SPENT Palm Sunday (March 24, 2013) at Dusit Thani Manila with Lizel Ventosa of PR. My husband Raff and I went to Mass in our church in our subdivision at 8:00 a.m. then proceeded to Dusit Thani Manila in Makati to try out the hotel’s all-new Family Brunch, which replaced its super big hit of a promotion called Sunday Family Crossover Brunch.
The Sunday Family Crossover Brunch was a unique buffet breakfast-lunch that allowed diners to cross over from the hotel’s Umu Japanese Restaurant to its Basix All-Day Dining at the lobby level all the way to Tosca Italian Restaurant and Benjarong Thai Restaurant on the second floor. It had a very successful run, but since Dusit Thani had been offering it for quite some time, management decided to offer something new in its place, and that’s the new Family Brunch, which debuted on March 3, 2013.
Touted to be the next biggest culinary attraction this side of the metro, Family Brunch is similar to the Sunday Family Crossover Brunch in the sense that it is also a buffet that allows diners to cross over from one restaurant of the hotel to another, but the setup has been slightly changed. Now, diners can cross over from Umu to Basix or from Basix to Umu and still get to enjoy the food offerings of all four food outlets of Dusit Thani Manila without having to walk up the stairs or take the elevator up to Benjarong or Tosca.
Basix lays out a huge buffet spread of local, international and Continental dishes, including Italian cuisine; while Umu presents both its own buffet of Japanese specialties and Thai favorites from Benjarong inside the Japanese restaurant.
Since the Family Brunch Buffet is all about brunch, which is breakfast and lunch combined, Basix serves an array of breakfast sausages, pancakes, homemade corned beef, premium cold cuts, international cheese selections and appetizers, including different variants of patés. There’s freshly baked breads and pastries, an egg station that can prepare your eggs just the way you want them, a section for local favorites such as Fresh Lumpia and Kilawin, a whole lechon on the carvery, and live stations for paella and pasta. There’s a big paellera for paella, but even before the paella runs out, a fresh batch is already being cooked at the live paella station; while the pasta station is really for a la minute cooking of pasta dishes according to what diners want to have.
Another feature of Basix’s buffet setup for the Family Brunch every Sunday is the dessert buffet. Cakes, pastries, fresh fruits and ice cream are there for the taking. Diners can even make their own refreshing Halo-halo at the Halo-halo station.
Over at Umu, the choices are equally endless. The place teems with Japanese favorites, starting with sushis, sashimis and makis, plus soups, salads and other appetizers. It also offers a robatayaki filled with grilled seafood, yakitoris, and hot fish, seafood and meat dishes. Over in a tatami room, the a live stations for teppanyaki, sukiyaki and tempura can be found. In the main dining area of Umu, Benjarong sets up quite a spread of Thai specialty dishes, ranging from salads like Yam Pla Duk Foo (crispy fried catfish with green mango salad) and Yam Som-O (pomelo salad) to spring rolls and crab cakes to desserts such as Khanom Tako (sweet water chestnut and coconut cream in pandan cups) and Khao Niao Mamuang (mango with sticky rice). There’s a live station for a la minute cooking of Phad Thai (stir-fried Thai noodles with prawns and peanuts).
To make the Sunday Family Brunch more fun, a mime goes around Umu and Basix interacting with diners and a live band serenades diners as they enjoy their lunch, and if you think they can only sing kundimans and old Tagalog songs, think again. The Sunday I was there, they were dishing out Oppa Gangnam Style with much gusto!
And if you’re wondering what to do with the kids while enjoying Dusit Thani Manila’s Family Brunch together, the kids can actually dine with you at a discounted price. Adult kids, of course, have to pay the usual Php1,800 net per person buffet price, but those who are aged 6 to 12 are entitled to a 50% discount while kids aged 5 and below eat for free. They can also have a little piece of their own heaven after having their fill by visiting the Kids’ Zone, which is located at the Lobby Lounge. On Sundays, the Lobby Lounge is dressed up to be a huge playroom for kids, complete with playful activities and facilities for miniature soccer, basketball, golf and bowling games. They can also just sit back, relax and watch children’s shows on TV or do artwork. Kids can get glitter tattoos or face painting, and stationed near the entrance to the Kids’ Zone are a cotton candy machine and an ice cream cart.
So, how does the new Family Brunch work? You can actually make reservations for seating at either Umu or Basix. You can stay in either restaurant as your home base and just get food from the other restaurant, or you can later transfer to the other restaurant depending on the arrangements that you like. Once seated, you are given a colored wrist band that identifies you as a Family Brunch guest so you can freely move around between the restaurants and get food from both. As part of the buffet, at Umu you are served Iced Green Tea while at Basix you get to choose among the available sodas, Red Iced Tea or even sparkling wine.
While Raff and I stuck to our usual vegetable, fruit, fish and seafood diet while partaking of Dusit Thani’s new Family Brunch last Palm Sunday, we still had our fill. It was a great and filling lunch. Did Raff and I have dinner at home that night? I guess we did, but a very light one.
Try Dusit Thani Manila’s all-new Family Brunch – especially if you like Japanese, Thai, Italian and Filipino food.