When it comes to Novotel’s Food Exchange Manila’s lunch buffet, I consider myself a veteran since this is my fourth? or fifth? time at this buffet.
But I have not had the time to tell you all about this buffet and recommend what to get! Fortunately, we ate at this buffet again last week, and while everything is still fresh in my mind, let me share my tips.
Watching other people there, I realized many of them didn’t know how to get the best out of this buffet.
FOOD EXCHANGE MANILA
Food Exchange Manila is Novotel Manila Araneta Center’s buffet restaurant. It is located on the ground floor of the hotel, to the left of the front desk area.
It is not a big buffet spread, but they have a lot of food on offer. It is just one long area, with the cooking stations on the right, prepared food in the middle, and more stations, mostly drinks and desserts, on the left.
The price for this buffet is actually very, very affordable. It is only P1,488 net for Weekday Lunch (Mon-Fri). But, you can get a much better deal if you buy vouchers from Metrodeal. With the vouchers, it’s only P892 for Weekday Lunch!
Cheese & Cold Cuts Section
Many diners don’t even notice this station. The cheeses and cold cuts are inside the chillers – just open the chillers and take what you want.
This is the machine for slicing the cold cuts:
This is the big, big reason why you should try this buffet! They have a real Indian chef who is picky about his spices – my contact told me his spices need to be authentic and always come from his own supplier in India.
Whenever I recommend this buffet to friends, I always tell them to go for the Indian station. Aside from the usual tandoor-grilled meats, there’s also an assortment of chutneys!
What I like to do is to get the yogurt and put it in the center, then spoon a little bit of each of the chutneys around the yogurt. I get more of the green chutney since I happen to use more of it. Then get some of the Indian breads and get a little bit of each of the chutneys and yogurt with each bite. Experiment and find the combination that you like.
Lassi is also available – plain, mango and rose. Lassi is like flavored, watered down yogurt, but it’s a very refreshing drink! At the breakfast buffet, they also serve a fresh Chai Latte (made with real spices, not a tea bag).
There are also some pickles:
And our favorite thing about the Indian station? You can order fresh naan! We requested for some naan bread, and the Indian chef made one for us. Here is the freshly grilled naan, brushed with butter, paired with chicken curry:
There are a few Indian dishes on the prepared dishes section. That day, there was an aloo something (some sort of Indian potato stew), a dahl (a lentil dish), a rice dish (Green Peas Pulao) and the chicken curry.
The Indian fare here is really good, and I don’t know why Novotel doesn’t capitalize on their Indian station more. I wish they had more Indian dishes aside from just the aloo, the dahl and the curry. How about some Chicken Makhanwala or some Palak Paneer, and some samosas? If they expanded their Indian station I would probably totally ignore the others!
As it is, I am already ignoring the other stations and just concentrating mostly on the Indian food.
Prepared Dishes in the Middle
Here are some of the dishes on the buffet spread in the middle. I like how they are kept nicely warm in the pots:
Carving & Grilling Stations
They have a choice of mustards:
And a selection of salts:
Pizza & Bread Station
Their freshly baked, thin-crust tomato sauce and cheese pizza is something that I always come back for every visit. This pizza doesn’t have any meat, but please, please pour some basil oil or rosemary oil on it and ENJOY! Yummmm….
Notice the brick oven in the back!
They have flavored oils:
Ah, puto bumbong! One of my favorites! Here, it is made to order, and you can put only the toppings you want. Instead of the margarine here, I got the home-made butter from the Italian / Pizza / Bread station.
They also make fresh churros! These churros are not nakakaumay, and I could eat a lot of them! I prefer the ones in cinnamon sugar, smothered with the caramel sauce and drizzled with some of the chocolate sauce.
Condiments, Salad & Middle Eastern Fare
They also offer a Wine & Beer Buffet for an additional P850.
They have cold soba!
I think their set up is cute!
They also have a multi-color chocolate fountain:
I like Food Exchange Manila’s buffet because I can just eat the food that I want. They don’t have fancy things like salmon or Angus beef, so I don’t feel like I have to eat a lot of those to get my money’s worth. But they have a great Indian station that I hope they expand soon. I ate as much naan as I wanted, as much curry and dahl as I wanted, and generally took advantage of the Indian station. Good Indian food here in Manila can be pricey, so I thought this was great. I really hope that they add more dishes to their Indian spread.
They also have middle-eastern dips that I am really into right now. I didn’t see any hummus, so I asked if they had a refill, and they gave me a small plate of it. So nice! Service is warm and helpful.
I love puto bumbong, and I ate as many as I wanted. Had as many fresh churros as I wanted. I also had several rounds of basil oil topped pizza. Since the price is not as steep as other hotel buffets, I didn’t feel the need to only pick the “expensive” food to eat. I just let myself eat whatever I wanted, and I left there very, very happy, and very, very full.
Food Exchange Manila
Novotel Manila Araneta Center
General Aguinaldo Avenue, Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City
Contact No. (02) 990 7888
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