6.082 Lobster, Baby

Cycle 6 – Item 82

28 (Sat) March 2015

Lobster, Baby


at Market Café

(New World Manila Bay Hotel)

-Ermita, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines-


Try Every Restaurant in New World, Pan-Pacific, Diamond Hotels (10 of 10) (see also TERNWPPD)

Eating my way through the restaurants in the 5-star hotels within walking distance of my apartment in Manila: New World (3), Pan-Pacific (5), Diamond (2).  In contrast to the crappy food in the neighborhood, hotels ought to do better, at least in terms of quality.

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

Market Café is a buffet restaurant.

As the name would suggest, it’s organized like a marketplace with stations/stalls, each with its own specialty…
…such as sushi…
…and MSG.

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.

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…*
Prime Rib (3.5): the second best beef that I’ve experienced in the PHL thus far.
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.
At the Chinese station : one guy chops, one guy batters and deep-fries, and one guy stir-fries.
Singaporean Chili Sauce (3.0)–sweet & sour dressing kinda masked the natural lobster flavor, but good.
Salt & Pepper (3.5): 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.
The grill station offers other items…
…but lobster dominates.
*…mid-way through the meal, that beer and soft drinks are “free-flowing”—okay then, let it flow.
Grilled with Butter (4.0): perfection.
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.

Noodle bar, with 3 types of noodles, various veg and toppings.
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).
So good that I got another bowl, this one topped with lechon kawali (deep-fried pork belly).


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 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.

  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.

  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!

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