Marriott Café: Living Large

Photo by Shaira Luna

MANILA, Philippines - For many people, bigger is usually better. This applies to most things, particularly when it comes to how you live your life. The Marriott Café in Newport City Complex, Pasay certainly has big plans in store for everyone in search of more gustatory adventures!

Cut from the same cloth as Marriott establishments aroundthe world, the Café is decorated with soothing earth tones and interesting accents. Run by Executive Chef Meik Brammer, it has a plethora of the freshest ingredients to tickle your fancy, as well as an abundance of international dishes that proudly display the Marriott’s own flair.

As you amble through the different stations, you will see anything from a jungle of greens in the Salad Bar, to authentic German butterbrot and hearty poppy-seed loaves in the Bread Bar, to a multitude of Asian and European offerings in the buffet proper. Particularly popular is the roasting station with more than five different sauces and rubs to flavor the exquisitely cut meat.

With the stiff competition in hotel buffets, Chef Brammer has taken special care to highlight ingredients that are readily available, making each offering as delectable and succulently fresh as the next. “I have given special attention to the seafood. I’ve seen the freshest catches in buffets around the country, but it’s not big enough for me. Our seafood section has huge variation, from your typical tiger prawns and lobsters, to the more exotic fish that people enjoy but never see enough of,” Chef Brammer says as he paces through the different stations.

A large man, both in physique and personality, Chef Brammer has been in the Philippines for almost a year, but has spent the last 10 traveling and eating all over Asia. “Asian cuisine is very different from Continental European—it’s almost always an interactive experience,” he notes. He proceeds to praise what he calls the “educated palate” of Filipino diners.

“As a chef, I can offer more choices to my clientele without having to explain everything. The culinary upbringing of Filipinos is such that they know their international cuisine but still pay due respect to native dishes, which is something that not every country in Southeast Asia can claim,” says the Hamburg native.

As such, customers at the Marriot Café can ask the chefs in the open-theater kitchens to prepare whatever their hearts and stomachs desire using the ingredients on display. A well-loved favorite of the Café’s regulars is the asuhos salad on a crisp bed of luscious arugula, drizzled with chunky mango salsa. The salty fish coupled with the sweet salsa and the tart leaves make for a very interesting and bold forkful.

Another off-menu dish that deserves mention is the lobster gambas, which has a very distinct Asian flavor. It is simply lobster flesh that has been stir-fried with chili flakes, chili crème, sesame oil and hoisin sauce. It’s the perfect example of regional cuisine that the Marriott prides itself on. Neither this nor the asuhos salad can be seen on the menu or on the buffet table, but the chefs under Brammer know how important it is to give credence to individual customer tastes. “Food is a personal experience,” Brammer says. “We have the tools and the means to give you what you want.”

More than just another hotel in a worldwide chain, the Marriott in Newport City Complex is a hotel with a big heart. “We’re not just here for a lark,” Brammer says. “We want to be part of the community. We want people to recognize the hotel as part of their everyday lives. From being an option for a meeting place in the Lounge, to grabbing a cup of coffee before work at Java+, to bringing the entire clan to the Café to sample the buffet on a Sunday, the Marriott is possibly the most generous and polite neighbor you will ever have.”

With all the big plans in store for the Marriott Café and its offerings, Chef Brammer highly recommends coming for a visit with a big appetite. “You’ll leave with a big smile on your face, and a deep appreciation for everything the Marriott has to offer.”

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