The Cafe at the Hyatt is not your typical casino buffet. So, you might as well get that mental picture of those dingy, off-the-strip Las Vegas joints with questionable meatloaf and dried-out roast turkey under heat lamps out of your head. Although it is designed with the glam factor of the newer Vegas strip whale baits in mind—think The Wynn, not The Golden Nugget—it is undoubtedly a serious, five-star-hotel restaurant. High ceilings are adorned with cascading crystal chandeliers, the walls—curved and textured—absorb the clinks and chatter, keeping the noise level to a civilized minimum. Massive jars of real spices—cayenne, turmeric, saffron—add playful pops of color. It also seems to say: "yes, there are serious flavors here.
Although the choices are not as plentiful as other hotel buffets, the lunch and dinner buffet at The Cafe raises a strong argument on why it should be your favorite new spot for indulging.
You can't go wrong with a hotel that comes with a Caviar Station.
Japanese, of course
Also, a booze buffet
Start with the risotto and pasta at the Italian station. Ask for a classic carbonara and they will not disappoint with a rich, yolky version as they do it in the Lazio region. Sometimes, they offer a rather legit risotto, cooked a la minute and al dente. We had ours with spinach, artichoke, and clams, then scraped the insides of a parmigiano reggiano wheel for a dusting of the nutty, pungent cheese.
Their Mayura beef might be The Beast, but seafood is king here. There's a reason why we lined out stomachs with fatty carbs first—it's in preparation for hitting the seafood bar which has all the shelled essentials—clams, mussels, shrimp, oysters—and their usual accouterments. Plus, a selection of caviars for those with a taste for the salty fish eggs. And, yes, the sushi bar was not an after thought: ask for a freshly torched salmon aburi or have the sushi chef make you a mini chirashi bowl. The carving station might be Instagrammable with the enormous hunk of roasted Australian Wagyu, but trust is when we say take a picture, then keep grazing elsewhere.
Give Asian food the attention it deserves. Again, most of the time, the Chinese and Indian food selections are merely added in the spread to give a buffet "diversity." The Cafe was just recently visited by their partner chefs from Hyatt hotels in Guandong and New Delhi for their respective festivals, so let's just say their roast duck and biryani games are truly strong. If you're a fan, imagine access to copious amounts of rogan josh and crispy papad. Heaven, right?
The happy endings remind you of sweet beginnings. Milkshakes, donuts, soft-serve ice cream- The Cafe wants you to end your meal with playful memories of your childhood. There are the usual fruity parfaits and chocolate mousses, but there are plenty of adventurous desserts to choose from that will surely transport you, such as pavlovas, German donuts, and cannoli.
On Sunday lunch—drink up! Somebody in there understands how a good buzz on a Sunday morning could be potentially life-altering. The weekend brunch habit is alive and well here, with unlimited pours of French sparkling wine to get you feeling loose. Whether you're riding out a hangover or trying to survive lunch with the parentals, they've got you covered.
Photos by Eugene E. Constantino
Hyatt City of Dreams Manila is at Asean Avenue corner Roxas Boulevard, Entertainment City, Parañaque City; tel. no. 691-1234.