I had long been curious about Raffles and Fairmont Hotels in Makati but must admit I could not distinguish between the two. Son had been there before, to the buffet in Spectrum, particularly and said he thought their sushi to be the best.
As he’s leaving for work Sunday next week and as Saturday night is for the girlfriend, I decided to have a despedida lunch for him today – rationalizing – who me? Last Saturday when I called to reserve, the lady who took my call asked, “is there a special occasion?” I quickly said no because okay, I wasn’t sure if it was apt to think that considering that son’s departure is a week away. Upon pondering over the issue some more, I thought, okay, I’d call again to mention the special occasion. And did. So the girl said she’d have a cake prepared – what did I want written on it? I said “Bon voyage *****, Love Papa and Mama”. She repeated, “Bon voyage *****, Mama and Papa.” I let it pass. Billing problems, not.
We arrived before 12 noon and were told graciously to wait in the Raffles lobby. Spectrum is in Fairmont. There was a lobby shop that carried a lot of Filipino items including a fan that had Filipino heroes painted onto the cloth portion. Price tag: P1400. They also had cushions – the bigger ones selling for P1400. One cushion, one Filipino hero. The smaller one was selling at P800. And they had some semi-precious stone necklaces and bangles. Murano stones, the guy said. The bangle sold at P6k, the necklace at P3500. I didn’t get anything.
Soon it was 12 noon and we were let in. Spectrum is not as massive in terms of floor space as Heat, Circles, Spiral or Ilang-ilang. Or is it just me? But the food selection was interesting. Son loved the Indian section and cannot understand why not too many people share his sentiment. As I had read up on Spectrum, I looked for pate. The chef said they didn’t have pate but foie gras, no less. He explained this would be brought around among the diners in a bit. So it was and I got two. Shhh… don’t squeal. Son didn’t get any so I thought it was okay to get his share, not that anyone was counting. Another dish they brought around was duck spring roll. You should get one of this, or two or three. We were given chicken with boursin filling but I was too full to eat what I got. Will I go to Purgatory? Earlier, I asked the nice Filipino chef where I could get the lechon sushi and the Peking duck sushi, both of which I had read about as well. He said he’d make for me. OH no, I forgot to get a Peking duck wrap. Never mind. But I must say the lechon sushi was so good because the lechon skin was so crisp. Speaking of lechon, one of the lady hosts said they have a healthy bar – it had lechon sisig, lechon paksiw, and the lechon itself. Or did they have some other lechon variant I’m forgetting? Per the article I read, not to be missed was the mascarpone cheese soaked in honey with pistachio bits. And a small chocolate hat. That’s how the chocolate looked anyway. Whoops, that led to a coughing fit. The honey was too sweet. There were bees in the resto actually. I’ll see if husband will share his photo with me later. ALso brought to our table was a wooden slab with different kinds of breads atop it. There was a salad bar. There were lobsters, prawns, oysters, etc. And like son, I’d like to say Spectrum is my favorite buffet place. All the people who were serving the diners were gracious and pleasant. In fact, when the lady who brought the cake was asked if it could be packed for takeout after son blew out the candle, she asked when she came back, “Is he (son’s name)?”
I hope we will have another reason to go back to Spectrum. I found the buffet so restful rather than stressful, largely too, I think, because there’s live music by competent musicians. Soon after we came in, in fact, son waved. He knew the percussionist of the band.
And perhaps, proof that my opinion of the place is justified was the presence of the Z family. The matriarch was so gracious, moving a bit for us to pass when she saw us. Yes, we breathed the same air they did for a split second.
PS Note that the “breathe the same air” expression is something I first heard from a dad who suggested that his son join the group led by Mr. Pagsi, even if all you do is sweep the floor – so you can breathe the same air as he, the dad said. I found that suggestion so quaint and haven’t forgotten it since.