Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Buffet International Cuisine: A great selection of global and local flavors

I started looking for wedding venues in Quezon City right after getting engaged, since we wanted a nearby space that could be turned into both a ceremony and reception place. We've already decided to do a very simple wedding, so planning things on a very limited budget had to be carefully considered. I believe that we’ve come to think and act the way we do due to us being budget travelers. So we definitely wanted our practical and resourceful side to show, without leaving out a few wedding traditions. 


I already had my mind set out on a particular restaurant in Marikina, as its interiors were tastefully-designed. My love for it intensified more soon after tasting their delicious food. But after looking into their wedding packages and seeing the reception area firsthand, something in me just felt incomplete. There wasn’t a ‘WOW’ factor. Now, I also took a hint from my Fiancé after he suggested that we continue to explore other options, as he would prefer a more accessible location. So I looked further, and eventually found The Buffet International Cuisine --- a Korean-owned restaurant headed by Executive Chef, Romeo Santos. 


I was pretty happy to know that a few of my blogger friends have already reviewed the buffet restaurant. Thanks to one of them, I was able to contact Ms. Cathy Sanchez, the Sales & Marketing Manager of The Buffet International Cuisine. I actually loved how Ms. Cathy replied to all of my inquiries, as she was always prompt and accommodating. Believe me, I had so many wedding-related questions, but she always emailed back with a positive response.

I was already planning on trying the buffet restaurant as soon as Rubel comes home. But I didn’t have to wait long, as I was recently invited to try the sumptuous spread of the Korean-owned restaurant.


AN EASY TO FIND LOCATION

It wasn’t hard to find the restaurant, even as a commuter, as it was just along Commonwealth Avenue. My friend, Paula and I rode an FX (Fairview bound) at the Trinoma Transport Terminal. We only paid P35 each. There was no traffic on a Saturday, so we breezed through the roads of Quezon City in a matter of 15-20 minutes. 

The Buffet International Cuisine is connected to a footbridge, which is located in front of the Diliman Preparatory School. The restaurant is also beside the Nissan/Hyundai showroom. So it’s hard not to miss.

It was also easy to go back to Trinoma from the restaurant. We just took a cab, turned right to Luzon Avenue (passed by Cherry Foodarama on the right and KFC on the left), and then turned left to Mindanao Avenue.

SIT BACK AND RELAX! LET THE CHEF DO THE COOKING!

Unlike other buffet restaurants that let you grill or cook your food on the spot, The Buffet International Cuisine offers their guests with food that are ‘freshly prepared to perfection’. So if you wanted a plate of Korean Samgyeopsal, a bowl of stir-fried Mongolian, or some Pasta Marinara, you can easily request your chosen dishes to be cooked right on the spot. But of course, if you still prefer to cook your food while you’re there, a Shabu-Shabu feast can be done, as a hot pot is made available on every table. 

Photo courtesy of Paulo O of Pondering Paodaolei

A WIDESPREAD OF FOOD CHOICES

I was impressed with the restaurant's food choices, which ranged from Asian to Western dishes. If you asked me what my favorites were, I’d start with the Pork Steak. Paula and I ordered a piece each, which were immediately grilled by the chef at the Steak Station. We didn’t have to wait for it to be cooked well done, as it was delivered straight to our table.

The pork steak, which was plated with a slice of grilled potato and dabbed with peppercorn sauce, had the tastiest combination. It was also juicy and easy to slice through. One setback though is that we had to eat it right away, as it got cold pretty fast. 


Before I gorged on my Pork Steak, I started with a few pieces of California Maki and a few slices of fresh Tuna Sashimi. I always start with these Japanese specialties whenever I eat at buffets, and the ones at the restaurant didn’t disappoint. The green-coated sushi (my apologies, as I forgot the name) was certainly new to my palate, given its crunchy exterior. But it was still delectable nonetheless. I also found the cut of their sushi variations very big compared to most buffets, which is a definite plus. 


I also sampled their vegetable salad, which I paired with some Ranch dressing. I was surprised that the usual staple, Caesar dressing wasn’t available. Alternatively, there were other dips like Thousand Island and Tarragon Vinaigrette, which I no longer got to try. 

