may be a major section, but there are no shortage of different cuisines present…
… This leads us to the talk of food. I called Four Seasons Mall of Asia earlier that day to ask what types of food, apart from the hotpot ingredients, are being offered at their Manhattan Gardens branch. (Phone lines were busy for Cubao.) The polite lady on the other end told me that there were only seven cooked main course dishes in addition to the pre-prepared appetizers and desserts. She said the same could be expected at their Cubao branch. Boy, was she wrong. The cooked spread that lay before us was typical Vikings: pasta, sushi and sashimi, grill, tempura, carving, salad, and dessert stations were all present. So were the drinks that ranged from infused waters to buko shake to soft drinks to beer (Thai and San Mig) to milk tea (with black pearl!) to coffee/tea. As it turns out, the newly-opened Four Seasons Hotpot in Manhattan Parkview is the first branch to do a culinary mashup with Vikings Buffet, whereas the one in MoA is primarily for hotpot.
The Sweet Potatoes Mashed with Four Cheese and Marshmallow as well as the Camaron con Pasta were the most unique and unusual dishes I tasted there. Um… The sweet potatoes were hard to place. Not quite savory and not quite dessert, it left my taste buds confused. Perhaps you could liken it to a dessert version of mashed potatoes. Meanwhile, the Camaron con Pasta was like Carbonara with mustard. If that tickles your palate, then go ahead.
I liked the way they spread the dishes out. You’ll stumble upon a fair assortment of vegetable dishes between meat viands. Meaning, if you want something lighter or healthier, you won’t feel left out.
The sushi and sashimi were deliciously fresh, and I enjoyed sampling their creations, such as the Philly Cheese Steak Roll, Mango Roll (sweet mangoes!), and Jumbo Roll.
The carving station looked desecrated at this point, but at least you know that they’ve got no shortage of roasts. I heard that the specialty was the Binusog na Lechon (stuffed roast pig).
For the hotpot, a server approached our table with a menu for soup bases. Though I didn’t spot curry bases like with another hotpot place I went to, there was a sizable selection. We opted for half pork soup, half sukiyaki.
The sukiyaki base is great for when you want a little bit of the sweetness from the broth to permeate the ingredients you’re cooking. However, it does got too sweet to the point of syrupy after reduction, so it’s best to have plain soup to accompany it. You’ll be able to dilute it for drinking. Otherwise, just use it as a sweet dipping sauce.
At the dessert station, it’s the usual impressive-looking shot glasses of mousses and such in a display chiller. There’s ice cream, frozen yogurt soft serve, chocolate fountain, fresh fruits, and a crepe-making corner. Then it gets more interesting with the Filipino kakanin and bibingka/putobumbong station. There’s even a taho station, apparently, though I didn’t get to try it.
We ended our meal with cups of hot tea, choice of Harney & Sons or Twinings, to get that digestion ball rolling. So full we both were!
Verdict: Our dining experience was pleasant. No complaints on our end as to the diversity of dishes, cuisines, and courses offered. Service was excellent, with waitstaff and members of the management dropping by tables every so often to ask if everything was okay. The combo of international buffet and hotpot may sound a little odd at first, but it works out nicely at being an all-around choice for diners of various tastes.
Adult Weekday Lunch: PHP 688
Adult Weekday Dinner: PHP 888
Adult Weekend/Holiday Lunch/Dinner: PHP 888
Then there’s a complicated chart for the Kids’ Rate.
*Plus 5% Service Charge
October 3 – 6: 50% OFF for the first 100 Pax!
October 7 – 13: 25% OFF Facebook “Fans” Promo
October 14 – 20: 25% OFF Instagram “Followers” Promo
October 21 – 27: 20% OFF Quezon City Promo
October 28 – 30: 15% OFF Vikings Loyalty Cardholders Discount
FYI: For those brave enough to line up for the promo until Tuesday, know that there are only about 30 seats at the front of the line. The rest of the line WILL be standing for the duration of those two hours.
Four Seasons Buffet & Hotpot
Ground Floor, Manhattan Parkview, General Roxas Ave, Cubao, Quezon City, Metro Manila
(02) 932 7777