|Tramway, a venue for every occasion, offers a plethora of eat-all-you-can food choices - ranging from Filipino to Chinese and Japanese dishes.|
I had already mentioned in one of my previous blogs that I will be attending Baby Bola’s baptism (had I mentioned too that I would be in the list of godparents?). Originally planned on the 22nd, the event was pushed through on the 23rd due to the conflict on the schedule of the venue’s reservation. The long day was surely a very exciting one. Being my first to make a restaurant review, I am in qualms if I could give justice to this one - consider the humble fact of my very limited vocabulary. I hope to make it fair and unbiased. Please bear with me.
The christening was held in a small baptismal chapel annexed to the Sto. Niňo Parish Shrine. It is a very nice and newly renovated chapel that used to house the adoration prayer room. The only downside was, it is located facing the street where noises from the passing vehicles may tend to break the solemnity of the ceremony every time. But those were just minor fix, nothing to worry about (I have not started with the review, yet. Just a warm up. Hehe!) I was already in the venue around ten minutes past eleven in the morning, just in time for the start of the baptismal mass. We were a number of pairs of godparents and the event was also a good chance to meet old and familiar faces. Some good friends during SK days were also invited. That was an instant reunion. Not so long we headed to the small gold-painted chapel, a signal for us godparents to prepare with our “I do’s” and candles for our beloved Baby Bola. The mass was officiated by a young Indonesian priest (which I forgot to get the name). I was tasked to read a few Bible scriptures and with some words of wisdom from the soft-spoken minister, the baptismal service went out pretty smooth. Baby was quite uneasy all throughout, maybe she was just excited too like me for the lunch. Thanks to her Daddy Jason who was just so patient and tireless holding her the entire time while trying to mum and pacify her with all those mini-tantrums.
After a taking a lot of souvenir photos, we swiftly moved to my favorite part of the occasion – the reception. My couple friends chose to hold a lunch at a nearby Tramway Garden Buffet. We have been in the place for a couple of times already so I already had a picture in my mind of what to and what not to expect. Situated at Timog Avenue, Quezon City, Tramway offers a plethora of eat-all-you-can familiar food choices – ranging from Filipino to Chinese and Japanese dishes. The establishment was initially built as a restaurant serving ala carte meals in the early 2000s. Aside from its accessibility (for it only took us less than 15 minutes to get to the area from the church), this family-owned business is true to its tagline, “An ultimate venue for all occasions,” as the cozy and simple ambiance provides its famished guests, who are obviously in the mood to devour as many food as their tummy can fill, with an accommodating festive atmosphere at a very reasonable cost of Php215 per head (drinks not included). With the proliferation of buffet restaurants in the whole metro, the price I believe is among the cheapest. Just a heads up though as the place would tend to be too cramped and crowded, particularly on weekends and during holidays, so better call them in advance to get your slot for reservation if you plan to go there during those days. We headed to a small owl-themed function area in the first floor, further decorated with colorful Japanese paper balls and handmade mini wishing banzai tree. Just a quick trivia: Baby Bola is a nocturnal baby, meaning very much alive and kicking at night, hence the theme. The room good for 80 pax was reserved by Princess ahead of time. More function rooms are located in the second floor. A common buffet table is situated in the public area in the middle of the floor where people queue to get their own fill of food from the silver platters which are being refilled by bunch every two to three hours. Good thing as the exclusive room served us with our own buffet table (which I think the case for all reserved rooms) so there is no need for us to mingle with the jam-packed crowd in the common buffet area. Since there are more varieties in the common buffet, you can still choose to patiently line up for yourself to try their other pasta dishes and century/deviled eggs which were not served in our area. Besides, the waiting time is just enough to make you feel hungry again for your next set of plate refill.
|The function room was decorated with colorful Japanese papers and very cozy. A variety of food choices was served on the exclusive buffet table.|
I am still on a strict diet watch as advised by my surgeon and gastro doctor after enduring a minor intestinal surgery a few months back. To avoid overeating, I tried to put small batches on my plate so I get to taste as many type of dishes as I can. All these good and hearty food choices at a practically frugal price were already a steal so why not take advantage of the opportunity to pig out once in a while. Tramway certainly got my nod and a few stars fair enough to provide satisfaction to a wide range of foodies of the middle to upper-middle class of society. It was an overflowing lunch banquet for me and I basically was able to fill my plate two times (okay, thrice!). These were what I lavished on my plate during our three hours of stay:
The first “foods” that caught my attention were the Sweet and Sour Pork and the Yang Chow Fried Rice, and I must say these two are always a perfect combination whenever I get a chance to attend an event in a Chinese Restaurant. Maybe not the extraordinary type of meal that you always look forward to in an occasion but these two gave their fair share of sumptuousness and attractiveness that a ravenous stomach cannot get away with. It is justifiable since what would you expect to be served on a mixed Asian buffet table? Yang Chow Rice alone could already be satisfying as the white rice mixed with green peas, cabbage slices, fried eggs, shrimp bits and small pieces of ham was already a one-pack meal. Sweet and Sour Pork, on the other hand, comprised of crispy and savory breaded pork doused with a richly sweet and sour flavored sauce. I had to have an eye on the quantity of food I am getting since these were just my starter (very Filipino of me to have rice meal as a starter). I did not want to get full right away as I still wanted to try other choices.
