September 20, 2009 - Two days after my 33rd birthday, my wife, Tina gave me her present : a confirmed reservation for the two of us, with our son, Gabby who eats for FREE at Dusit Thani’s Family Sunday Brunch Buffet! It was our second time to experience such gastronomic adventure in 4 different themed restaurants of Dusit : Benjarong – Thai; Basix -Asian-Continental; Tosca-Italian; Umu -Japanese; Our first dining experience of such epic proportions at Dusit was only last March and can be viewed here; it was such a blast, we had so much fun!
After I have donated blood last Thursday at St. Luke’s Medical Center, as my humble charity work for my birthday, and revisited Bellini’s with my family on the day when I turned a year older, this buffet brunch is more than enough. For the moment, life cannot be better than this!
We both love Dusit; it’ll be forever memorable for the 2 of us, because 2 sections of its ballroom served as our wedding reception venue more than five years ago. And the brunch we had six months back was so remarkable that we promised ourselves that we’ll try and explore other dishes some time. We even spread the word about this Family Brunch Buffet to our colleagues and friends.
We arrived at the hotel lobby at 11AM exactly half an hour before buffet starts. After paying PhP 1450 nett per pax, the friendly staff gave our wrist bands that rendered access to those 4 fantastic restaurants in Dusit Thani. We also got a chance to roam around the Japanese garden opposite Umu while waiting…
We like those kois on the pond and that man-made waterfalls…
We shot photos of Gabby at every ‘road signs’ heading to those 4 restos which he enjoyed so much!
Though she likes Basix, my wifey chose to reserved a table for 3 at Umu for she knows that I like the ambiance of that Japanese restaurant; not to disregard the fact that I’m excited to eat Umu’s teppanyaki again!
Who can resist the beauty of Umu?
Its contemporary Japanese interiors is so inviting. With those wooden tablets in black with gold Japanese characters, and a sushi-sashimi station at the center, and a classy atmosphere, everyone is easily drawn to its charm.
After being ushered to our table by a purple-Kimono clad staff, Tina and Gabby went to Basix to get some yummies, while I walked straight to an area in Umu to get some of these…
At the Teppanyaki section, you have the freedom to choose the ingredients you’d like the chef to grill for you at his teppan – from the freshest beef cubes which I skipped; to thinly sliced veggies, bean sprouts, mushrooms, shelled tiger prawns, pink salmon and lapu-lapu…A dash of salt and pepper and other Oriental seasoning and oil, voila!
My teppanyaki plate from Umu is always a personal favorite! I just love how those fresh seafoods are grilled to perfection!
I also got goodies that were deeply fried upon request : prawn and bacon which was sooo good! and ham and cheese, eggplant on sticks.
I didn’t pass the chance to try another favorite from Umu : SUKIYAKI Look how those bowls of very tender marbled beef and stock with veggies and soft tofu are prepared…
The glass noodles were soft and thick; the soup itself was never too sweet, neither too salty… Sarap!
Unlike Sukiyaki from other Japanese restos, Umu’s version doesn’t disappoint because of its almost fatless beef. Isn’t it obvious that I really like Umu? LOL
Other delectable must-try are : (from left to right) Tamago rolls, Ika Karaage, Salad, Cold Soba…
What’s a Japanese restaurant without sushi and sashimi ?
On way to Basix, there’s a lady dressed as Thailander who played the string instrument, Khim.
Basix has this relaxed and cool ambiance…
Tina and Gabby brought to our table at Umu this plate from Basix…
I was informed by the chef at Umu’s Teppanyaki section that Ebi Tempura’s cooking was transferred to Basix. Because it’s one of Gabby’s favorites, Tina got him generous servings of those battered shrimps. It’s not the best tempura we’ve tasted but nonetheless, OK. The mussels from Basix were bordering from tasteful to bland; still we favor Circles Events Cafe of Makati Shangri la when it comes to New Zealand Mussels.
When I went to Basix, I got a slice of Roast Beef and 2 wrapped rolls of Peking Duck. Peking Duck tasted fine, but I wish they can improve the Roast Beef’s mushroom gravy into a thicker consistency and making it more flavorful.
