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Monday, March 12, 2012

Jeepney: Hits And Misses (First Of Two Parts)

Recently offered by Deal Grocer (, we bought coupons for a buffet (lunch or dinner) at the Jeepney Cafe of the Intercontinental Hotel Manila. As is the case with most of their deals, they gave a considerable discount off the regular prices of items they featured: the Jeepney buffet, which usually costs PhP 1,754.00 nett, was now offered for only PhP 875.00 nett.

We decided to partake of the dinner spread: Our experience at other hotel buffets seemed to highlight the fact  there is a better/more extensive spread on the evening circuit as opposed to the lunch offerings.

I would divide this review between the savory and the sweet categories of dishes.

We started off with the salads, the selection of which included Caesar's and Nicoise. The one that caught my fancy was the Grape and Cheese Salad, although I found the thick white dressing bordering on unnecessary, seeing as how the dish was already enriched with cheese as a main ingredient. Maybe they could thin the dressing to highlight the natural taste of the "stars". (It had Bleu Cheese. Yum.)

We then went to the "Japanese" section, of which this was the only thing present.

Not the most appetizing presentation, and only mitigated by the freshness of the salmon itself. There actually was a sushi -which always ran out - a deconstructed "California" concoction, which had rice, a nice steamed shrimp, a slice of mango, and Japanese dressing. Whenever the chef would make it, it would disappear in seconds, so I don't have a picture of it.

They need to work on variety and presentation for the Japanese area.

I also found it hard to believe that the next two items were offered for a dinner lineup.

I am a potato freak so I took two wedges just to see how they were done: Not bad, but I would not classify them as good, either. Their inclusion for dinner was startling, to say the least.

Their Italian section consisted of a single pizza.

No description as to what kind of pizza it was. I'm being kind when I say that the pizza I've tasted from Bread Talk would be classified as better than this. If you can only give a half-hearted attempt to put out a pizza just so there could be an "Italian station", it's better not to do it at all.

In fact, the savory line-up was mostly Filipino, and while we love it on its own, we did not expect the rest of the food to be such a facsimile of Kamayan, considering the (real, undiscounted) price and the fact that a hotel should cater to its clientele, of which many are not from this country and may not take to local food that easily. Add to the fact that Kamayan has a better spread at even cheaper prices, and it really makes the Jeepney offering look...spurious.

This dish was the most disappointing of all:

Again, I actually LOVE Ginataang Gulay (Vegetables in Coconut Milk) but the dish was advertised as "Peeled Shrimp with Veggies" - and we couldn't find the shrimps! And Arthur then whispered: "At these prices, they came out with this as the only vegetable dish?!?"

I have nothing to add to that question.

How can you blame me for thinking that this was a Filipino spread?


Bihon. (Really?!?)


Pork Humba.

Chicken Relleno. The only time I've had it with sauce - isn't this usually a "dry" dish?

Caraga Chicken, Caraga being a region in the Philippines.

I chose to focus on the grilled items on their spread, rather than get all huffy about the selection.

Grilled Salmon and Maya-Maya.

Grilled Pork and Chicken.

All of which were actually nicely done, and the marinade was very good.

I also didn't try the mussels, but Arthur said they were alright, and not spicy as its appearance would lead you to believe.

Neither of us were on a zero carbohydrate diet, but we both didn't partake of the rice, which was spelled as "Young Chow Fried Rice".

I did not bother taking pictures of the two steamed Chinese offerings - a pork bun and pork dumplings - as they both looked dry and rather sad.

The only "exotic" offering they had was the Lamb Curry, and by that time, I was getting dejected with each dish I saw that I - mistakenly - did not even try the dish at all.

I could not believe that this was the extent of their originally 1,700 plus pesos buffet. I had consigned myself to a disappointing dinner experience.

Arthur said "buti nalang 50% discount" (it's a good thing it was at 50% discount) but I thought, Maybe it's because this is a "deal" meal, which would explain the unsatisfactory savory offerings. But I witnessed a couple entering the restaurant, and they paid full price for the same thing we were having, which was really sadder for them.

But what was most disappointing at all was that this was not how it was advertised.

(More in the next post.)


  1. I'd be mad if I paid hotel prices for something like this. O_o

    1. Haha, I was treading carefully lest anyone accuses me of being "racist" and not liking the spread because it was too Pinoy :)

  2. Damn, am I glad I didn't buy this deal...though I'd already known that Jeepney Cafe really doesn't have the best buffet from experience, but I had no idea it was this bad already! Tsk tsk tsk...

    1. I think one of the biggest shocks I had was seeing the Bihon dish...Really? Bihon? At these prices? I will not lie, I was very disappointed.

  3. Gosh! It's gotten this bad?! Now I know which hotel buffet to steer clear of...
    A actually feel bad for you that you have had to go through this to give us a warning haha. But I sure hope they wake up and improve soon. Nahihiya tuloy ako sa mga foreign hotel guests. Buti na lang, Glorietta and Greenbelt are right across and minutes walk away.

    1. I think we were here 2 Christmases ago, that was a better experience than this last one, but already (that Christmas we were maybe 20 who dined there), you could hear others compare with the other hotel buffets and they found Jeepney to be lacking in variety. I was then clued in on other spreads and when I checked them out, it turned out to be true. :(