Review of Vikings "A feast from the sea" Buffet Restaurant, SM-Mall, Marikina
The popularity of Viking's Restaurant is really amazing. Although it is expensive, you just can't go there without reservation, but to be accommodated, customers should go to the place one hour before opening time to get their numbers as wait listers.
We decided to dine in to the restaurant's newest branch located at SM-Mall Marikina. The 20% discount promo was so something we can't just ignore and we need to beat the deadline which was on November 15, 2012. To qualify in the 20% discount promo, customer must first "like" the restaurant in their Facebook page, Vikings staff will get the customers' email address, and once they confirmed that you already "liked" Vikings SM-Marikina page, 20% will be automatically deducted from your bill.
From our office which is located in Manila, to reach SM Marikina is just one ride away via LRT. Aside from that, our office provided free shuttle service to the employees, so we have a choice to ride our shuttle service going to Marikina which regularly passes near the mall.
It was already 5 pm when I reached Vikings,, It was not open yet but customers were already seated on the provided seats where they can wait comfortably. I approached the woman handling the reservation and asked her to list me plus 3 companions.
5:30 pm when they opened and started to welcome customers. Those with advance reservations was the first to enter the restaurant. A few minutes later, one lady from the reservation group started to call numbers of customers from the waiting list, and although I was number 24, I really did not feel like I had waited long until my number was called.
Vikings is such a huge place with unbelievable number of food served luxuriously on the buffet tables. The place is spacious but still, it gets too crowded with lots of customers walking here and there feasting their eyes and stomach with lots of tempting food. The tables and chairs were elegantly arranged, combined with fancy lights and shades which added to the cozy look. The sad part is, you cannot choose a table if you are in the waiting list. My group and I were guided to this long table that can accommodate 14 people, meaning we are going to share with other ten customers. The table was higher than the standard dining table so we were seated on a high chair tall enough to match the table. It was uncomfortable at first sharing table with strangers but it never became a hindrance for us to enjoy our dinner.
The Buffet Tables and Bars
Like I said, Buffet tables or bars are attractively arranged. The dessert station will be the first one that you are going to see because they are just at the entrance, as if inviting customers to try them first, this is immediately followed by the appetizer bar and salad bars. The salad bar will give customers a choice to make their own salad whether Asian, Caesar or even Sicilian. Potato salad is also available. Next to them or almost at the same bar are the mouth watering cold cuts and cheese. On the next bar are Japanese Dishes, followed by the Drinking Stations. The Drinking Station offers all types of beverages, fresh Juices in variety of flavors like fresh dalandan juice and four seasons, smoothies or shakes are also available, as well as soft drinks, brewed coffee, tea, and even draft beer.
Actually it was a long line of buffet bars, organized also according to the country that it represents. Across the bar in the middle part of the venue is the large buffet of assorted sushi and maki. Honestly there were too many foods and dishes inviting customers to taste them but the reality is even with humongous appetite, it is still impossible to try everything that were served on the table.
The Dessert Bar
I always say this in my "dining-in buffet hub", that one of my measures for a best buffet restaurant is their Dessert station. Vikings passed my standard with flying colors because they have all the desserts beyond my imagination. It's like a moment in my fairy land, My favorite mousse and panacotta are in small glasses all placed inside the glass cake rack. Next to it are cakes of different varieties, Chocolate fountain in three flavors (Dark chocolate, White chocolate and Strawberry), side dishes and candies that you can mix with Ice cream and yogurt. Aside from that fresh fruits are also available.
Although I love desserts, I only chose what my drooling palate was desiring at that moment. I chose strawberry panacotta, strawberry mousse, crepe with blueberry filling topped with strawberry flavored Ice cream, dragon fruit and the one that I thought was a cream pop.
I always love the strawberry mousse, it is something that I don't usually found in nearby popular cake store, the crepe with blueberry filling was a perfect combination with strawberry flavored Ice cream on top. Dragon fruit is a favorite, quite expensive in the supermarket but at the dessert station, it was only one of those served so I really indulged myself.
Whenever I am in a buffet challenge, It's my rule to start always with the dessert and ended my meal with another dessert.
The Appetizer Bar
I think I enjoyed the appetizer a lot because my 2nd and 3rd servings were assorted appetizers that really pleased my taste. If in the dessert station my favorite flavor was strawberry, at the appetizer bar, I craved for something cheesy and new. Keso Fresco Ahamunado and Mussel Fresco Ahamunado satisfied my craving for something salty but very tasty.., I love the devilled egg, it is just a simple egg stuff with flavorful egg yolk, but I was so crazy about it. the Salmon gravlax and farmers gallantine are also very delicious. My 3rd serving is another set of appetizer from the cold cuts and cheese bar and just a repetition of my 2nd serving.
