I am a foodie, this statement is quite evident considering my growing stomach and the numerous posts about food on my blog. I cannot deny myself passing up the opportunity to eat out in some place new and enjoying the specialties of certain restaurants. I cannot also deny myself trying out new flavors that would excite my palate and excite my taste buds. As part of my school's continuous drive to learning I went on a field trip with one of my students to Buffet 101 in Eastwood.
Laid out in four distinct areas, Buffet 101 covers the basics of every food dining buffet experience, the western fusion cuisine, the Asian inspired, the traditional Filipino cuisine and the ever enticing dessert bar. Alongside these distinct areas are what I term as the "in-betweens": salads and fruits for the vegetarian in all of us and those who truly are vegetarians.
There were a lot of choices, in fact the number in the restaurant's name would probably be an indication of the number of food being served at a given time. Therefore, every corner I turned there was something for anyone's palate. There were some cuisines where I was naturally drawn to: the Japanese food, the interesting western fusion cuisine with some interesting takes on classic recipes. It was too much for me to handle, there were just too many things to see, every corner was a giant smorgasbord of food that needed to be tasted, or at the very least, sampled.
Coming into Buffet 101 and knowing that I would be faced with an immense number of choices in a limited amount of time, I had to be strategic with my eating. I had already mentally mapped out what how I would attack it: no soups or drinks, protein first, no rice because this would fill me up as quickly as possible. However the whole plan came crumbling down when I saw the maki and sushi plates presented. The wonderful colors of the food and the interesting fusions was too much that I forgot my strategy and dug into the Japanese plates ASAP.
I don't know how many I got but I knew that my first plate was loaded. I got at least one or two of each, placed some pickled ginger (gari) and a little bit of the soy sauce. I did not put any wasabi in my dipping plate, since I sort of expected that the chefs who made the sushi were well-versed in the art of sushi making. Unfortunately there was no wasabi and the the sushi I had was more than enough to tickle and whet my appetite for the second round. There were some interesting ones I tasted along the way, some had a little spicy kick to it, another had wasabi grains drizzled all over it, and the rest were the traditionally made sushi rolls that we have become familiar with.
I sort of regret loading up my plate with sushi, then again the equivalent of all of the sushi in my plate was probably good for a second one. Feeling a little bit stuffed, I moved on to my second plate with a smaller helping of some Chinese dumplings: hakaw and sharksfin (which I regret getting since it's sort of a staple already in our canteen), pork sisig (in small amounts, since Tricia would probably kill me if I got more), a slice of pork belly, and pumpkin soup. I regret not getting more but I was already feeling my belt, my stomach and my shirt protesting against the overstretching of muscles (or fat). True enough, I bowed down to the competition, while my other officemates and students went on into their third and fourth plate.
The food in Buffet 101 isn't exactly world class nor is it something forgettable or disgusting, the honor of having disgusting food goes to Yakimix (except for their sushi rolls) and the world-class would go to HEAT of Shangri-La Plaza. Buffet 101 stands in the in-between of buffet restaurant food. When I think of Buffet 101, the food and the price is comparable to that of Guevarra's by Chef Laudico in Mandaluyong. Affordable enough that the food tastes good, the ambiance is suited for the place and the choices are enough to sate whatever appetite you have for the day.
P.S. I had a big bowl of vanilla ice cream, two balls of buchi and after a 30 minute break from eating (I kid you not), I had a small piece of waffle topped off with chocolate syrup and two and a half scoops of vanilla ice cream. Just in case you were wondering what I had for dessert.
My name is Alfonso your nerdy history teacher, bookworm and lover of all things cultural and exciting. You can find me in a weekend market, in a bookshop, or eating in Japanese restos during the weekends.