travel & lifestyle blog by ruth dela cruz


The Vikings (Buffet Restaurant) is Truly Filipino

June 9, 2014

When the Vikings arrived in the Philippine food scene 4 years ago, people welcomed them it with open arms and good appetite. I have heard and read a lot of good stories about the Vikings. Five-star food menu, luxurious ambiance and personalized service. 

The Vikings even treat birthday celebrants to a free buffet meal (a treat that most of the other buffet restaurants have adapted). Who wouldn’t fall in love with the Vikings?

With such a fresh concept on buffet dining, and innovative approach to food and menu offerings, Vikings is always mistaken as an international franchise. The secret was revealed when Vikings invited us for a lunch meet-up. The Vikings (Buffet Restaurant) is truly a Philippine brand. Vikings was even awarded the Most Promising Retailer during the 17th Outstanding Filipino Retailers and Shopping Centers ceremony by Philippine Retailers Association.

The truth is, I have never experienced the Vikings. It is always a plan that we didn’t get to cross out in our to-do list. When Vikings opened its doors, it was when I felt a little tired over buffet restaurants.

In the function room inside the newly-opened Vikings Store in SM Megamall, we sat down with Charles and Raquel and we talked about food, customers’ buffet behaviors, our own buffet strategy and more about Vikings. It is interesting how Vikings tried to keep up with the food trends and ensuring that customers don’t get bored with every visit to the Vikings restaurant. Take for example, the ambiance – each Vikings restaurant has a different ambiance to give guests a different feel and mood whenever they visit a different Vikings store. The Vikings in SM Megamall has a seating capacity of 500+ guests and offers more than 200+ dishes. The menu for this brand wants to emphasize the idea that every dish created by the chefs is a work of art or a masterpiece and that guests can freely “paint their palate” with the different colors of cuisine on the buffet table, hence the “Art Museum Theme”.

To let us experience the Vikings’ food innovation and let us reconnect with our roots, Vikings is launching a special menu this Independence Day to celebrate the Filipino heritage. Vikings calls it “Homegrown”

Kuhol Cassoulet in Vol Au Vent by Chef Bendo
Click Read More to know more about the Viking’s Filipino spread!

The first appetizer that was served to us. Truly Filipino food from Samar, Ginataang Kuhol (a specialty of Chef Bendo’s lola) with a French twist. I love the contrast of the flakes and fluid texture of kuhol.
Lumpiang Ubod by Chef Mike

The Lumpiang Ubod is a staple to an all-Filipino table. Chef Mike’s childhood discovery of the coconut pith is an interesting story that he wants to share with Vikings’ diners. I have to say that Viking’s Lumpiang Ubod is one of the best I have tasted! Most of the Filipino restaurants fail in perfecting the recipe. The wrapper is more like a crepe, and the thick sauce is just perfectly balanced with the tangy garlic bits and nuts. 
Sisig Pizza by Chef Allan
The Sisig Pizza created a buzz when it was served. Sisig is one of the authentic dishes in the Philippines, and pizza (oh, how much I love pizza!) is a popular food from Italy! I love the bite and chewy texture of the meat, and the soft bite of the crust. Something so good that is comparable to Pinakbet Pizza!

I love how fun the Vikings Team is! When we told them this might be good to eat with beer, they served us a mug of cold beer (at 2 in the afternoon!)

Cream of Pumpkin Blossom
I started to appreciate soups just recently and I concluded that Pumpkin Soup is my favorite! I love how thick and creamy this offering is. I could ask for another serving, but I need to leave some room for the main dishes.

 Ginataang Pagi by Chef Anthony

Expect a chef from Bicol to use coconut milk and (lots of) chilis in a food masterpiece that he would share in the spread. The Pagi (stingray) has a tasty and fine meat, made even flavorful with coconut milk and chilis. I love the malunggay and colors of red bell pepper. 

Pinangat by Chef Anthony
When Pinangat was served, it smelled like a home-cooked meal from the province. I thought of a peaceful picture of a nipa hut and green fields; but I was reminded that I was in a metro (what, with the sky high buildings I could see from where I was seated). The experience that it brought me is very nostalgic. I love the rich flavor of the taro leaves (which my mom always tells me how beneficial it is for one’s health!). I would recommend this to my vegetarian friends, but be cautious of the spicy flavor.

Bicol Express by Chef Rey
Viking’s Bicol Express is flavorful and not just all about spiciness that would send your tongue on fire. If you want to taste the real Bicol Express, you might check out this dish which is a perfected recipe from Chef Rey’s family. 

Callos Manileña by Chef Ian

I rarely get to eat Callos, and I found out that it is one of the most difficult dishes to master. The flavor is somewhere between Menudo and Mechado. There is a distinct flavor that you would know it is Callos. Plus, the soft chicken peas are perfect with chorizo. I just have to say no to internal meat 🙂
Guinumis by Chef Mike
We were already feeling full when they started serving us with Guinumis! I was attracted to the colorful jellies in the clear glass. The ice shavings and milk were just so inviting. I was curious if Guinumis is more of a beverage or dessert (I often see this in the Beverage list). It is a local palamig that Chef Mike had enjoyed drinking when he was young. We equally enjoyed the refreshing drink with the crunchy pinipig and soft jelly cubes that almost melt in the mouth!

Sayongsong by Chef Adam
Here’s a native dish from Surigao! Sayongsong is best described as a light purple colored with soft textured sticky rice wrapped in a cone shape banana leaf with almost the same ingredients as Bohol’s sweet delicacy Calamay. It tasted like bilo-bilo in Ginataang Halo-halo, but with a drizzle of caramel syrup, it gives a different flavor, add the crispy nuts on the side. Chef Adam said that another version is one with hint of calamansi! Now that’s what I want to try! 
Buchi con Yema by Chef Jogat

 The Buchi con Yema is a revelation! I have to say that buchi is not my favorite dessert in the world, but this buchi offering might make me change my mind. When you take a bite, it is an explosion of texture – crunch and chewiness of dough. As you bite deeper, you will taste the creamy yema which is not at all sweet.

Choco Pili Tart by Chef Paolo

Another star that afternoon was the Choco Pili Tart! Everyone asked if the cup is an edible chocolate, and yes it is! A good creamy filling of pili embraced by a bitter-sweet chocolate cup! A flavor comparable to the Belgian chocolates that we eat from fancy boxes. 

It was a delight to taste these Filipino offerings from Vikings Buffet Restaurant. What makes the menu more interesting is the story behind every dish – a story and experience by each of Vikings’ resident chef infused with their culinary expertise. It truly represents Vikings dedication to personalized service and engaged employees.

The Vikings Independence Day Menu called “Homegrown” will be available in SM Megamall branch starting June 12! 

Thank you so much Raquel and Charles for the invitation!

Parang birthday ko lang? 😉 
Yes, the FREE Birthday Buffet Meal is still on at all Vikings Buffet Restaurant 🙂
Which of the Vikings’ Filipino Dishes would you like to try first? 🙂 

Vikings SM Megamall
4th Floor, Mega Fashion Hall, Bldg. D, SM Megamall, 
Julio Vargas cor. EDSA, Mandaluyong
656-3888, 656-4888, 656-5888
Instagram: @vikingsluxurybuffet
Twitter: @vikingsbuffet

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