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Kilometer zero of every delicious flavor imaginable

July 18, 2019

Beyond its immensely rich history, the Philippines’ most iconic architectural landmark on Kilometer Zero, The Manila Hotel, can also be considered the starting point of every delicious flavor imaginable.

Built in 1912, the Grand Dame celebrated its 107th anniversary on July 4 and pulled out all the stops for her prominent guests. From a grand welcome fit for topmost dignitaries, awe-inspiring entertainment from Filipino artists that is truly world class, to the most festive of dishes that only The Manila Hotel’s iconic Cafe Ilang-Ilang can serve.

Cafe Ilang Ilang offers the freshest buffet yet with its daily fare of lobster and endless seafood dishes.

Buffet delights with fresh spin

Situated in the tower wing of the historic hotel overlooking the fabulous fish-shaped pool, the new Café Ilang-Ilang is a renaissance of chic casual dining, which brings together a vast array of cuisines from across all continents.

Designed artfully to satisfy the distinguishing palate, the spacious restaurant features an extensive selection of buffet delights with a fresh spin on its various open kitchens and a delectable desserts space that highlights its tradition of unique and excellent dining.

Its eight live cooking stations offer Asian, Mediterranean, European, and Western dishes.

Café Ilang-Ilang also has a stunning open Pan-Asian kitchen (includes Korean, Chinese, Filipino, Thai and Japanese sections), Churrasco station, decadent dessert station, and an Italian kitchen with a wood-fired pizza oven for a truly unique gastronomic adventure.

To complete the cool, crisp atmosphere of its spacious interiors, soothing shades of green were used as the predominant color motif. The overall look reflects the purity and the sweet-smelling fragrance of the ilang-ilang flower from which the restaurant derived its name.

“It is also the country’s first hotel restaurant certified by the Muslim Mindanao Halal Certification Board in 2012,” The Manila Hotel Food and Beverage Manager Edson Obediente informed The Manila Times in an exclusive interview and tasting tour of Cafe Ilang-Ilang’s Steak Buffet two days after the anniversary celebration.

“There is a misconception that halal means it’s just for Muslims, but halal actually means that the food is clean from contaminants gleaned from pork,” he explained.

Obediente, who joined The Manila Hotel as F&B checker 19 years ago upon graduation from Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management degree, said that he hasn’t tried working in another establishment, and finds no reason to do so as the Filipino heritage hotel for him is his second home, and everyone in the organization is like family.

Pursuing a Master’s in Hotel and Restaurant Management at the Philippine Women’s University, Obediente was qualified to take the top division position when vacancy became wide open for filling. He has served many guests, a lot of them heads of states, diplomats and celebrities.

“Guests of The Manila Hotel tend to be super loyal to our brand. Many of them are families, which were influenced by their grandparents. Now they are around the third generation patronizing our hotel and restaurants. Employees of offices nearby are also our regular patrons. Our clients are in groups we call ‘barkadahan’ because they come and dine in big groups,” he said.

A regular fare of the Cafe Ilang-Ilang Buffet is lobster, sourced from the Visayas, he informed.

“Our clients expect that our buffet always comes with lobster — whether it’s Seafood Night, American Night, Asian Night, Surf and Turf Night, Mediterranean Night or International Buffet — so that’s what we have maintained through the years,” he said, adding that it’s one that makes Cafe Ilang-Ilang Buffet a notch above all other restaurants in the metro and perhaps the whole of Asia.

The Manila Hotel F&B Manager Edson Obediente (left) and Executive Chef Konrad Walter

Executive Chef Konrad Walter, who holds a Professional Cook Diploma from a Swiss Federation state-run institution, said that besides being married to a Filipina, the working condition at The Manila Hotel has always been good for the past 20 years since he was hired for the position, and he finds no reason to work in another country.

“What I like [at The Manila Hotel and Cafe Ilang-Ilang in particular] is the guest mix we have — from medium to high class clientele, from Filipino to tourists from all over the world, plus the privilege to cater to Malacañang for state dinners,” he told The Manila Times.

When there’s ‘surf’ there’s gotta be ‘turf.’

Walter also said that for his over 50 years in the kitchen — more than half of that spent in the Philippines — it’s the same everywhere to treat the staff with respect and dignity to gain their trust and respect as well.

With all the myriad offerings, Obediente said that they also want to maintain Cafe Ilang-Ilang as exponent of Filipino dishes.

“Notwithstanding the varied cuisines we offer, we always make sure that our signature dishes are at the forefront of our menu. These are The Manila Hotel Bibingka, Puto Bombong, Pancit Malabon, Roast US Beef Rib, Kare-Kare, The Manila Hotel Club Sandwich, Ohaina Chocolate Cake which won in the Best Desserts 2019 contest, and Mango Cheesecake, which is our next candidate to the Best Desserts,” the F&B Manager said.

Japanese Chef Masahiro with his all-Filipino staff

* * *

Buffet themes and schedules

Breakfast (Mondays to Sundays)

6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Lunch (Mondays to Saturdays)

11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Brunch (Sundays only)

Dinner (Themed Nights)

6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Mondays – International Buffet

Tuesdays – Mediterranean Night

Wednesdays – Asian Night

Thursdays – Surf And Turf Night

Fridays – Seafood Night

Saturdays – American Night

Sundays – International Buffet

Special Promotional Offers

A special 40-percent discount for BDO cardholders runs until July 31 – BDO Mastercard, Visa, JCB, UnionPay, Diners Club, American Express and BDO Debit Cards.

The Manila Hotel Prestige cardholders get the following discounts: One guest is entitled to 20-percent discount on food; two guests are entitled to 50-percent discount on food; three guests are entitled to 30-percent discount on food; four guests are entitled to 25-percent discount on food; five up to 20 guests are entitled to 20-percent discount on food.

Special Prestige group discount of 40 percent for two to 10 guests both on lunch and dinner buffet plus 10-percent discount on beverages.

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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