I haven't been able to take part of the All-You-Can-Eat Dimsum spreads of either Shang Palace or Lili, which seem to be "the" places recommended by food writers and bloggers for the said type of feast. But as I was browsing online yesterday, an ad came up announcing that Passion had the same offering, at a price that is markedly lower than the two other places I mentioned (it was PhP 750 nett). I understand the other two to be priced in the four figure range after taxes/charges, or close to it.
Art suggested we give it a whirl, and so we did one fine Saturday morning.
The entrance sign was an LED screen that occasionally changed, so getting a shot of it meant patience. The LED stood in contrast to the interiors of the restaurant, which is really what I expect of a "typical" Chinese restaurant as interpreted overseas from its home country: opulent tones, rich colors and furnishings, white linen on tables, lots of wood-based carvings, and red lanterns.
Our waiter Odyssius (yes, that is what it says on his name tag) served us boiled peanuts (shell off) to start us off as appetizers.
He then produced a small rectangular card that would list all the items included in their All-You-Can-Eat Dimsum Buffet, where you tick off your choices. They would then take the list and procure the said items and you had to wait as they prepared it only as soon as you ordered.
The menu card was divided into three sections: "Dimsum", "Sauteed & Congee, Noodles, Rice", and "Desserts". Two pieces of advice: (1) Go here in a larger group, maybe 5 or 6. While the dimsum servings are good for one or two people, the "main" dishes are served in a larger plate. (2) If you go as a couple, pace yourself. The offer has a strict No Leftover, No Sharing policy, and those little treats are deceptive because you think you're having "small bites" only.
We had the following dishes, which did not exhaust the list we were given.
Sliced Beef Congee With Century Egg
Excellent congee, flavored well, and anything with century egg is a winner.
Steamed Giant Dumplings With Shrimps
Biggest shrimps in hakaw I have ever seen. Very fresh. Must-have on the list.
Steamed Pork Dumplings With Shrimps
I've always loved the pork-shrimp combo, and this makes the cut.
Special "Lauso Pao"
I ticked this off on the basis of two bloggers' recommendations. What's the surprise inside?
A sweetish egg custard like center. Gooey, rich, gooey.
Wok Fried Shrimp With Black Bean Sauce
Another must have for shrimp lovers. The sauce was perfection. Apologies to those with shrimp allergies.
Fresh Shrimp in Crispy Net Spring Roll
Shrimp plus fried crispy coating equals an obvious thumbs up.
Sauteed Turnip Cake With X.O. Sauce
Deceptively filling. Do not order this at the end of your meal, you might be penalized for leftovers.
Stir Fried Chicken Cutlets In "Kung Po" Style
Delicious but a bit more spicy than I would've wanted. Art kept commenting on my sweating.
Steamed Chicken Feet X.O. Sauce
Loved the sauce for this dish. Art's first time to eat this - no pictures available.
Steamed Spare Ribs With Black Sauce
Art found this okay, I was a bit disappointed. Not too tasty, a bit bland. Surprisingly.
Deep Fried Taro Puff
I'm a sucker for this, ever since a waitress in another restaurant called it "Taro Fupp". Tasty and filling.
Steamed Fresh Scallop Dumpling With Shark's Fin
I loved how translucent the wrapper is around the meaty center.
Shrimp overpowers the scallop. No complaints from my end, though.
Braised Fish Fillet With Salted Preserved Vegetables
It was a little bit too salty for my taste, if they had taken the sodium down a notch, it would've been good.
Steamed Fish Fillet With Garlic Sauce
Very, very lightly flavored, and a delightful contrast to the sharp garlic taste. Yum.
Fresh Shrimp And Spinach Dumpling
Love both these ingredients so it's a no-brainer that it would end up on the table.
A more equitable distribution of the spinach vs. shrimp.
Pan Fried Soya Noodles and Yang Chow Fried Rice
Seriously, pass on them both. Filler, or something to buffer salty dishes.
Deep Fried Stuffed Sesame Balls With Lotus Paste
Fancy name for what we call buchi, just the right amount of sticky sweetness.
Chilled Almond Jelly With Mixed Fruits
The almond jelly is always a welcome palate cleanser.
Sweetened Taro Puree With Tapioca
My favorite among the three desserts, it was like ube ice cream with sago balls. Yum.
We missed out on so many other dishes from the list, but Art and I had to practically stagger out of the restaurant. This was a good benchmark for me to have for dimsum "feasts". The other dishes we missed were:
Steamed Glutinous Rice Dumpling With Abalone
Steamed Bean Curd Skin Roll With Mixed Mushrooms
Steamed Barbecue Pork Buns
Steamed Pork Buns With Cabbage
Deep Fried Ham Shui Kok
Deep Fried Wanton
Szechuan Spicy Dumpling
Chao Chow Dumpling
Wok Fried Romaine Lettuce
Sweet And Sour Pork With Fresh Fruits
Wok Fried Pork Face Meat With X.O. Sauce
They had a set up "buffet table" where the congee, rice and noodles were located, as well as some of the dimsum choices. You could choose to get these yourself, or since they were on the list, the waiter assigned to your table would gladly get them for you.
Another point I want to emphasize: the waiters were excellent doing what they do. Always attentive (filling up our tea cups and water glasses), could advise you on which sauces to go best with what dishes, courteous without being annoying and gave you "space". (I'm not really a fan of waiters who hover over your table like flies.)
A sour point was when we tried to reserve in the morning. No one was answering the direct line of the restaurant at 9AM. I decided to call the trunkline and the operator said that the restaurant, like the dimsum buffet, opened at 11AM and that no one would be available to take a reservation request. I asked if he could pass on the request and he said it was not possible for him to do so. Not really feeling the six-star service with that response. (On their website, Maxim's Hotel identifies itself as a six-star establishment.)
Last tip: this will be your best friend in between the baskets of steamed goodies coming one after the other.
This was an excellent spread, one I recommend to those who love their dimsum. The sauteed dishes were in large servings, and Art and I remarked on how firm the dimsum wrappers were. If you are a fan of Chinese food - despite our current situation with them - then you can't go wrong with this restaurant.
Second Floor, Maxim's Hotel
Resorts World Manila (across NAIA3),
11:00AM-2:30PM (lunch); 6 to 10PM (dinner)