It’s hard to believe but it was my first time to dine at Niu! I’ve visited the ones at SM Aura
and at Jazz Makati, but it was always just to have a quick look because I was in the area for some other errand/event.
So I finally got to try Niu the other night. It was at the newly opened branch in Podium mall (Level 5) in Ortigas. This branch just opened last August 14, 2018. As to why it took longer than they had originally planned, the answer is because they did not compromise on the quality of the interiors. You can see from the chairs, to the fixtures, the chandeliers, etc… that the restaurant went for a modern, opulent vibe.
I also like that Niu is located beside the 5F elevator. If you are bringing family members who are babies/toddlers in strollers, seniors or PWD in wheelchairs, FYI, you can go straight to Niu (5F) from the basement parking elevator without having to maneuver around the mall.
I’ll just start with the highlights of the buffet. At the far end of the buffet is the meats/ carving station, that had Beef Ribs, Angus Chuck, Ribeye, Roast Turkey, Lechon, Lamb, etc… this is the station I went for first after getting some appetizers, knowing that I would probably not be able to try everything in one visit. Go for the items not to miss first. 😀
Meats / Carving Station
The meats are heated/grilled to your preferred level of doneness. There are many sauces available. I particularly liked the truffle cream one with beef.
Niu has an extensive array of drinks included with the buffet! Highlights: sake, cocktails, red and white wines, imported beer. Drink all you can! They also have many juices, fresh fruit juices, and agua frescas available, too. There’s a push-button coffee machine where you can get different coffee drinks, and tea is available, too.
There are so many desserts! The dessert station has bars, brownies, meringues, cookies, cheesecakes, ice cream, etc… fruits, too, of course. I wasn’t able to try everything during this visit, but I really liked the mango tapioca! It sounds like something I’d usually ignore because, hello, it’s just sago. But it somehow piqued my interest and I got one and it was sooo good! See, I love caramel/arnival, and this tapioca had that kind of sweetness. It’s caramelly, chewy sago on a bed of cream – it’s something I will definitely go back for next time. I don’t even know how mango is involved in this dessert, but it was delicious.
Somewhere in another station, there is puto bumbong, cuchinta, and bibingka. The puto bumbong is dense and chewy. You can ask for more butter like I did 🙂
There are many more food stations at Niu – salads, appetizers, cold cuts, cheese, pizzas, pastas, Southeast Asian, Japanese (tempura), Japanese (sushi / sashimi), Chinese (noodles), Chinese (dimsum), and a few more.
I wish I could have tried more food, but it’s impossible to try everything in one visit. I just don’t have the stomach space!
The food at Niu is done well. For the dimsum station, they have Hakaw! And it’s good Hakaw, with a springy, translucent wrapper. They also have xiao long bao! All of the dumplings looked freshly made – I didn’t feel like these were frozen dimsum that they just steamed, unlike in other buffets where the dimsum wrappers were usually torn. The tempura that I got stayed crispy for a long time.
The crab was fresh, soft and sweet!
The price for weekday lunch is P938 + 5% SC.
Dinner, weekends and holidays is P1438 + 5% SC.
There is more food and drinks during dinner. For what is available, I think the price is more than fair. Imagine, aside from all the food, you also get a cornucopia of drink choices you can drink to your heart’s desire!
As for the food, you get lamb, Angus, turkey, lechon, salmon, oysters, foie gras, shawarma, tempura. I’m not going to enumerate everything, but trust me, there’s a lot of food, and the dishes aren’t the type that we buffet aficionados would call “filler” 🙂
The quality and the selection of the food was better than I had expected. I always knew that Niu was a higher-end buffet compared to the other sub-P1,000 buffets around, but this was hotel-level, and even better than most hotels.
There was so much food that looked worth trying, that my biggest regret was that I only had one stomach! Hahaha. I could not try everything in one visit, and I think I would need at least a repeat visit to be able to fully experience all the food and beverages that I want to.
Service is unobtrusive but very hospitable. When they saw me perusing the selections, they recommended items to get, and even gave some explanation of the food. They offered to bring the orders to my table instead of me waiting by the food station while they cooked. When they see customers with their hands full with plates, they offer to help take the dishes to the customers’ tables. The staff reminded us when it was the last call to get more food.
I was told that they also rotate their food menu, so you don’t find the same dishes every time you visit. Niu has also revamped their menu, so the buffet dishes here are not the same as what they had previously in other branches. It’s definitely worth trying! We will definitely go back for more because one visit just wasn’t enough for me!
Update Sept. 19, 2018 – Was able to go back two weekends ago, and sis went there last weekend. Here are other things we noticed that I didn’t notice before: they have caviar and uni! The caviar is at the appetizer section. And sis was able to ask for some uni from the Japanese section and she said they were really fresh and sooooo good! We were both also able to eat some lobsters. The lobsters were also by request from the Chinese section. When we went back, they didn’t have the crabs, unfortunately. The scallops are also delicious – these are small scallops with shell, steamed with some sotanghon on top. At the moment, this is currently our favorite buffet, and if you asked us for a recommendation, we would recommend Niu because for 1,500 sobrang sulit siya. 🙂
When ordering dishes to be cooked, I always request that the lobsters not be overcooked, and I always ask for my beef grilled to medium, NOT medium well. I noticed that sometimes when there’s a long line at the carving / grill stations, they pre-grill the beef medium well or well done to make serving the customers in line faster.
My tip: pick your battles. Get the food you want to eat first – for me, these would be the lobsters, ribeye, foie gras, salmon, uni, scallops, kare-kare, then if you still have space, go for the other items. Speaking of Kare-Kare, the one at Niu is quite flavorful and had a lot of beef pieces. When my sister visited, they only had ox tail. I was so sad that I only discovered the kare-kare on my second visit when I was on my last round and I was only able to eat a small portion. Gusto ko pa mag second round ng kare-kare but the mouth is willing, the stomach is weak (full na talaga). Anyway, I feel like going back to Niu just to eat the Kare-Kare. Their kare-kare sauce is concentrated, sweet, salty and nutty and just so good with rice and bagoong! Di ko na kaya mag ice cream but both J and sister said the ice cream was really good. They tried vanilla and salted caramel flavors.
Niu by Vikings, The Podium
Level 5, Podium Mall, Ortigas Center
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