Anyhoo, they have this special where they drop the price of the hotpot buffet from 490 pesos to 360 from 11:30 am to 2pm. We got there a bit too early, so we literally had to camp out in front of the restaurant for about an hour, waiting for it to open. Thankfully, Noreen, a Chinese citizen, spoke with the Chinese manager/owner and we were allowed to wait inside the restaurant, and away from the direct heat of the noon, Philippine sun.
So, because of that, we ended up being seated at a prime table (a.k.a., right beside the buffet table), plus we were allowed to start eating at 11am instead of 11:30. So yeah, we had a head start, and we ate heartily since we were, you know... STARVING. Oh, and we ate DOUBLY heartily because Enrico (guy in the gray shirt) paid for our drinks and half of our food since he wanted to celebrate his upcoming college graduation.
As we ate, we were completely overwhelmed with the sheer amount of food available. There were so many types of fish, shellfish and meat available, that I couldn't make up my mind. We didn't even bother to ask for rice since we were all intent on gorging ourselves with the items from the buffet (though I was intent on stuffing myself with all the yummy shrimp I could eat).
Anyway, enough with the talk. You have to see it to believe it.
So, when Noreen finally managed to get the restaurant owner to let us wait inside, I was pleasantly surprised to find such a neat table set-up. I'm a sucker for things like that.
But then, what intrigued me the most was the individual silver pots that were snugly contained in holes in the marble table. Then, I noticed the stove knobs.
This being THE FIRST TIME I'VE EVER EATEN AT A HOTPOT RESTAURANT, it was then explained to me by Noreen that the pots were later going to contain broth which we could boil our food in. It was then that I noticed that ALL marble tables were decked with the same pots... Silly me.
When we first seated ourselves, the buffet table was completely empty, and it wasn't until later that it started filling up with trays upon trays of raw or half-cooked food. As we watched the restaurant crew placing the stainless steel trays into their spots, one of the waiters finally approached us, and asked us to pick one of 4 different types of broth. I picked the chicken broth (I don't remember what the other three were since they had sort of weird names), and when the waiter poured the broth into my own pot, we were all happy again as we knew that we can finally EAT!! XD XD
See? We were overjoyed. :D Those stack of plates on the side are for everyone to place their raw ingredients on.
And the glorious buffet of ingredients. Meat, fish and shell fish on the left; veggies, more seafod, cold cuts and I-don't-know-what-else on the right. HEAVEN!!
Must. Stop. Taking. Pictures. In. Happiness.
This is Max.
We have the same idea when he said that we should stuff ourselves with food that we can't afford on an everyday basis. So, he went for the baby octopi. And he named this one "Cthulhu".
On top of the food itself, though, there's the small table containing the condiments and spices. From here, you can help yourself to soy sauce, hoisin sauce, minced garlic, red onions and ginger, chopped up chilies, etc etc. Then, you can either use these for dipping your food in, or you can toss it into your broth.
And this is Noreen and Enrico attacking the buffet table. (Yes, that's just half of the buffet table.)
Eventually, we made it back to our table and started cooking on the hot plate in the middle. To cook everything, the waiter also provided us with a small bowl containing chunks of butter. This bowl-o-butter was also continually refilled by the attentive staff. We were actually beginning to wonder if the staff was planning to cook US afterwards, and they were just fattening us up...
It is unbelievably fun to go to a hotpot with friends. Not only does everyone's nuances, and quirks with food come out (we discovered that someone likes their bacon half-burnt), but it's just plain fun playing with your food with your friends around. The casual air is also nice, and I'd recommend this place for someone who wants to take someone out on a date. It's fun, AND you get to stuff your face with food that you like, and food that you cooked, just the way you like it.
KITCHEN STADIUM, COOK OFF! ALLEZ CUISINE!!
Remember Cthulhu? Well there it is now.
More photos of us eating!! Hehehe...
This is a photo of Noreen as she wonders where the heck Enrico kept all of the food that he ate. This guy downed a couple of platters of meat, and he said that he was just getting started! Well, yeah, he and Max are guys, so that may count for something...
Help yourself! (Just stay offa' my squid rings!)
See that? Each crab is about the size of my whole palm (without the legs). The best part is that the crab has already been cut in half, and its legs have been separated so that you just have to toss the whole crab into your broth without worrying about having to chop the whole thing and messing up your table. The waiters also provide nutcrackers so that you can get all the meat out from the crab legs. Mmmm...
Sitting at a table right beside the ingredients help, too.
And yes, all that made us incredibly happy...
So, after all that bottolmess food (until 2pm anyway), then comes the bottomless dessert. And for that, the restaurant has got all the watermelons and pineapples you could eat, as well as all the halo-halo, and all the ice cream you can eat (comes in orange, chocolate and strawberry). Yes, I ate from all three offerings...
(If you're not sure what halo-halo is, and what those colorful things in bowls are, then check this link for a general description of the dessert.)
My friends helped themselves out, too, of course.
And this is us after we've paid the bill, wondering where the heck to get a taxi, as well as if we'll ever be allowed back in next time, what with the way we cleaned out the menu...
It was really a shame that my boyfriend, Ian, wasn't able to join us as he had work, but I promised him that I'll take him to the hotpot restaurant some time soon, so that we can both gorge again (because we just love food!). ^____________^
Lolz. Actually, I'd use any excuse to go back. XD
(If you're in Manila and you're wondering where this restaurant is, it's right beside the GSIS building, behind the World Trade Center, and close to Mall of Asia. I think the place is called... um... Hobby World? Hobby Store? Hobby Crafts...?? O_O;;)