They tasted so good that I had eaten too much of them, for sure I will return to Vikings to experience their distinctive taste again
Japanese and Sushi Bar
Next to the cold cuts and cheese bar are the Japanese bar that served Tempura (shrimp, fish and vegetables), I ignored the Teppanyanki group and skipped this large buffet table in the middle of the venue with maki, sashimi and sushi, deliciously arranged to attract customers. I ended up getting 1 piece of vegetable tempura and another piece fish tempura. I like the vegetable tempura. It encouraged my appetite.
Steak, Fried rice, and Soup
My buffet experience won't be completed without trying the steak. I got the steak they called "Top blade", combined with this delicious sauce that I forgot the name. Lamb chop was not available at the time that I asked for it, instead I went to Chinese dishes bar and got a less than half serving of fried rice. My meal won't be completed without a soup so I got half a cup of soup called "minced pork with century egg".
I guess I got the perfect meal combination here. The top blade steak is tasty which compliment the fried rice. The soup was also good. I have another reason to go back to Vikings because of this.
Chinese Cold Cuts, Appetizer and Dimsum
It's really my plan to try the dimsum, because in my last buffet experience from another luxury buffet restaurant, I was already full when I got to taste the siomai and dumpling. So I promised myself that in my next buffet experience challenge, I won't place the dimsum in my less priority list. At the dimsum bar, I got few pieces of my favorite chicken feet, 3 pieces of dumpling, and 1 piece siomai. Chinese cold cuts and appetizer is an old time favorite but I only got one piece of pork and 2 pieces century egg. The chicken feet was fine but I am not contented with the dumpling, I guess the dough is thicker than usual dumpling that I tasted in the past. I didn't know why I didn't like the Siomai, it probably reminded me that it was the last thing I had eaten when I got sick two weeks ago.. Anyway I won't give up on Vikings just because the taste of siomai and dumpling did not reach the standard taste that I know,
Hot Pot or Shabu-shabu is an all time favorite but I did not plan to include it in my series of servings, but the youngest in the group insisted to get a shabu-shabu, and I really thank her for that because the hot soup automatically lessen the fullness that we felt in our stomachs. As expected, the clear broth was tasty, and was even made tastier by the seafood and vegetables that we soaked in the broth.
Aside from enjoying the soup, I also like the pot with portable heater. It's like having mini shabu-shabu on our table.
While waiting for our soup to boil I decided to get my final dessert, few pieces of dragon fruit, a glass of strawberry mousse and the mangosteen fruit.
Two more servings
Promos and Strategies to attract Customers
Vikings is popular not only because of their luxurious preparations of foods, but also because of their promotons and strategies that the customers enjoy. At the Mall of Asia branch, birthday celebrants are free of charge. He or She just needs to present ID that will prove his date of birth. Originally we planned to celebrate a friend's birthday at Vikings MOA branch, but when we tried to get a reservation via phone, we were informed that reservation were already full for the next three weeks so we researched more and decided to just go to their newest branch in SM Marikina. LIke what I mentioned earlier, Vikings SM Marikina offered 20% discount to customers who liked their page at Facebook.
But Vikings' SM Marikina has additional promo, all birthday celebrants for the month of November can enjoy the buffet anytime, free of charge, this automatically deducted 50% from our actual bill, because two ladies in our group of four were November Birthday celebrants.
To maximize the customers' enjoyment, it's their tradition to greet the birthday celebrants by assigning group of waiters to sing a happy birthday song to each celebrants. They brought with them the colorful birthday backdrop and a small or palm sized birthday cake which is Vikings' additional gift.
Tips for new customers
Vikings is very organized when it comes to their customers and reservations. They accept reservations via phone, and those who do not have reservation can go to the restaurant earlier to get the first numbers in the waiting list.
Prices are a lot cheaper during lunch time which is around 11:00 am to 2:30 PM only, after that Vikings will have a break to prepare for dinner time buffet which will start at 5:30 pm and will end at 9:30 to 10:00 PM. Buffet rates are also cheaper on weekdays than Weekend and Holiday Lunch and Dinner. They don't charge kids below 3ft in height, and they charged 50% less if the kids are 3 ft to 4 ft plus. 75 years old and above always have special 50% discount.
Overall my friends and I enjoyed a lot at Vikings SM-Marikina. Aside from the food and drinks, we also enjoyed the discount. Our birthday celebrants had an advance birthday celebration too.
Except for the part that you can't choose table when you are in a waiting list (unless you wanted to wait longer until you get the best table for you), I think Vikings luxury buffet restaurant is one of the bests if not the best Buffet restaurant in the country today. For me a good buffet restaurant has the following characteristics; bigger spacious place more than enough to accommodate a large number of customers, polite-courteous- helpful staff and waiters attending to the needs of the customers, serves International dishes, delicious food in large quantity and best quality, unlimited drinks and beverages already included in the given per head rate, a countless choices for fancy desserts, and maintains cleanliness and orderliness in spite of the large number of hungry and excited customers.
Now I know why Vikings "a feast from the sea" is very popular... Will I return? of course, with a detailed plan on what to eat first, and how not get too full easily..
© 2012 Maria Cecilia