6.082 TERNWPPD-10 NW-3 : Lobster, Baby.

6.082

28 (Sat) March 2015

Lobster, Baby.

4.0

at Market Café (New World Manila Bay Hotel)

-Ermita, Manila-

solo

IMG_0245
Through the windows of Market Café on the 3rd floor, the view of my apartment building (right) and Nihonbashitei (center) (see generally 6.072 Unizosui)–from this angle, at this hour–a few minutes before sunset–Manila appears shockingly clean and tame.

TERNWPPD (Try Every Restaurant in New World Manila Bay HotelPan-Pacific Manila, and Diamond Hotel Philippines).

In search of higher quality fare than the joints on the streets of the neighborhood typically offer, I’m eating my way through the three 5-star hotels within walking distance of my apartment.  One meal per restaurant, 10 in all, not including lounges, bars, coffee shops: 3 in New World, 5 in Pan-Pacific, 2 in Diamond.  Bound to be expensive but maybe worth the hassle of going to Makati or Bonifacio.  However, I may fold the project if the on-going returns suggest that I’m wasting my time/money/energy/concern.

This is the 3rd from New World–DONE; the 10th in all–DONE.

IMG_0269
Market Café is a buffet restaurant.
IMG_0246
As the name would suggest, it’s organized like a marketplace with stations/stalls, each with its own specialty…
IMG_0258
…such as sushi…
IMG_0257
…charcuterie…
IMG_0252
…and MSG.

The following tiers (“Would I go back for more?”) are based on the overall dining experience, including all the dishes sampled, cost, ambiance, cleanliness, and any other factors that may apply, cumulative through multiple visits (if any).

Tier 1 (looking forward to it):

Tier 2 (sure, but not enthusiastically):

Tier 3 (only under dire circumstances):

Tier 4 (to be avoided at all costs):

IMG_0644
Caesar Salad (3.5)–perfectly seasoned, subtle yet distinct touches of garlic and anchovy, gorgeously fresh leafs of romaine; I started the meal with a gin & tonic but later discovered…*
IMG_0643
Prime Rib (3.5)–the second best beef that I’ve experienced in the PHL thus far.

I had seriously considered foregoing Market Café and ending TERNWPPD after the previous installment.  Didn’t see the point in trying out a buffet, given my general distaste for buffets, as the objective of the project was to find restaurants that I would subsequently want to frequent.  Furthermore, with colleagues understandably reluctant to accompany me, I wasn’t looking forward to going solo–not that mind eating alone, as I so often do, happily, but the thought of eating alone at a buffet seemed kinda sad.  However, the obsessive-compulsive in me would never have forgiven myself for failing to see the endeavor through to the bitter end.  I decided to make the most of it, bringing along my laptop and earphones for entertainment during a long drawn out evening on my own.

IMG_0266
Rock lobsters unlimited; customers select as many they want and taken them to either the Chinese station or grill station for cooking; each one, split in half, amounts to about 2 large prawns.
IMG_0265
At the Chinese station : one guy chops, one guy batters and deep-fries, and one guy stir-fries.
IMG_0646
Singaporean Chili Sauce (3.0)–sweet & sour dressing kinda masked the natural lobster flavor, but good.
IMG_0649
Salt & Pepper (3.75)–don’t know if it’s a Filipino thing, but “salt & pepper” in a Chinese context here means anything that’s deep-fried then tossed with salt, pepper, garlic, and chilies; in any case, the simple preparation allowed the lobster itself to shine.
IMG_0256
The grill station offers other items…
IMG_0255
…but lobster dominates.
IMG_0261
*…mid-way through the meal, that beer and soft drinks are “free-flowing”—okay then, let it flow.
IMG_0651
Grilled with Butter (4.0)–perfection.
IMG_0657
Grilled with Garlic (3.5)–too much garlic, drowned out the lobster, but still awesome.

12 lobsters, 4 ways.  3 hours.

Though not cheap at 1,800 pesos (about $40) per person, totally worth every.

An amazing meal to complete TERNWPPD–so glad that I went through with it.

IMG_0254
Noodle bar, with 3 types of noodles, various veg and toppings.
IMG_0659
Egg Noodles with Kailan (3.5)–delicately seasoned broth, exquisitely chewy egg noodles, fresh and crispy kailan; probably the same as the noodle soup at Li Li (see above).
IMG_0660
So good that I got another bowl, this one topped with lechon kawali (deep-fried pork belly).

The masochistically gluttonous “Try Every” series: (i) TERRP (…Restaurant in Robinsons Place) (see completed 5.247 TERRP 85 KFC : Original Recipe Fried Chicken…);  (ii) TEITY (..Item at Tao Yuan) (see most recently 6.055 The Penultimate); (iii) TERNWPPD (…Restaurant in New World, Pan-Pacific, Diamond) (see most recently 6.069 Jo Karubi); (iv) TERSK (…Restaurant in St Kilda) (see completed 5.339 Roasted Squid); (v) TEKREM (…Korean Restaurant in Ermita/Malate) (see most recently 6.079 Samhap); (vi) TEIBR (…Item at Bistro Remedios) (see most recently 6.070 Chicken and Pork Adobo).

IMG_0268

Overall, I’m quite satisfied with the outcome of TERNWPPD.  Most notably, I’ve identified what may be the area’s best Cantonese restaurant in Li Li; what may be the area’s best Japanese restaurant in Asunaro, the; and what may be the area’s best source of lobster and prime rib in Market Café.  In terms of baseball, batting .300 ain’t bad.

4 thoughts on “6.082 TERNWPPD-10 NW-3 : Lobster, Baby.

  1. wow. what a way to end.
    Are there waiters/servers at a restaurant like this? Also, I’m curious about tipping practice in Manila.

    Like

  2. congrats on your completing TERNWPPD! average 2.5, but you discovered three best restaurants in malate. i think market cafe maybe beats spiral buffet at sofitel manila.

    Like

  3. @ Nancy : it’s a buffet, so it’s self-service, but there are staff who walk around, mostly to clear used plates, but they did bring the lobsters when done, and one of the guys told me about the free beer.

    Tipping is not standardized here. Fancier restaurants charge 10% service charge, in which case many people don’t leave additional tip. regardless of service charge, I usually leave around 100 pesos (about $2.50) for a 4-person table, total bill around 2000 pesos or so, maybe 50 for a small meal at lunch.

    here, I gave 100 to the guy who was covering the section where I was seated.

    @ LY : yes, considering that each slipper lobster at Tao Yuan cost about 900 pesos each (https://givemethisday.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/6-044-rock-lobster-in-white-pepper-sauce/).

    I was in the process of telling D about the buffet, and the first thing that he asked was, “Do they have lobster?”

    We are so eating out the place next time they’re in town.

    @ EK : indeed, TERNWPPD was a good idea!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s