It was my dad’s 60th birthday last April 13, Monday, but we planned to celebrate it one day ahead at Maru Korean Restaurant across A. Venue Mall in Makati at dinnertime. Fortuitously, Ms. Raquel Bartolome, Marketing Manager of the Vikings Group, invited me and my family to come and have lunch together with her and other blogger friends on the same day at their newest restaurant: Four Seasons Hotpot City in SM By the Bay, Mall of Asia Complex, near and adjacent to the Vikings Luxury Buffet and Movie Stars Cafe in MOA. I accepted the invitation with much glee, and so we had like a double birthday celebration we will always remember. 🙂
Review of Four Seasons Hotpot City (SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City)
Four Seasons Hotpot City opened on February 19, 2015. This brand-new addition to the list of buffet restaurants in MOA has it all: suave atmosphere from the clean and artsy interior to the gorgeous food stations, whip-smart service attendants, and a contemporary way of hot pot, steamboat, or “shabu-shabu” dining.
Four Seasons Hotpot City bursts onto the scene with vigor, pushing the envelope with its posh “supermarket-style” ambiance. Diners get to “shop” from the “marketplace” and enjoy casual dining in a large space that can accommodate over 350+ guests.
For bigger groups and private events, there are five function rooms available and each can cater to 10-12 people. I was totally pleased to learn that the dining tables were designed in such a way where everyone has an electric stove top (personal cooker) for hotpot meals with safe buttons to press for cooking or keeping food warm. In effect, everyone has the chance to cook according to individual taste and preference without having to share. 😛
On the other hand, if you are seated in a regular table (outside the function room), expect to find a yin-yang pot where you can have two kinds of soup for two to four people. All in all, the orderliness and coziness of this restaurant earned my vote.
The speed and efficiency with which the chefs make food and drinks behind the counters was mesmerizing. Like in other Vikings restaurants, the friendly service at Four Seasons Hotpot City is one of the many reasons why I can’t recommend it highly enough.
The personable staff comes at the table and refills soup and water as needed. Knowledgeable service at this elegant special-occasion destination is also a huge plus.
Those who are celebrating their birthdays are presented with a small birthday cake and a birthday candle. 🙂 ♫ Happy birthday, Daddy! ♫
Ah summer! It’s not the ideal season for gluttony, but here in Four Seasons Hotpot City, indulging in good food that’s clean, fresh, and healthy is quite acceptable without feeling guilty. 😛 While some restaurants do it à la carte, Four Seasons Hotpot City in MOA features an all-you-can-eat steamboat buffet experience where you can feel overwhelmingly thrilled to see and taste a wide spread of food to cook with tongs and eat to your heart’s content.
Four Seasons Hotpot City Steamboat Experience
What I loved most about the experience was having full control in taking exactly what I felt like eating and making it personal. First things first, we were asked to choose a soup base for our hotpot and the level of spiciness. Out of chicken, pork, vegetable, si-but (Chinese herbs), and sinigang, we chose the chicken broth for its subtle flavor and added a few condiments like sate, raw minced garlic, spring onions, chili, and black vinegar from the sauce bar to give it an extra zing.
Not to leave the bowl of stock simmering empty, we visited the Noodles Station where we found different kinds of noodles (squid ink noodles, polonchay noodles, carrot noodles, mushroom noodles, chili noodles, Korean noodles, Hong Kong noodles, sotanghon, etc.) and later, the Balls and Dumplings section. Our eyes were filled with hearts and roses, as we placed almost everything from fish cakes, all sorts of dumplings, and wanton balls into our food tray. 😛
It’s cooking time! We returned to our seats, fueled up our one-hotpot-wonder of ingredients, and let the flavors be infused into the soup. Using the mini stove’s controller to adjust the heat applied to the pot was a breeze.
After a few minutes, the soup was ready to be devoured. I can vouch that everything we tried was great and many of them were interesting. On top of these, we also helped ourselves with food from other stations. 🙂
Big appetites would not mind having a portion of appetizers served here such as salads with dressings, Japanese sushi and sashimi, and cold cuts.
Meat (From the Ranch to Your Table)
The Meat station must be a meat eater’s paradise, as it offers a large variety of nonstop protein with extensive parts and organs of pork, beef, and lamb in an upscale setting. Pig’s kidney, pork tendon, pork lung, pork egg (isaw), and pork large intestine are some of the examples. The items are placed and artfully prepared, so diners can grab them easily. Also making up for a positive dining experience, the different cuts of meat can be asked to be delivered to your table. Hence, there’s no need to stand up a couple of times to get everything you want.
Seafood (From the Sea to Your Table)
Individually plated, a range of seafood was in heavy demand. This includes shrimps, squid, clams, mussels, fish, oyster meat, yellow eel, sharksfin skin, fresh alimasag, baby octopus, sea mantis, talakitok fillet, and more. OMG. The seafoods looked so fresh and we could still taste the seafood sweetness. Nothing beats that.
Vegetables (From the Farm to Your Table)
For those who love vegetables, the Vegetables station is where you’ll find the fun stuff. My dad who’s been a vegetarian since 1981 was hooked into adding different sorts of vegetables to his soup. It was an absolute delight for him to get heaping plates of his favorite vegetables: lettuce, broccoli, kailan, tauge, tomatoes, potatoes, radish, leeks, spinach, celery, Baguio pechay, fried taro, young corn, mushrooms, tangho, choisum, polonchay, Taiwan pechay, chili fingers, Chinese mustard, pumpkin, kangkong, cabbage, fresh sweet corn, watercress, and okra.
Aside from shabu-shabu items, cooked dishes were also present in one counter inside Four Seasons Hotpot City. I highly recommend the following: Fried Hongkong Noodle w/ Seafood, Braised Beef Brisket, Steamed Crab w/ Egg White Sauce, Dong Po Pork, Salmon Fillet in Mango Sauce, Egg Foo Yung, and Shrimp Tempura.
A good place to have some downtime after digging into the heavy courses, the Desserts Stations has always struck me as a friendly go-to hideout that has no need for elaborate explanation yet continues to strive with its regular stream of patrons. Ice cream, halo-halo, Filipino rice cakes (kakanin), chocolate fountain, panna cotta, and yogurt were worthy tries. It was however the crepe with cherry filling eaten with the avocado ice cream that won me over that time. While each component of the dessert tasted “okay” on their own, I insist that the combination was great when pieced together.
The bar serves pretty much everything you can think of—diverse types of ready-made mixed juices, teas, beers, fruit shakes, sodas, and coffee. I ended up choosing Chang Beer to know how Thailand’s number-one selling beer tastes like and ordered wintermelon milk tea with strawberry jelly sinkers. Just for fun, I tried to mix the two together and the result was rather strange. Haha.
Price for Value: ★★★★☆
Classic steamboat dining with sophistication and substance is how I would describe this newest concept of the Vikings Group. The phenomenal selection of dishes here round out a meal well spent. You get to create your own soup and cook anything you want with all ingredients and bases. So if you’re hankering for an unusual buffet restaurant that serves tasty proponents of food, Four Seasons Hotpot City is right up your alley. While prices are not entirely cheap, the experience is truly worth the splurge. 🙂
|Prices, subject to 5% service charge, are as follows:||Weekday lunch||Weekday dinner/ weekend and holiday lunch and dinner|
|Kids below 3 ft||Free||Free|
|Kids between 3ft and 4ft||PhP 188+||PhP 288+|
|Kids between 4ft and 6ft||PhP 288+||PhP 388+|
|Adults||PhP 588+||PhP 788+|
Lunch: 11:00AM – 2:30PM
Dinner: 5:30PM – 10:00PM