Spiral at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza is considered as one of the best eat-all-you-can establishments in the country. In fact, it has a cult status as the smorgasbord Mecca, the go-to place for culinary cravings that won’t fit on just one plate. Other buffets, with the exception of Paseo Uno in Mandarin, just pale in comparison with either restaurant’s diverse selection of international cuisine.
It should go without saying though, that dining at Spiral isn’t cheap. Far from it. The buffet will set you back at least P2,500, including taxes and the service charge. So when CashCashPinoy offered a 50% discount on it, I quickly jumped on it, lest the opportunity pass me by. It’s not everyday that you get to eat at something as revered and loved as Spiral for but a mere fraction of the price.
Upon arriving and being seated, you’d notice how wide and airy the dining area is. There are seats with a nice view of the pool outside, and Manila Bay further along the horizon. There are seats that are tucked away from the hustle and bustle as well, if you wish to bask in solitude, or just cherish the privacy it affords you.
Spiral’s claim to fame is its massive selection of food offered and they certainly did not disappoint in this front. Even if I consider myself as a glutton, I don’t think I’d be able to try out everything they have on a single day. On a related note, the way the different food stations were spaced out was a nice touch. It isn’t crammed into one space where people fight to the death over the last piece of tempura. Although it would seem that the Thai station gets the short end of the stick because of this, as it’s situated way out in the boondocks. A pity, since the pomelo shrimp salad is to die for.
Another detail that I loved about my visit was that they were serving Curacha or spanner crab instead of regular ones. This was the first time I was able to eat this particular kind of crustacean, and I can confidently say that at least half of the people inside Spiral were curacha virgins as well. You have the option to eat it as is, together with a few slices of lemons, or to have it cooked in the kitchen. It was a nice and welcome surprise for me. Though for some people, Fi included, the curacha has no appeal because it looks like a giant, hairy tick. Oh well. You can’t please everyone.
Where there’s fresh crab, shrimps, mussels, and oysters are sure to follow. One letdown for me however, is the lack of lobsters. I distinctly remember Spiral having some the last time I was there. The only logical conclusion I can draw is that they pulled them out while the CashCashPinoy promotion is in progress.
The gustatory delights didn’t stop there as Spiral still have a lot to offer. Of course you have your buffet mainstays such as sushi, sashimi, paella, prime rib, and dimsum. There was a peking duck station as well, though the line was long, so I wasn’t able to come back for seconds. Something common I saw as well was the emphasis on offering different kinds of sauces. At the grilling station, for example, the lamb chops came paired with a mint sauce, which as we all know, is one of the best combinations out there. It’s the little things.
One of the things you shouldn’t miss when you’re in Spiral is the foie gras station. Make no mistake about it, there won’t be any neon signs screaming that it’s right there ripe for the picking. There won’t be any samples on display to clue you in. Rather, you’ll just be greeted with a nondescript sign and a ceramic duck. I myself was unsure if they were serving any or not, so I stalked the station as stealthily as I could. Amidst the furniture foliage I closely observed. After a few minutes, a woman approached and lingered at the station. I became wide-eyed as I saw the cook slip her little slivers of the decadent prize. This was clandestine as clandestine can get.
Fi and I talked strategy. We decided that she would go first and ask for the sinfully delectable nuggets of duck liver. She played it modestly and asked for just four pieces. We waited for a couple of minutes, and finally it was ready. There were no burgers, no ravioli, no salads – just pure, unadulterated, bite-sized pieces of bliss. Once you have it on your plate, you can elect to add apples, pineapple compote, onion marmalade, and Himalayan salt to further enhance the flavor.
It was my turn to get another plate. Once I got to the station, I ordered four more pieces. While waiting for it to cook, a lady stands beside me and nonchalantly says she wants ten. So much for playing it coy.
While waiting for the foie gras, I noticed that there was a risotto station as well. I was bordering on full already but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity as it looked really good. I watched the cook prepare my request as she was simultaneously bombarded with orders of foie gras. So while she was cooking my risotto, she was preparing dozens of foie gras to sear as well. Once she finished, she hastily gave the plate to me. The risotto was supposed to have a prawn on top of it, but I let it slide since she was stressed out and swamped. It tasted really good, but I’m sure it could have been better if she was focused on it.
There were plenty of fruits, cakes, and pastries for dessert but I decided to get ice cream teppanyaki instead, which is basically ice cream mashed with a plethora of other ingredients like Cold Stone or Cold Rock. You can choose from pecans, walnuts, peanuts, cookies, marshmallows, et cetera. It’s really nothing special other than admiring the spectacle that is the presentation.
All in all, the dining experience was great. The foie gras alone is well worth the money we paid, and paying the original price is no problem as long as you know you’re getting your Peso’s worth. We’ll probably go back once the promo period for CashCashPinoy passes though. Maybe the elusive lobsters will be back by then.
Sofitel Philippine Plaza
Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel Manila, Sofitel Philippine Plaza
Roxas Boulevard, CCP Complex
Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines
Phone Number: (63 2) 551-5555, (63 2) 832-6988