When it comes to eating at buffets, I'm rather torn. Sure there is an excitement over seeing all the spread that a restaurant or hotel can prepare, yet at the same time, I believe that with the copious amount of food, the execution can be somewhat compromised more often than not. It is a fact, at least for most, that one cannot possibly engorge every dish in a smorgasbord. I usually end up eating at just a fraction of the culinary sections available. And when mediocrity is the current theme of the said buffet, it sadly ruins the dining experience, no matter how sated your eyes are.
Spectrum's buffet boasts of quality over quantity, a smart move in this day and age of discriminating palates.
cheese, charcuterie and salad
I love their selection of cheese and charcuterie. Granted it may not be as vast as say, Spiral's, still, there's plenty enough to fall in love with.
Not to miss is their Caprese Salad---mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, arugula, pesto and balsamic vinaigrette---which is already gaining fame. Those that have tried this swear by its exquisiteness, I'm actually disheartened I wasn't able to degust it.
miscellany of breads
various hot viands
I usually steer clear of the viands section in buffets, not because they're terrible, but understand that I only have a finite amount of space in my stomach--space which I'd rather fill with steak, seafood, sushi, cheese and desserts.
One thing I love about interactive hotel buffets is you can pretty much request for any type of cooking you'd like for your proteins. I had the prawns drenched with garlic butter just as I specified. The downside is, I don't think the meat had enough time to soak up all the sauce for that imbrued flavor. On hindsight, I should have ordered some baked mussels instead.
I have to say, though, kudos to their chefs and waitstaff. You don't need to actually stand and wait for your order, or even return for it, for that matter, you can just go back directly to your table and rest assured that they will find you and hand you your dish as soon as it is done. One of the many perks of being in an intimate luxury restaurant.
noodles, Chinese roasts and dim sum
I have a proclivity for sushi, so you don't need to goad me into trying new variants. Do get a taste of the peking duck and suckling pig rolls. At the very least, it is something unique. If you want something else in your sushi, don't hesitate to ask for it. That's one of the things I admire about Spectrum -- your wish is their command.
personalized personal-sized pizzas
Another case in point of their genie-like personality: personalized pizzas. While there are several traditional flavors available, the chefs encourage you to think up of a combination of toppings that would suit your taste. If they have it, it's yours. You want some blue cheese on that? No problem. Prosciutto? There you go.
carbonara on farfalle
I had the carbonara on farfalle pasta, which I found a bit salty, but if tempered, would have been such a flavorful dish with its creamy white sauce slithering through the folds of this bowtie pasta.
At the carving station, I had their Roast Beef -- tender, succulent and cooked perfectly to my preference. The steaks are what I usually zero in at buffets (doesn't everyone?), so I usually measure my percentage of return visits against the quality of its manly meats.
Can you believe it? They even have a station dedicated for all things mango. Such a great way of showcasing our local products. Let's see, there's a coconut mango mousse, mango crème brûlée mango sango, chocolate mango mousse, mango custard tart and even mango-cue; I'd say their creativity is endless.
Oh my, where do I start? They have Filipino treats as well as petit fours. A number of other French desserts such as crème brûlée, macarons and crepes are also yours for the taking. There are several cakes that will make your heart soar and palpitate in excitement. And look, my staple dessert---ice cream---in a motley of flavors like White Chocolate Raspberry and English Toffee; and there's some sorbet to boot. The halo-halo is not your typical one as you get to choose crushed ice with flavors like corn, mango and pandan.
Unlike other buffets that serve mediocre desserts which lack an artistic thought, the dessert spread at Spectrum presents a riveting display of one sweet culinary pièce de résistance after another.
mango French crepe with white chocolate raspberry ice cream
And please, whatever you do---or rather, eat---make room for the French crepes. You'll be sorry if you don't.
You might want to wait for your order and watch as their executive pastry chef magically whips up one for you. A pouring of batter transforms into a delicate crepe, then awashed with pastry cream before it's folded. An abundance of toppings, toasted marshmallows and more cream are set on either side, with your choice of ice cream for a finale. Chocolate and candy toppings, as well as some syrups, are also available should you choose to put more.
Clockwise from top left: real live honey bees, fresh honeycomb in milk chocolate cups, honey and mascarpone
It's not everyday you get to taste fresh honeycombs, so I suggest you not miss this out. Drenched in honey, this treacly treat gets a bit chewy after a while. Finish it off with chocolate molded into cups to temper the saccharinity. The mascarpone with pistachio bits and honey, while good, is just too sweet for my taste. I'd rather have another chocolate cup of honeycomb please.
Even with the limited amount of fare (only if you compare it to other hotel buffets; otherwise, it more than suffices), Spectrum will definitely leave you wanting. There's so much more you yearn to try--really--if only you physically can. Their service is so personal, most of the dishes are customized to your preference; it's as if they give you permission to challenge their chefs and explore food like you have never before.
Spot: Lobby Level Fairmont Makati, 1 Raffles Drive, Makati Ave., Makati City
Contact No.: 555.9888
Operating Hours and Buffet Prices:
Breakfast 6:00 AM – 10:00 AM Monday to Friday; 6:00 AM – 11:00 AM Weekends and Holidays; P1,336 net (inclusive of service charge and applicable taxes)
Lunch 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM Daily; P1,596 net
Dinner 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM Daily; P1,842 net