Episode 63: Joining The Food Club – Of taking out obscene amounts of five-star quality food

“A new buffet restaurant has opened along Macapagal Boulevard in Pasay. It’s called The Food Club, and it boasts of a five-star experience that can satisfy any discriminating buffet aficionado. Word of mouth and other bloggers have attested to the quality of its wide selection of dishes. But does it really live up to the hype?
THIS IS AN EMERGENCY OPERATION! GET GOING!”
…Is how I ended up at the doorstep of The Food Club that night as I joined the hundreds of diners who visited the place on its soft opening.

After waiting for a few hours for the opening (and getting addressed as “Miss” in front of everyone), it was time for my solo raid at The Food Club. I’ve dined in a lot of buffet restaurants around Metro Manila, so what makes The Food Club different from the rest?
While it looks like nothing more than a plain building from the outside, The Food Club’s interior gives off the ambience of a five-star hotel dining area. One is ushered in to a warm, relaxing atmosphere not far from a typical family restaurant, only classier.
The whole place can accommodate about 150 guests, and it’s spacious enough for anyone to move around from station to station. Reservations are hard to come by, though, so you’d be very lucky to be able to have a seat as a walk-in customer.
The food is continuously refilled so one is assured that the dishes they get are always fresh out of the kitchen. The exception would be the seafood area, which would require a bit of patience; seafood is, understandably, harder to prepare after all.
I’ve been shown a five-star quality ambience, but is the food five-star quality as well? There’s only one way to find out.
First to take note of are the assorted furai and tempura in the Japanese section. They get refilled the fastest since it seems everyone likes the tempura. There’s also some warm miso soup, with separate containers for tofu, nori, and other soup condiments.
The neighboring table houses various Chinese favorites such as their own selection of cold cuts and dimsum. There’s a whole roasted duck hanging at one corner of the area for those interested.
And then there’s the jellyfish. “In the name of the thousands of humans that you and your kind have stung and killed, I will take vengeance! Mmm, chewy.”
DYI and prepared salads are aplenty, along with the ham and other cold cuts, breads, sashimi and sushi served as appetizers. I spotted a couple who ordered temaki (hand-rolled sushi); I should have gotten some.
You can toast your own bread, throw in some jam and cheese, pair them up with your cold cut of choice, and behold! European appetizers! Also noteworthy are the naan bread and dips in the Asian section, cold and tasty and comforting in the stomach.
Speaking of the Asian section, one can enjoy Filipino favorites such as kare-kare and tinola, the typical Mongolian rice bowl, chicken kebab, fried fish with assorted sauces and spices, curries, and stews, among others.
The area I refer to as the European section is a meat-and-potato lover’s paradise. (They have pilaf rice, though.) Beef and chicken dishes are aplenty. I spotted two varieties of potato sidings at one part of the table too.

Then there’s the steak. One can spot the chef preparing big slabs of medium-rare beef and turkey for the hungrier protein lovers in the restaurant. Which now leads me to question why people love to have their meat well-done, when medium-rare is tasty, juicy, and kinda addicting, but I digress.

You can have your seafood of choice baked at the European section. Just give them your plate and a spare one just in case, and they’ll hand you back a plateful of your baked seafood of choice warm, toasted oyster, mussel, or crab topped with melted cheese. (If you feel like it, though, just pick up some oysters and eat them raw for some pure, sea-salty, unadulterated bliss.) Where’s the prawns and lobster, you ask? I got none, unfortunately.
Once you’re done with the main courses, the dessert area would be the most logical place to see. You may get overwhelmed, though, by the large selection of cakes and sweets waiting for you. The more health-conscious people may opt for the fruits, candies or the fondue. Or all of the above. Your mileage may vary. The dessert section also has ice cream, crepes, and Filipino kakanin for those who want their sweets heavier.
Drinks consist of juices, coffee, soda, and beer.  I believe they serve other liquor but I didn’t bother to ask; I’m driving, after all.
The Food Club didn’t pull any punches when they said they’re serving hotel-quality meals. Everything I’ve seen so far in the hotels I dined in, I’ve seen as well here. The difference is the price, which is at the level of other pricey buffet restaurants in Metro Manila, but it’s all worth it.
Price List
Mondays – Thursdays:
*Lunch – P800.00 + 5% service charge
*Dinner – P1,000.00 + 5% service charge
*Kids above 3.5 ft. – P580.00 + 5% service charge
**Kids 3.5 ft. and below – FREE
Fridays – Sundays: 
*Lunch / Dinner – P1,188.00 + 5% service charge
*Kids above 3.5 ft. – P600.00 + 5% service charge
**Kids 3.5 ft. and below – FREE

 

All in all, The Food Club is, so far, your best alternative to the more crowded and pricier buffets around the metropolis. It’s like getting a crash course in classy food raiding, without hurting your budget.
Which now leads to the more pressing question: how much did I enjoy my dinner at The Food Club? Let’s just say I was able to try out a bit of everything at every station, and I can attest that it does live up to expectations. Did I mention that this raid is so sudden, I went there alone? On the flip side, the amount of food (and the number of plates) I had is so obscene for print or TV (unless I’m “Man v. Food”-era Adam Richman), instead of showing how much I vanquished, which is ridiculously plenty, I’ll just post this to drive home the point. Director’s orders.
As if this isn’t good for print or TV either.

———————————

The Food Club
Unit E Bluebaywalk
President Diosdado Macapagal corner EDSA
Pasay City, Philippines. 
Tel. no: (02) 736 8001. 
Open Monday-Sunday from 10:30 am – 10:30 pm. 
Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter for promos and other announcements.
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