Lunch at F Cafe, F1 Hotel Manila

Two years ago, I had the chance to spend a staycation at the F1 Hotel Manila (then called Best Western Premier F1 Hotel) at the Fort. They were still on soft opening stage back then, and I must admit that there were a few areas where I saw some room for improvements. This year, with the invitation of my dear friend Twinkle Lacsamana, I got to try the F1 Hotel Manila experience again. Allow me to share  my food and staycation experience on separate posts. Let's talk about the buffet lunch first, shall we?

Standard check-in time at F1 Hotel Manila is at 2:00 pm, and so when we arrived at around 11:30 am, we decided to check out the lunch buffet at F Cafe.

F Cafe is an all-day dining restaurant that features sumptuous international cuisine with the chef Eugene San Juan at its helm. Chef Eugene had worked for many hotels and cruise lines around the globe, and upon his return to the Philippines a year ago, he decided to cook for his kababayans this time around. "Before, when I used to work abroad, I would infuse international cuisine with a Filipino twist. Now that I am back home, I want to share the dishes that I've learned to cook from around the world to my home country," he says.

The buffet features a wide array of dishes--from Filipino favourites to tempting appetisers and sinful carvery of bagnet (crispy pork belly).

To kick start the meal, we had some crackers and cheese (Brie remains my favourite amongst other cheeses on offer). There were also some dips like liver pates, tapenades, pesto, sundried tomatoes, and a lot more. An array of tapas were also on offer.

Crackers and bread sticks

The appetiser station includes my favorite starter: sushi and sashimi! The tuna and salmon sashimi were such a delight that I couldn't help but get more slices each time I passed by the station. Both taste fresh and clean.

Tuna, kani, and mango sushi
Salmon and tamago sushi
My sushi plate
In the same station were fresh seafood like prawns and mussels that you can either enjoy cold or have them cooked the way you want it. I had prawns cooked in chili garlic butter sauce and baked mussels with cheese. There are also a variety of salads including salmon crumble, potato with pastrami, papaya and prawn, and macaroni. Of these, I love the potato with pastrami the most since I am not really into veggies. It goes perfectly well with the bagnet. My mom, on the other hand, did enjoy her freshly tossed Caesar salad.

Prawns and mussels
Potato and pastrami
Salmon crumble
Papaya and prawn
The main courses were aplenty that if you get a serving of each in one go, you will definitely ran out of space in your plate (and your tummy). 

Giving a taste of Italy, the branzino al forno (baked sea bass) was bathing in rich tomato and bell pepper sauce, enough to tickle your palate. Best to eat with plain rice.

Branzino al forno
Balbacua, an iconic local dish that traces its roots from the southern parts of the Philippines, is slow-cooked beef in a hearty broth. F Cafe's version was undeniably tender and flavorful. Again, best eaten with plain rice.

While I did not try F Cafe's version of lengua (okay, honest confession: I don't eat ox tongue), the table behind us kept on refilling their plates with this, so I guess it must have been good after all, right?

Lengua with corn and mushrooms
The tuyo (salted fish) pasta was also a crowd favorite. My mom and I had second helpings of this fusilli tossed in olive oil, tuyo, olives, tomatoes, and basil. A healthy treat for those who want to eat light and guilt-free.

Tuyo pasta 
The cheesy goodness of the chicken with Mornay sauce will surely make your kids eat a lot this time. It's rich and creamy, complete with the bursting flavors of cheese and cream on tender chicken breasts.

Chicken with Mornay sauce
Pork emincer
Taking center stage was the bagnet at the carvery. The sinfully crispy skin and the succulent meat were oozing with juices that are meant to bring you to heaven (well, pork heaven). This might go well with beer or red wine...and plain rice. Uh oh. Forget the "bringhe" as it was just tagged incorrectly.

Besides the branzino al forno, the steam lapu-lapu is a great pescetarian option. It tastes very Oriental, so a serving of yang chow will definitely complement this dish.

Steam lapu-lapu
Steamed veggies
For those who like spicy food, the chana masala (an Indian dish made of chickpeas in red curry sauce) is sure to delight. Best with tortilla or herbed potatoes.

Chana masala and herbed potato
Another crowd favorite is the ebi tempura--large prawns perfectly coated with crispy batter. A simple yet all-time favorite dish. Turnover was fast, so the staff had to refill the tray double time to keep up.

Ebi tempura
Yang chow
F Cafe also has a Mongolian grill station where you can mix and match an array of ingredients to create your very own bowl. It was tempting to have a slice of grilled salmon but I was already getting full.

Mongolian grill station
Salmon slices with salt and pepper
The dessert station was not as broad as other hotel's but it sure has something to satisfy your sweet tooth, with a halo-halo and ice cream stations to boot!

Red velvet
Dessert tower

Leche flan
Halo-halo and fresh fruits station
On weekends, F Cafe sets up a kiddie corner since most of their guests are families who are enjoying a staycation. Here, you will find donuts complete with syrups and toppings like candy sprinkles, nuts, and chocolate chips; assorted cupcakes; and candies, gummies, marshmallows.

Kiddie corner
Make-your-own donuts
Tsokolate de batirol
But of all the desserts laid out at F Cafe, I find the apple strudel the yummiest. Oh wait, did I tell you I dressed up my apple strudel? Yeah. I drizzled it with hazelnut toffee sauce, which I found at the donut corner, put a scoop of vanilla ice cream and topped it with chopped nuts. Oh-my-goodness. I had two servings in one sitting. =)

We ended the lunch with a cup of warm cappucino, and by the time we finished it, it was already time to check-in. I shall talk about our stay in my next post. 'Til then!

F Cafe at F1 Hotel Manila
32nd Street, Bonifacio Global City, Philippines
+632.928.9888 / +632.908.7888


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