Manila eats: This hotel buffet offers Filipino-Chinese fare

Angelo G. Garcia

Posted at May 22 2019 09:28 AM

The main dining space of Marcelino St. Cafe. Handout

MANILA -- Manila Prince Hotel's only dining outlet, Marcelino St. Cafe is now offering lunch and dinner buffets, featuring Filipino-Chinese food. 

Located along San Marcelino St. in Ermita, Manila, the hotel re-opened last year after renovations. But when they opened the restaurant at that time, it only offered buffet breakfast and a la carte dishes for lunch and dinner. 

“The restaurant also opened on September but the buffet we had a soft launch recently. It's been a la carte since September except for the buffet breakfast. We decided that it's about time we serve something else,” explained Manila Prince Hotel (MPH) operations manager Tyne Dignadice, Jr. 

What's unique about the buffet is it offers Filipino-Chinese dishes. Hotel buffets usually offer a variety of cuisines but Marcelino St. Cafe decided to keep it simple, offering comfort home-cooked food. 

The carving station features lechon pork belly and roast chicken. Photo by author

According to the hotel's food and beverage manager EJ Yap, the dishes that are being offered at the restaurant are from the owner's family recipes. 

MPH is the sister company of The Manila Hotel, which is owned by the Yap family, one of the prominent Filipino-Chinese surnames in Philippine business. 

“We mostly chose the family favorites like kare-kare, kaldereta, paksiw, and sinigang. We have four cycles, and each cycle we have five main courses but we're still planning to add more. The owner wants to make kiam pong a main stay,” Yap shared. 

Kiamp pong or Chinese-style paella. Handout

Kiam pong or kiamp pung is a Filipino Hokkien rice dish which is also referred to as Chinese-style paella. It's a traditional dish among Filipino-Chinese families. It uses glutinous rice like Kapampangan bringhe (or regular rice) but has a darker soy-sauce based color. Marcelino St. Cafe's version has meat, mushrooms, and a thick sauce. 

The home-cooked feel extends to the other dishes like the paksiw na bangus and beef kaldereta. There's also the classics like lumpiang shanghai, barbecue liempo, roast lechon belly, rellenong manok, and roast chicken. 

Paksiw na bangus. Handout

For dessert, there's bread pudding, ube mango cake, mocha butter cream cake, and more. 

“The dishes are mostly Filipino-Chinese. The reason why it's called Marcelino is because of the street [the hotel's address]. The menu and food are from family favorites. We also have food that we also serve at The Manila Hotel. Our pastries are from The Manila Hotel,” Dignadice said. 

Being a sister hotel of The Manila Hotel also means that the restaurant only uses the best ingredients in the dishes since both hotels get from the same suppliers. 

The restaurant has a small space with a capacity of 80 persons in the main dining area. But it has a spillover area to accommodate more people since the hotel has a total of 299 rooms. 

Chinese pork barbecue. Handout

Marcelino St. Cafe's buffet offering is at an introductory price of P499 nett for lunch and P599 nett for dinner, from Monday to Sunday.