Pancit Canton-Bihon Guisado was surprisingly my star dish. The simplicity of the garnishes and the sauciness of the rice noodles served warm were a bunch of comfort food for me. One could still sense that the noodles were freshly served straight from the kitchen as the dish was still aromatic and steaming hot on the serving platter. It is one good example of cookery that never departed from its traditional taste and value despite the minimal and less fancy ingredients. Mapo Tofu was served on the adjoining platter. Nothing too spectacular with this one except for the softened tofu dices poured with thick sauce and sprinkled over with chopped scallions that looked so appetizing from a far.
Another hit for me was the Steamed Siomai Dimsum. I was not actually expecting too much on this one as when I tried cutting a piece of it using a fork, I found it too rubbery but when it reached my palate, the taste just bursted into my mouth. Its chewy texture would allow you to completely savor every flavor being emitted by this mouthful. And yes, dipping a bite-size on a mixture of soy sauce, calamondin juice and chili sauce is always the best way to enjoy siomai.
In contrast, the Fried Wonton was rather a disappointment for me. The fried wrapper was tough and somewhat an overkill. Picture me scraping the outer covering off from the inside meat before getting a bite. That was quite a hassle, right? I would rather opt for the steamed version. Another fail is the Nido Soup. I just found it bland though I saw some visitors kept coming back for another round. I did not know, maybe my mouth was just too engulfed with the dishes that I had already tasted. (Well, maybe it was my fault since soups should be sipped first as an appetizer rather than served in the middle of the eating spree when tongue is already overwhelmed with the many flavors from the food choices.)
If I had to speak of a saving grace, Steamed Fish and Spiced Clams would absolutely fit in the description. They were freshly served. The fish was tenderized just right and mildly seasoned. Thanks to the belly part as I was able to get a modest dose of my healthy fish oil dietary requirement for the day. The clams, meanwhile, were so tasty. My mouth watered by just staring at it. Really appetizing. Two thumbs up!
I had almost ignored their Hongkong Style Fried Chicken, which in my humble opinion was equally delectable just like the other dishes that I had already tried. The distinct taste, authentic of chicken fried the Asian way, would give you reasons to nibble for more chops without the help of rice.
Meantime, the Japanese platter would give you an assortment of Sushi and California Maki on the table corner where you could get an easy pick anytime you want to. Just be easy with the wasabi sauce, especially if you are not so used to the very strong taste (alert: kids and first-timers). This might look like some sort of mashed guacamole or something but way different in terms of smell and taste.
The dessert and salad table was fully loaded with choices too. There were macaroni salad, buko pandan (coconut and pandan gelatin salad) and mixed veggies that could be tossed with Thousand Island dressing. There were also seasonal fresh fruit slices like watermelon, pineapple and ripe papaya wedges. I ought to wrap up my feast with fruit picks as I was already feeling really full. Breaded Pineapple Rolls and Buchi were also served on a single batch which unfortunately, I was not able to photograph.
On a side note, the brownies, cupcakes and sweets buffet which were outsourced by Princess (from a close friend of hers) were highly commendable too. I loved the gentle sweetness of their treat. My bad as I was not able to try their red velvet in a jar, which is according to the other guests who had tried, was so decadent. The colorful owl-inspired fondant cake looked so sweet and astonishing. I bet it also tastes good.
Those colorful mini-owl giveaways were actually edible chocolate cup cakes in a canister. How creative, isn’t? The young lady friend is, indeed, a very promising pastry chef in the making. If you want to try those wonderful pastries and dessert buffet at a very reasonable price, you may contact Karrell Rose Mauricio at Tel. No. (+632)925-2726.
What more can I say? The waiters and service crews were generally approachable and helpful. They were able to refill the foods in a timely manner. And despite the fact that it was a jam-packed Sunday, they were still able to quickly attend to our needs. The only concern that really bothered me (aside from a few dishes that I found bland), was the lack of maintenance in the restrooms. I think that is something that the management should never overlook because there are guests who are too OC and very particular in cleanliness. Anything that concerns sanitation and safety must always take into consideration particularly if you are running a food establishment.
Foods overflowed, gifts and well-wishes flooded and more than 60 tummies got bloated - and that concluded our exciting and gastronomic day. The food critiquing was quite a tough one! I hope to improve my writing skills more so I could make many more reviews in the future. Thanks for dropping by, you all, my imaginary readers!
TIDBITS FROM ENZ:
Tramway Garden Buffet is situated at 65 Timog Avenue, Bgy. South Triangle, Quezon City, They are open everyday, 11:00am-3:00pm / 6:00pm-10:00pm. They can be contacted through Tel Nos. (+632)415-2005/ (+632)410-4237 or email at email@example.com.
You can also visit their other branches:
Tramway Tea House
Store Hours: 11:30am-3:00pm / 6:00pm-10:00pm
Address: 76 Scout Alcaraz St, Bgy. Saint Peter, Quezon City
Tramway Buffet Plaza
Store Hours: 11:30am-3:00pm / 6:00pm-10:00pm
Address: UGF Worldwide Corporate Center, Shaw Boulevard cor Edsa, Mandaluyong, Manila
Tramway Bayview Buffet
Store Hours: 11:00am-3:00pm / 6:00pm-10:00pm
Address: 1600 Roxas Blvd. cor. Layug St., Pasay City
For the nice cupcakes and sweet treats, you may directly contact Karrell Rose Mauricio at Tel. No. (+632)925-2726. The shy lady has no facebook page yet as I understand she has just started with this pastries business.