There are tons of choices to choose from the spread at Basix; the buffet duration of 11:30 AM to 3PM is just not enough! Too many food, so little time, LOL
What makes Dusit Thani’s Sunday Family Crossover Brunch creatively unique compared to other Live-cooking / open-kitchen buffets in other hotels is that diners in Dusit can burn calories immediately after munching. How? One has to walk from the base-station of choice (for us :Umu!) to the other 3 themed restos. I view it as Dusit’s advantage rather than its opposite. Diners may take the grand winding stairs, or on our case, who were tooooo lazy to walk, take the lifts to go to the mezzanine where Benjarong and Tosca are located. At the lobby, there are interesting characters to cheer up kids and the kid-at-hearts – just like this smiley stilt-walker who’s always ready for a photo-op :D
Being a Thai hotel in Manila, it’s not surprising that Dusit Thani’s Benjarong boasts of ambiance that’s so elegant and enticing to the senses. The entrance to Benjarong has a wall adorned with ceramics that will lead you to the main dining area.
But, I guess my palate isn’t partial to Thai dishes, whether mild, or super spicy. I only like their desserts.
YAM SOM O : Pomelo Salad, and YAM PLA DOOK FOO : Crispy Fried Catfish with Green Mango Salad
YAM SAI KRAWK BACON THOD : Spicy Bacon Wrapped Sausage
MEE KROB KRATHONG : Sweet and Sour Crispy Vermicelli in Pastry Cup.
My Thai plate had a bit of everything…
I like those Thai sweet treats with coconut milk and glutinous rice…
KHANOM TAKO : Sweet Water Chestnut and Coconut Cream in Pandan Cup -> sarap!
KHANOM SOD SAI : Stuffed Glutinous Flour Ball with Grated Coconut and Sugar -> yum!
KHAO NIAO MAMUANG : Ripe Mango with Sticky Rice -> I love mangoes; i like rice! Tasted like bico.
Let’s leave Benjarong and allow me to take you to TOSCA, the Italian Restaurant of Dusit Thani in Makati…
Tosca is noted for its sophistication and class… the atmosphere is made subdued and comfy by a musician who plays the piano while diners enjoy some of the best Italian cuisine…
FREE FLOWING ITALIAN SPARKLING WINES, anyone ? This is another edge of Dusit Thani’s buffet. In other hotels, rates do not include beverages, but in Dusit, you can enjoy Italian wine flavored with either Dalandan or Raspberry to your hearts content! Other drinks available are Lemongrass Juice from Benjarong, Iced Green Tea from Umu, Dalandan and Raspberry Juices from Basix all in bottomless servings! Plus the staffs are always ready with smiles, which I most like!
There are wide array of food to be cooked and prepared upon request, from pasta to pizza, to salads and more.
I so wish our stomachs are bottomless too, LOL We can only eat as much.
I asked one of the chefs in Tosca to prepare me a personal-sized pizza. As he began to knead the dough I requested all toppings available except for olives. Tina and I aren’t fanatics of olives. He politely told me to return after 5 minutes as he bakes my pizza. It was delicious; the bread alone can stand sans toppings! As I enjoyed the pizza freshly made from Tosca, I failed to savor other Italian dishes like that Turkey Breast Stuffed with raisins and sage on roasted tomato cream (photo beside pizza); it looks delicious as well.
One rule that Tina and I have learned from buffets : MAKE ROOM FOR DESSERTS !
After my wife entrusted Gabby to the very accomodating staffs of KIDS’ STATION at the lobby, Tina and I became so busy with desserts… (Gabby opted to play and watch his favorite cartoons, Spongebob rather than stuffed his tummy like his parents, LOL). We had ice cream from Tosca, as we look upon Gabby.
DESSERTS from TOSCA : DIVINE!
DESSERTS from BASIX : SUBLIME!
Care for some D-I-Y HALO-HALO or CHOCOLATE FONDUE that tastes like Hershey’s?
While Gabby became occupied with having his face painted for FREE, Tina and I sat at Basix and had blueberry and mango crepes! I had mine topped with almond flakes.
BENJARONG SWEETS : EXQUISITE…
DESSERTS from UMU : TOOTHSOME…
Half hour before 3PM, we took time to photograph Gabby with the friendly balloon-maker and the man on stilts…
It was another memorable fun day with my family. What a way to welcome my 33rd year! The buffet was only icing on the cake; I am so grateful to our good Lord for my family’s health and safety. I am just thankful for having Tina and Gabby!
We love Dusit Thani’s Sunday Family Crossover Brunch!
Dusit Thani Manila, Ayala Center, Makati City/Tel (63-2) 867-3333 Every Sunday 11:30 AM to 3:00PM/ PhP 1450 nett for adults/PhP 725 nett for children 6 to 12 years old.