Bring me somewhere with a wide variety of foods and I would automatically gravitate towards the seafood area. I like to eat shrimp, prawn, squid, crab, and shellfish. Thank goodness I am not allergic to these yummy treats from the sea like some of my friends are!
Last night, I had dinner at Marriott Cafe, a fast-rising choice for metropolis diners because it offers modern all-day dining that deliciously combines the best of local and continental cuisine. Now, they have this wonderful seafood buffet dubbed Ocean's Harvest that's available every Friday and Saturday from 6:00 to 10:30PM. This is a more posh way of the traditional Filipino paluto style where you can choose from the numerous selection of fresh seafood, request the chefs to have it cooked the way you want it, and indulge in the lip-smacking flavors of the bounty of the sea for P2300.
The Ocean Surf Market Style Buffet Menu presents the "Catch of the Day" which includes fresh salmon, tuna loin, local tanigue, pompano, talakitok, lapu-lapu, maya-maya, shellfish, jumbo prawns, half shell local scallop, local clams, jumbo squid, suahe shrimps, blue marlin, and local gindara. All these are beautifully displayed on top of chunks of ice.
On another part of the Marriott Cafe, you'd also find slippers lobster, local blue sea crab, curacha crab, prawns, mussels, and white shells that are already cooked and chilled, ready for eating.
Of course, along with the vast number of seafood varieties are also the many ways of cooking them. I liked that there are friendly waiters who you can call on to give you suggestions on what kind of cooking should be done on a particular seafood. For instance, I was fascinated by the colors of the parrot fish but have no idea what method of cooking I should request. I ended up following a waiter's recommendation and the fish tasted really good!
Much as I would love to try out everything, my tummy can only accommodate a few dishes at a time. So I chose a few pieces of prawn and had it cooked with butter and garlic, a couple of slices of blue marlin which one chef grilled to perfection, and two pieces of scallops which another chef baked and sprinkled cheese on. I also got to try the fish and shrimp sinigang that my table mate Aileen ordered. The soup tasted fantastic! I definitely would have to go back to Marriott Cafe next time for more of that!
Other cooking methods that you can ask the chefs do for you include piping hot soups like the Shrimp Gumbo Soup or Local Clam Soup in Lemon Glass cooked Tinola-style. Sinigang can be done in local miso or tamarind fruits alongside talakitok, maya-maya, head prawn, local clams, salmon fillet, or lapu-lapu cutlet. Each of these will go really well with veggies like mustasa leaves, kangkong, eggplant, okra, string beans, fresh tomatoes, and finger chili.
As with many Filipinos, these dishes are made more flavorful when you drizzle them with well-loved condiments like fish sauce, calamansi, soy sauce, and fresh chili. Another way of enjoying steamed seafood is ordering Wok-friend Shrimp with Cashew Nuts and Celery or the Steamed Maya-Maya with Spicy Garlic Sauce. Like 'em fried? Go for the Fried Whole Lapu-Lapu with Black Beans Sauce or Sweet and Sour Sauce, or the Crispy Fried Baby Shrimp marinated in rum. You may also want to try the Fisherman's Special Paella, Seafood Lasagna, and Spicy Thai Shrimp Fried Rice.
Personally, I prefer grilled seafood over steamed ones so I'm sure, if ever there'll be a next time for me, I would also enjoy biting on grilled Salmon Steak, Prawns, Tuna Steak, Local Tanigue Steak, Pompano, local Talakitok, and Kiting. These can be paired with sauces such as lemon butter, cafe de Paris butter, chili vinegar, calamansi soy sauce, and Thai chili sauce.
For those who like blending fresh seafood with cool and crisp vegetables, there is Salad Station that has a selection of greens and dressings that are made more special with options such as lobster and pomelo, broccoli and blue crab, seafood with mushroom and mango salad in honey mustard, lapu lapu ceviche, and local scallop asparagus and orange salad.
The Japanese Station, where I usually go to first because of the miso soup, offers assorted sushi such as Tuna Sashimi and Snapper Sashimi as well ingredients to make your own Teppanyaki. The Batter Station, on the other hand, makes the seafood experience more tantalizing because shrimps, fish fillets, osohos, and lobster fillet are placed on ice bowls ready to be paired with plain batter, beer batter, or tempura batter.
As if all these aren't enough, Ocean's Harvest also offers the Chef's Creation where some of Marriott Hotel Manila's professional chefs are available to recommend and create a special dish, according to their guest's liking.
Surely, after enjoying a lavish seafood buffet, one must not forget to drop by the Dessert Station where you can find the samba mousses, cheesecakes, assorted homemade gelato ice cream, and sorbets that are oh so worth saving up space for inside your tummy. Don't forget to pair your sweets with tea or coffee to complete your sweet finale. I love Marriott's gelato and got me two scoops, added a couple of fresh strawberries plus some chocolate-covered marshmallows then went back for seconds :p
Be captivated too by this five-star seafood buffet experience only at Marriott Hotel Manila's Marriott Cafe located in Resorts World Manila. For inquiries and reservations, please call (02) 988-9999.