Manila: 3 Buffet Breakfasts in Makati
3 breakfasts over the past 3 days in Makati - just to see how they fared compared to each other:
1) Circles, Makati Shangri-La - fabulous buffet spread with sections dedicated to Western, Japanese, Indian and Filipino cuisines. Longganisa sausages were fab, also good garlic fried rice, pork adobo and crisp daing ng bangus. Honey-baked ham, roast beef, various types of sausages, egg tortas - the choices were incredible! Above average ensaymada at the fabulous pastries/bread section. Also had an incredible section dedicated to Filipino traditional dessert items (kakanin). Loved the bibingka. Fresh fruit juices, dairy section, fresh-cut fruits (including some incredible mangos). LOVE this place. Rating (IMHO): 9.5 out of 10.
2) Escolta, Peninsula Hotel Makati - smaller spread than Circles'. Also have dedicated Western, Filipino, Japanese sections. Some Indian choices - dhal, naan bread. Not much choice of Filipino native desserts - but ensaymada tasted absolutely fabulous - better than Circles', and the chef offered to warm up the pan de sal for me - nice, personal touch. Daing ng bangus also tasted the BEST of all 3 breakfast places I ate at. Corned beef Pinoy was a rich-tasting & substantial breakfast entree. Love the banana bread, too, and little jars of jam at each table. Service was great, smaller dining area, but bright skylit room was a definite plus. Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
3) Paseo Uno, Mandarin Oriental Makati - dark, claustrophobic dining area with service stations clustered together awkwardly. I didn't feel comfortable at all here - but was coincidentally shown the only table with nice view of the pool outside, so that helps alleviate the feeling of overcrowding A LOT. Service was very attentive - like the 2 earlier restaurants. Asked chef at the Egg Station for 2 eggs over-easy. She made one egg, sunny-side up - despite my repeated requests - obviously did not understand English. Pork tocino (despite being served in the hot section) was cold & hard. Pork adobo and Pancit Canton next to it were also all very cold. Come one- this is NOT a turo-turo stall!! Pan de sal stuffed with corned beef was awful - dry, cold & hard. Hot section was not impressive, though mini-quiches were quite cute & tasty. Also had carvery - ham & roast chicken, but not as impressive as Circles and Escolta's. Salad/fruit and cereals/dairy sections were pretty standard, but bread/pastry section fell FAR short of the other 2 places. Rating: 6 out of 10.
Photos taken at Circles, Makati Shangri-La Hotel:
(1) French toast, waffles, pancakes, bibingka;
(2) My breakfast plate with: longganisa sausage, pork adobo, garlic rice, fried bangus (milkfish);
(3) Kakanin section;
(4) Egg & spinach quiches.
Photos taken at Escolta, Peninsula Hotel:
(1) The marvellous bread/pastry section - the ensaymada and pan de sal are the best options;
(2) Pinoy-style corned beef (optional!);
(3) Part of the buffet spread - garlic rice was good, & "daing na bangus" was very well marinated.
Photos taken at Paseo Uno, Mandarin Oriental Hotel:
(1) Patisserie section of buffet spread;
(2) Some of the local options in the hot food section: Pancit Canton and Pork Tocino;
(3) View of hotel pool from Paseo Uno.
If you'd like to try a few good non-hotel weekend brunches, I would recommend the following independent restaurants:
Sala Bistro - I used to trek to Malate for Sala's once a month Sunday brunch to nosh on their organic egg dishes - the poached eggs with prosciutto and hollandaise is superb. They moved to Makati a few years ago and they serve a Champagne brunch every weekend at their Greenbelt 3 location. The smoothies, puddings and coffees are also outstanding.
Mamou - One of my favorite places for a casual dinner serves a great weekend brunch. They've got great eggs benedict, lovely French toast, yummy whole wheat pancakes and killer bacon. At Serendra.
Masseto - One of the newest additions to the city's buzzing restaurant scene, Masseto just started serving brunch on Saturdays. The eggs Benedict with homemade corned beef is delish and their frittatas are light, fluffly and perfectly made. Their hot chocolate is wonderful too. On Valero Street in Salcedo Village.