In the Philippines, celebrating your birthday (or any other milestone, really) usually means sitting down in a buffet restaurant, elbow-to-elbow with your titos and titas, and wiping out as many plates as humanly possible. It’s a thrill being in such close proximity to mountains of food, plus the convenience of not having to individually ask everyone for their order is a huge relief!
If you’re turning a year older or you got promoted at work and your relatives are hinting at a blowout, we know of a buffet place they’ve probably never tried before!
Created by the Vikings group, this hidden gem in Cubao combines the buffet and hotpot concepts into one massive, Insta-worthy restaurant. And the best part is, it’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg to have an eat-all-you-can meal with your family here!
Four Seasons Buffet & Hotpot by Vikings: the biggest hotpot restaurant in the country!
Just like all the other concepts by the Vikings group, Four Seasons at Manhattan Parkview Cubao pulled out all the stops when it came to designing their interior. This Victorian-themed restaurant is every hipster Instagrammer’s vision brought to life, with everything in a monochromatic hue except for the colorful flowers adorning the walls. You’ll be spending as much time taking pictures as you will be shoveling food into your mouth!
But aside from being aesthetically impressive, Four Seasons has another thing going for it—it’s the biggest hotpot restaurant in the Philippines! With enough space to take in over three hundred people, you can bring your cousins, second cousins, and the whole extended family without feeling like there’s no more air left to breathe. They also have function rooms (each one can hold up to twelve people) in case you want a bit more privacy.
Because it’s the most massive hotpot restaurant in the country, expect to have plenty of options. You get to pick from over three hundred kinds of food to cook, including fresh vegetables and seafood, different types of noodles, various cuts of meat, and all sorts of dumplings and balls (unlike most hotpot restaurant in the country, Four Seasons makes theirs fresh in-house daily). Staying true to their name, you’ll find ingredients from every season all under one roof.
To get your hotpot experience going, the first thing you need to do is make your hotpot sauce where you’ll be dipping your cooked food in. If you want to copy the tried and tested Four Seasons mix, you can follow the recipe hung up on the wall. But if you’re feeling pro, you can always ditch the instructions and concoct your own mix! After you’re done with your sauce, it’s then time to select your broth. There are thirteen variants to choose from (yup, you read it right!), each one made for specific ingredients.
One of their most popular broths is the sukiyaki, a perfect base for cooking meat. Try dropping in some beef striploin, sotanghon, golden mushrooms, Baguio pechay, carrots, and one raw egg in there and you’ll be having yourself one flavorful meal! The sukiyaki broth leaves a sweet aftertaste on the tongue, a perfect complement to the tender, savory meat. Plus, the noodles are chewy and the vegetables crisp, making this dish extra enjoyable to slurp and chew.
The sinigang is another well-loved broth among customers, ideal for those who are into familiar local flavors. A recommended base for seafood, you can add items like crab, shrimp, blue marlin, and tomatoes into this mouth-puckering soup. The richness of the crab and the sweetness of the shrimp will balance out the face-twisting effects of the sinigang! If you want it more sour, you can always add in more sampaloc.
Another popular pick from their broth selection is the sate soup, the best choice if you’re planning on eating a lot of meat, dumplings, and balls. One tasty ingredient you can cook in this broth are the cheese balls, playfully bouncy on the outside and indulgently gooey on the inside! You shouldn’t miss out on the beef balls, the cheese sausages, the Taiwanese pechay dumplings, and the Beijing meat dumplings either.
If you’re done cooking with one particular broth, you can always switch out to another one! The warm service staff will be more than happy to help you out.
A wide buffet selection for those who don’t want to cook their own food
If you’re with people who couldn’t be bothered to pick up the ladle and stir their hotpot, don’t worry because there’s a huge buffet spread waiting just for them. Similar to the setup at Vikings, they get to eat as much as they want from several stations of cooked food. There are Japanese, Chinese, Western, carving, and grilling stops to make sure every single craving is appeased.
One appetizer that’s worthy of space on your table is the sweet potatoes mashed with four cheese and mallows. It tastes as weird as it sounds but in the best way possible! The marshmallows, semi-melted over the sweet potatoes, is kind of like a fluffy blanket that’s fun to sink your teeth into. Underneath, you’ll find starchy sweet potatoes and melted cheese–ingredients you wouldn’t normally combine but actually work together.
Other items in the buffet selection that are worth trying out are the satays and sausages straight out of the grill. These sticks of meat are perfectly cooked, each one sporting a slight char on the outside but still tender and juicy when bitten into. You should head over at the Japanese section too and fill up on the chunky slices of fresh salmon sashimi, the rich philly cheesesteak rolls, and the sticky temari sushi.
Of course, remember to save some belly room for dessert too! End your Four Seasons eating rampage with sweet treats like matcha ice cream, crepes, egg waffles, coffee jelly, and cakes. If you’re partial to Filipino desserts, they have local delicacies like mango sago, sapin-sapin, and puto bumbong.
Before you head out the door, you might want to stop by the bakery first to get yourself some freshly-baked cookies and pastries for your baon the next day. The bestseller is their extremely flaky and buttery croissant!
All that food for a small fraction of your paycheck
If you’re worried that you won’t have anything left in your wallet after a buffet and hotpot session at Four Seasons, their rates are actually more affordable than you think.
It’s ₱688 per person if you’re coming in for lunch and ₱888 if you’re stopping by for dinner. Four Seasons has plenty of promos for their customers too, so keep a lookout for them if you want to save some extra bucks (they have discounts for big groups, birthday celebrants, late night walk-in customers, and many more).
Four Seasons Buffet & Hotpot by Vikings can be found at the G/F Manhattan Parkview, Gen. Roxas Ave., Araneta Center, Quezon City and at Bldg E., By the Bay, SM Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City.