My last ‘appetizer’ was the Lumpiang Ubod, which I poured with peanut sauce. The fresh lumpia was just recently added to the menu of Filipino dishes. I'm actually glad that they started offering the Lumpiang Ubod in the menu, as the Pinoy selection would've seemed incomplete without it (other must-try's: Dinakdakan, Gising-Gising and Sisig). 


For the main course, I sampled a combination of Filipino and Chinese food. A had some Beef Brisket, Kare-Kare, Cebu Lechon and Yang Chow Rice. My food choices were pretty fascinating in terms of taste, as the Beef Brisket made me remember my favorite PARES eatery in QC. I also loved the Kare-Kare, as the sauce wasn’t overpowered by the peanut mix; more so, when I paired it with their delish Bagoong (fish paste). Their bagoong had the right saltiness and aroma, unlike other versions that I’ve tasted before. 


I didn’t fancy the sauce for the Cebu Lechon, as it tasted a bit salty. I guess I was just used to pairing lechon with the usual, sweet and spicy taste of Mang Tomas. But I liked the lechon, even without the sauce. I mean, who wouldn't?

The Buffet International Cuisine is a Korean-owned restaurant, so there was definitely a good spread of homegrown dishes. Although I didn’t get to try much of their selection, I made sure to sample their Kimchi, as it has always been my favorite Korean dish! The restaurant’s homemade version was a delectably spicy treat.

Photo courtesy of Paula O of Pondering Paodaolei

We also got to try another Korean dish in The Buffet International Cuisine: the Mandoo Korean Dumplings. I was already full at the time, so I only got to taste the Bulgogi flavor. It definitely tasted different, compared to the usual pork and shark's fin dumplings that I buy. But the Bulgogi Mandoo was certainly meaty and flavorsome.


"Bulgogi is one of Korea's most popular beef dishes that is made from thinly sliced sirloin or another prime cut of beef (rib eye). It is usually marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, black pepper, garlic, onions, ginger, and sugar for two to four hours to enhance the flavor and its tenderization."

The Mandoo dumplings are offered at a very competitive and affordable price. The Fusion Korea food cart, which is the 1st Korean inspired food cart business, is also open for franchise.


ENJOY FRESH BREAD AND PASTRIES BAKED IN-HOUSE

What's the point of being in a buffet restaurant without an unlimited fix of sweets to look forward to, right? The Buffet International Cuisine has their own Pastry Chef, so you can always expect fresh bread and pastries baked daily. 

The restaurant definitely offered a great selection of desserts, so it was a bit of a challenge to choose the best ones that'll satisfy my already-full tummy. I didn't want to waste any food (guests will be charged P500 for leftovers), so I only tried their Strawberry Cheesecake and Chocolate Mousse. 



The Strawberry Cheesecake definitely reminded me of the actual cake, except for the bottom layer, as it had a crumb crust. Despite of, I still loved its taste, especially its presentation and texture. I also loved the mousse, as it had the same melt-in-your-mouth consistency with the other versions I've tried before. 



BEAUTIFULLY DECORATED FUNCTION HALLS

My main goal for visiting The Buffet International Cuisine was to check their function halls. I instantly got excited when Ms. Cathy offered to show us the Grand Ballroom, as it was being arranged for an afternoon wedding reception. We were able to look around the room, and was immediately smitten by its gold accents and vintage inspired decorations. The decor was minimalist, so I loved it even more. I actually felt a bit teary-eyed while imagining my own wedding taking place in this very hall. And that's when I knew, that IT could be THE VENUE!

Grand Ballroom 150-250pax maximum - Photo courtesy of The Buffet International Cuisine
Diamond Function room 50-80pax maximum - Photo courtesy of The Buffet International Cuisine
Platinum Function room 90-140pax maximum - Photo courtesy of The Buffet International Cuisine

A WARM BUFFET GREETING

I had a great time dining at The Buffet International Cuisine, simply because they had the nicest staff. From being escorted to our reserved table to having our pictures taken by the bubbly waiter (Mr. Archie), the entire staff was definitely keen on making their guests stay happy and full. I also commend the Chefs and Cooks who were always on standby, ready to assist and cook our preferred dishes. And of course, our special thanks to Ms. Cathy for graciously accommodating us. I, for one, look forward to dining with them again.

Paula, Moi, Ms. Cathy, Claire

Explore & Be Free,
Mai



 
The Buffet International Cuisine
#41 Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City
02-3515536 / 02-3524075 / 0917-6-BUFFET

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