Last week, I received a breathless message from The Pickiest Eater in the World, as knowledgeable a food enthusiast as there is here in the metro, and what he said left me in deep excitement: Vikings SM Megamall has opened! I was invited to “conquer” the place and share my experience.
Well, good God Almighty, I didn’t anymore hesitate and said yes right away. I took a one-day vacation leave from work to have dinner at Vikings SM Megmall last Wednesday. 🙂
With Marketing Manager, Raquel Bartolome
In the Philippines, Vikings is one of the most prestigious luxury buffet restaurants, which features over 200 varieties of food abound. While many people already know that, what most might not have observed is that each branch of Vikings has a unique theme that differentiates it to the others. For instance, more than anything, Vikings SM Megamall has an approachable feel, a sense that you aren’t so much in a restaurant as you are in a modern art museum.
The idea implied is that every dish created by the chefs is a work of art or a masterpiece and that guests can freely “paint their palate” with different “colors” of cuisine on the buffet table. Hmmm…interesting! Now let’s go down to business.
Review of Vikings Luxury Buffet Restaurant (SM Megamall, Mandaluyong)
Vikings SM Megamall has this unpretentious, unassuming atmosphere filled with artworks everywhere (on the ceiling, wall dividers and fixtures). Colors are vibrant, very kid-friendly and adult-friendly.
As one who can’t really seem to appreciate art enough, I was stuck at exploring nothing else but food. Anyway, going back to the topic… Like the other Vikings branches in SM North EDSA, SM City Marikina, SM Lanang Premier and SM Mall of Asia By the Bay, this place is very spacious and is able to fit 500+ guests. Seating is plentiful and everything is arranged with care.
Thirty minutes before Vikings SM Megamall allows guests to enter the restaurant for dinner, I stood across the entrance and noticed that there was already a long queue of people waiting to be seated despite that it was a weekday and time was still early for the usual peak of dinner hours. The good thing is that reservations are accepted and walk-in customers can get a number and then wait for it to be displayed on the LED counter while sitting on the couch.
Customer service in Vikings goes as far as entertaining the guests thoroughly by singing, dancing and throwing out comedic punch lines that are sure to capture the hidden sense of humor in everyone. There are enough walking staffs who are attentive in getting used plates from the tables and following requests of active customers. Attitude-wise, they’re friendly, accommodating and approachable. Filipino hospitality at its best!
As a light eater, it’s impossible for me to taste and eat all the dishes as much as I wanted to. So to maximize my grand dining experience in Vikings, I just took those I haven’t tried yet during my first Vikings encounter (in MOA) and those I really love. Here are my top favorites:
Japanese sushi, crabs (for the grill) and ebi tempura for me are the perennial must-eats. Everything on the sushi platter looked artful as showpiece and creditable. The tempura was good—moist, crisp, and not greasy. Its batter was pretty thick, not crackly-thin. The crab meat was tender yet the skin retained a nice crunch. Salads which I got from another counter were also properly executed. The magic happened when I dipped the leaves into a brown sauce.
Next, I had food that were more adventurous than comforting. The freshness of the salmon sashimi cannot be overemphasized; it was not some cheap junk frozen and re-thawed leftover but was the real deal! The baked oysters, which can’t be eaten on a hungry stomach, were a little more down-to-earth and ordinary. The melted cheese on top made the oysters both appetizing and delectable.
I also motioned to the meat section (steak counter) where Vikings chefs are on standby to cut, grill and cook meat. I had a thin slice of well-done angus beef. It’s a winning choice and pretty filling.
Moving on to carbs, I requested for black pasta in pesto sauce with pineapples and hotdogs. What’s unique in this branch of Vikings is that they offer homemade pasta on a pasta machine, and customers can choose the ingredients. How cool is that? So not only Vikings has customized Chinese shabu-shabu, Mongolian rice bowl, Japanese ramen, it also has a section for make-your-own pasta and pizza! 😛
The chocolate fountain and the Filipino native delicacies such as the maja blanca are two desserts I didn’t dare miss. They are pretty conventional but these treats are legitimate; flavors stay bright. The tiny chocolate circles with a cherry on top (pardon me, I didn’t get the name) had a clean, slightly bittersweet chocolate flavor that I’m sure would appeal to all of us who like our chocolate on the 60% cacao and over side. It tasted like high-quality crinkles but softer and tad gooey.
Ice cream must be the perfect simple desserts anyone could have. Avocado, green tea, coffee, rocky road, mango, bubblegum, sugar-free chocolate cashew and strawberry fields flavors—I had a half scoop of each—because when you commit to ice cream, you might as well go all the way! 🙂
Actual Food / Plates I Finished 😛
For the benefit of readers, I’ve created a photo album on Facebook with a “Public” privacy setting so everyone can see the rest of the food pictures in this link.
Price for Value: ★★★★☆
Across all branches, Vikings is always specific and careful when it comes to its product offerings: fresh quality ingredients, wide choices of international cuisine, high standard of service, food safety and store cleanliness, luxurious ambiance, and security of guests. Places like this remind us that no matter what the concept, it’s the dishes that come out of the kitchen that count. And what comes out of the kitchen at Vikings Luxury Buffet Restaurant is very good indeed. For that, even if the price places a quite dent in the wallet, I consider Vikings as a great value-for-money eat-all-you-can restaurant.
Weekday Lunch: Kids whose height is below 3 feet may eat for free. Those whose height range from 3-4 feet are charged with PHp 188, while those who stand 4-6 feet are charged with PHp 388. Rate for adults is at PHp 688. Senior citizens (75 years old and above) have 50% discount.
Weekday Dinner: Kids whose height is below 3 feet may eat for free. Those whose height range from 3-4 feet are charged with PHp 288, while those who stand 4-6 feet are charged with PHp 588. Rate for adults is at PHp 888. Senior citizens (75 years old and above) have 50% discount.
Weekend and Holiday Lunch and Dinner: Kids whose height is below 3 feet may eat for free. Those whose height range from 3-4 feet are charged with PHp 388, while those who stand 4-6 feet are charged with PHp 688. Rate for adults is at PHp 1088. Senior citizens (75 years old and above) have 50% discount.
Vikings reserve a special treat for people celebrating their birthday. Celebrants may eat for free at Vikings on their actual day of birthday. The catch is that they must be accompanied by one full paying adult and that they must bring with them an original and valid government issued picture ID with birthdate imprinted on it. Also, this promo can’t be used in conjunction with any other in-house discounts or promos.