First off, I would like to apologize about the lame title for I feel that this place deserves a classier name… but I just can’t help it. (For those who are not that familiar with the Filipino language, ilang means to be uneasy.) Moving on…
I was so glad that my boss tagged me along to the launch of the all-new Café Ilang-Ilang. At first, I didn’t know that it was a buffet restaurant thus I had a heavy breakfast. When I got in, I felt remorse over not skipping breakfast. And who wouldn’t when one is faced with NINE COOKING STATIONS?
The host of the launch was Issa Litton and she felt that we were all drooling and eager to visit all nine stations. The stations were: Pan-Asian (Chinese, Korean, Malaysian, and Filipino dishes), Churrasco (Western), Japanese, Italian, Spa (healthy food station) and Dessert. After the short talk of the president of Manila Hotel (yes, Café Ilang-Ilang is inside the Manila Hotel), people from the press all “charged” to the different stations.
Being a frustrated Japanese that I am, I went to the Japanese station first. It was sushi, sashimi, and maki galore! I took a lot of salmon sashimi which is my ultimate love. I also took some other tuna sashimi, eel sushi, and this interesting pomelo with shrimp salad in a martini glass. All I can say was, it was LOVE! The seafood was fresh. The salmon was so soft and the shrimp is still firm and not the powdery type some restaurants serve. The dish that has several colors (I can’t remember the name), was also good. :)
Next stop was the Chinese, Filipino and Korean Stations. For the Filipino station, I took some grilled pork (and I forgot to get some sauce, no wonder it was so dry), steamed fish, and of course, lechon! For the Chinese station, I took some dumplings (pork, chicken and shark’s fin). Lastly, for the Korean station, I got chapche, kimbap and my favorite, bulgogi.
The lechon’s best part is the skin and I was really excited to munch on it but I guess that was the one dish you have to try first. My lechon’s skin was no longer crispy. :( The steamed fish on the other hand was your typical steamed fish. A bit on the bland side but that was cooked just the way I love it!
|Sorry, I forgot to take a picture before taking a bite. IT WAS THE LECHON!|
Since I was already full and my tummy was already asking for mercy, I decided to skip all other stations, EXCEPT the desserts station. I left that I was in Willy Wonka’s factory when I visited the desserts station. There were lots of pastries, chocolates, fruits, ice cream, and much much more. I had a hard time choosing which ones to try. Just staring at the chocolate fountain brings tears to my eyes.
Anyway, enough being so sentimental over desserts, I had marshmallow covered with chocolate, tiramisu, chocolate brownie, strawberry pudding, and that heavenly chocolate pudding (which I forgot to take picture of—was too excited). The tiramisu was a bit bland and same goes for the chocolate brownie and strawberry pudding (though it was not the pudding’s fault since I got it from the sugar-free section). BUT the chocolate on the marshmallow was so good. In fact, I savored every drop left on my plate (and no, I did not lick my plate clean. I was still aware that I was in a hotel and that I have to act properly.)
Verdict: A must visit place!
Ambiance: The place was quite cozy. At first, I thought that the place was small; but after checking all 9 stations, I realized that the interior designer was witty to segment the place in such a way that all kinds of people, from couples to families to colleagues will all feel at home. Also, they were witty at placing the desserts station near the entrance. As mentioned by Issa, it was purposely done so as to remind people to “make room for dessert” since there are 8 other stations.
Price: Given that it is in a hotel, expect that it will be pricey. The range goes as low as P1372.77 (net) and as high as P1647.32 (net).