November 4, 2018

Dinner Buffet at Kusina Sea Kitchens, Hilton Manila

Dinner Buffet at Kusina Restaurant, Hilton Hotel Manila

Kusina Sea Kitchens is the all-day dining restaurant of the newly opened Hilton Manila. The restaurant offers a buffet spread featuring local and international cuisines. The highlight of the buffet is its wide selection of fresh and cold seafood served the Filipino dampa-style.

Dinner Buffet at Kusina Restaurant, Hilton Hotel Manila

The best time to experience the buffet at Kusina Sea Kitchens is at dinnertime which runs for 4.5 hours starting from 6:00pm to 10:30pm. This means more time for you to enjoy your favorite seafood dishes.

Dinner Buffet at Kusina Restaurant, Hilton Hotel Manila
Fresh Seafood Station | Kusina Sea Kitchens, Hilton Manila

Filipinos love seafood, and Dampa-Style Dining is a very simple way of enjoying their favorite seafood in their preferred way of cooking, usually grilled or stir-fried with their choice of sauce. Kusina Sea Kitchens elevates the Dampa-Style Dining experience by serving it in the buffet.

Dinner Buffet at Kusina Restaurant, Hilton Hotel Manila
Cold Seafood Station | Kusina Sea Kitchens, Hilton Manila

In addition to fresh scallops, clams, oysters, mussels, squid and prawns, cold lobster, crab and spanner crab (curacha) are also available in the buffet. Cold seafood is already cooked and can be eaten straight from the buffet table, but you can also have them grilled with your preferred sauce as well.

Dinner Buffet at Kusina Restaurant, Hilton Hotel Manila

The Dinner Buffet spread at Kusina Sea Kitchens also include a Salad Station, Filipino Food Station, a Dimsum Station, a Fresh Springroll Station, a Japanese Station, a Noodle Station, a Carving Station, an International Cuisine Station and a Fresh Fruits Station.

Dinner Buffet at Kusina Restaurant, Hilton Hotel Manila

An entire section (Panaderia) is dedicated to desserts featuring a variety of cakes, local rice cakes and soft-serve ice-cream. Unlimited serving of chilled juices as well as coffee and tea are also included in the buffet.

Dinner Buffet at Kusina Restaurant, Hilton Hotel Manila

We dined on a Saturday night as walk-in guests and most of the tables were already reserved as early as 5:00pm. Luckily, there were still a few tables available. So I recommend that you make prior reservation, especially during weekends. Here are some of the dishes I tried during our visit:

Dinner Buffet at Kusina Restaurant, Hilton Hotel Manila

I started my meal with cold lobsters and spanner crabs which I paired with a variety of salads including the Seaweed Salad, Thai Salad and Beetroot Salad. Cold seafood is best eaten straight from the buffet table. The meat is very easy to be removed from the shell. When re-cooked, the meat tends to stick to the shell and become tougher to the bite. There is a variety of dipping sauce to choose from.

Dinner Buffet at Kusina Restaurant, Hilton Hotel Manila

I then had a variety of fresh seafood grilled with butter and garlic. The first one I got was the prawns. They were grilled perfectly because the meat was still tender and juicy. The shell was also very easy to remove. I enjoyed the prawns dipped in vinegar with garlic.

Dinner Buffet at Kusina Restaurant, Hilton Hotel Manila

I then had fresh salmon grilled with just salt as seasoning. They were not overcooked. The meat retained its natural sweet and creamy flavor with the salt just enhancing the natural flavor of the salmon. I enjoyed this dish with miso soup from the Japanese Station.

Dinner Buffet at Kusina Restaurant, Hilton Hotel Manila

The next one was a platter of scallops grilled on the shell with butter and garlic. The freshness of the scallops reminded me of my trip to Roxas City, the seafood capital of the Philippines. The scallops were very delicate and the kitchen did a great job of grilling them so that the meat were intact and not overcooked.

Dinner Buffet at Kusina Restaurant, Hilton Hotel Manila

The Dimsum Station featured five different choices. I got to try the Steamed Pork Dumpling, the Steamed Shrimp Dumpling and the Steamed Chicken Feet.

Dinner Buffet at Kusina Restaurant, Hilton Hotel Manila

From the International Cuisine Station, I got a bowl of Yangzou Fried Rice which I then topped with Lechon Macau, Pork Asado and blanched Chinese cabbage. This dish went well with hoisin sauce and plum sauce.

Dinner Buffet at Kusina Restaurant, Hilton Hotel Manila

One of the three choices of broths at the Noodle Station was Laksa. I had a bowl with egg noodles, tofu, prawns as well as lobster from the cold seafood station. The Laksa broth was very thick and had a very coco-creamy taste. The rich seafood flavor of the broth also made the lobster meat more enjoyable.

Dinner Buffet at Kusina Restaurant, Hilton Hotel Manila

From the Filpino Station, I got to try one of the signature dishes of Kusina, the Kare-Kare by Chef Patricia Mesina. The meat was very tender and the sauce was very rich in nutty flavor with a sweet aftertaste, which made it very good to be paired with the shrimp paste. The combination of the saltiness and sweetness was very fulfilling.

Dinner Buffet at Kusina Restaurant, Hilton Hotel Manila

I also tried the Beef Caldereta and the Pinakbet. On the side, I had Sinigang na Salmon Belly. All of these of course went well with steamed rice. Eating these very festive Filipino dishes felt like attending a grandiose town fiesta.

Dinner Buffet at Kusina Restaurant, Hilton Hotel Manila

Transitioning from the main dishes to dessert, I had to cleans my palate and the perfect choice would be fresh fruits. I have eaten in many buffet restaurants in Asia and the Philippines has some of the sweetest varieties of fruits in the region. The soil in the Philippines must be very rich to produce such sweet fruits. Maybe this is the reason why we Filipinos have naturally sweet tooth.

Dinner Buffet at Kusina Restaurant, Hilton Hotel Manila

Sweet things lead us to dessert. I skipped on the local rice cakes as they are very filling. The cakes section has a wide variety of cheesecakes and shortcakes. I was able to try the Matcha Tiramisu, the Dark Chocolate Cake and the Strawberry Shortcake. Thankfully, all of them were not too sweet so you can taste the natural flavors of the ingredients. I had cappuccino to end my meal.

Dinner Buffet at Kusina Restaurant, Hilton Hotel Manila

This could be the buffet meal when I had the most seafood. The fact that I did not itch after eating seafood is a sign that Kusina Sea Kitchens uses high quality fresh seafood. Also, the Filipino food here was amazing. It is the quality of Filipino cooking that I am proud to share to our foreign guests. Filipino food done the right way, no short cuts, no pretensions, Filipino food cooked with love. I will definitely be back here to bring more friends and perhaps celebrate special occasions with my family.




Kusina Sea Kitchens
Level 3, Hilton Manila
1 Newport Blvd, Newport City, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Phiippines
Contact: +63-2-2397788
E-mail: mnlph_hotel@hilton.com
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