***I wouldn’t exactly call this a review since it is actually a soft opening, or a dry run. Let’s call it uhmm.. observations! I just really wanted to see the new place and tell you all about it!
UPDATE: Please read our latest review of the Hyatt City of Dreams Lunch Buffet!
Last Sunday, December 14, 2014, City of Dreams finally, finally opened! I had been waiting for them to open since, well, since I heard about them early this year. There had been so many rumors about when it was opening – at first, we expected it to open by June, then by October. Then, before Christmas.
I was half expecting it to drag on until next year. Then, suddenly! Yes, suddenly – I received texts from City of Dreams informing me that they are opening for a “Sneak Preview” – in layman’s terms – it’s a soft opening.
J did not take too much convincing to go 🙂 I still hadn’t had dinner that night and expected to have dinner at City of Dreams – something, anything. I was sure there would be food available.
City of Dreams Manila
City of Dreams Manila was very well lit. It’s pretty, especially at night! Having just been to Macau, I could imagine this area could very well look like Macau in a few years. Solaire is just around the corner, and Resorts World is building another complex in the vicinity.
For the first day of its soft opening, it was a hit! There were so many people. I didn’t really study the layout too much, but I surmise that they actually dedicated one building just for parking. And the other building is for the casino and the shops.
Parking is available, and at the moment, free. But it took a while for us to find a parking slot – there were that many cars, and there were bottlenecks in the flow of parking traffic. I hope they’ll address this and it will be better during their real opening 🙂
There were only a few places outside of the main casino area that are open – most are still Opening Soon.
One thing I hope they can address, although I don’t know how without a bit of reconstruction – are that the public ladies’ rooms are too small. The one near the Godiva store only had 2 cubicles! For a public area that I assume would have a lot of people visiting, I expected at least 5 cubicles, 10 would be better. The lines were always at least 3-5 people deep. Also, there was no hook to hang my bag, but there was a place you could lay down a small bag. Too bad if you have a big bag 🙁
Here is their Siren’s Waterfall:
But that aside, the place is nice. Swanky. When we got to the casino area, boy, was I glad that I already got my City of Dreams Manila membership card! The lines for membership application were looooooooong. As in. I think it would take at least 2 hours or more to finish. Sorry, no pics of the casino. Not sure if we were allowed to take pictures in the casino area. Did not want to risk getting hauled off by security to the back of the casino! We found a nice restaurant that was inside the casino area – the Cafe at Hyatt.
Although I was hungry, we thought we’d play a bit before having dinner. I had my heart set on the Hyatt Cafe’s buffet. It was priced at P1,888 that night, and the food looked good. There was a Japanese station, a Chinese station, an Italian station, and a dessert station. Not as big as the other hotel buffets, but it seemed that they had a better quality and selection of food. Haha, of course I took a tour before deciding to eat there. The staff were friendly and attentive. It was already close to 9pm but we thought we’d take a chance and play a bit to earn our “food money”.
We were not so lucky at City of Dreams! At this point, we were just balik-taya, or just breaking even. When we pressed the button on our machine to have the money voucher printed, oh noes!, we encountered a technical problem. The paper came out but it was blank. In case you haven’t been in a casino in a while – everything’s electronic now. You don’t collect your money from the machine in tokens anymore. The machine prints out a note, you take it to the Cashier and encash it.
The casino staff quickly came and tried to figure out what the problem was. They were going to give our money back to us. Everything was recorded and they had their logs as proof. There was no issue. The thing was, it took about an hour for them to give us our money. We didn’t take it against them because this was a soft opening, after all. Glitches like these are expected, and the staff are still learning the ropes.
But while we were playing, it was so hard to get a hold of the waitresses to ask for drinks. If you play, you can ask for coffee, juice, tea, etc… It was 10:30pm and I was getting cranky from lack of sugar 🙁 still no drinks. The free water tided me over.
Free bottled water! I think the shape is really cute! They are actually triangular.
No More Buffet for You!
I went back to the Hyatt Cafe to reserve a table for us so we could finally have the buffet! Haha. I was so looking forward to it! But then they told me the buffet was closing at 11pm! What?! What! Nooooooooooo! I thought the buffet was a 24-hour thing, lolz. It’s funny now in hindsight but I was already mentally challenged from lack of sugar and inhaled second-hand smoke that time.
They had a midnight buffet, they said. It’s only P588! Oh, goodie! Same food? Errr…. no.
The midnight buffet starts at 11:30pm and serves Asian food, noodles and dimsum. Okay. Didn’t sound particularly exciting 🙁
J and I decided to try our luck and check the other restaurants in City of Dreams. But after checking the other places, we decided to just go back and try the midnight buffet. Who knows, it could be good.
The Cafe at Hyatt Midnight Buffet
We waited until 11:30pm. The waiter said he would let us know when the buffet was ready. The minutes ticked by so slowly. I kept looking back at the buffet station to check if it was ready. J was laughing at me and telling me that staring at it won’t make it go any faster. They announced that the buffet was delayed and would open by 12 midnight. They apologized for the delay and I understand. Soft opening kinks.
And then, with 10 minutes left til midnight, people just started attacking the buffet! I didn’t hear any announcement and I was standing right in front of it. Some people just started getting the food that was already partially laid out. Of course I promptly fell in line right behind them. I guess the buffet is open!
It was actually quite funny. It was like people just fell onto the buffet. And poof! Food was gone and needed to be replenished. Haha. I thought I was the only person who was famished. Apparently, there were also several hordes of very, very hungry casino players. It was like a zombie apocalypse on a buffet. I’m exaggerating. People were civil. But otherwise, it really did seem like a zombie apocalypse. Hahaha!
I’m guessing these were the people who waited in line for hours and had skipped dinner.
Onto the food.
This is the only station serving the Midnight Buffet:
The Midnight Buffet served quick Asian food, noodles and dimsum. That night, they had plain rice, Chinese fried rice, green curry chicken, sweet and sour pork, chicken with cashew, shrimp with asparagus, noodles. I might have missed another dish.
For the noodles, you get to pick your own “toppings” like sliced beef, mushrooms, chicken, squid ball, etc.., then you give your bowl to the chef to heat it in the hot water. After your noodles are heated, you get a choice of beef or chicken broth, then you can top them with fried garlic, fried shallots and other condiments.
For dimsum – they had hakaw, pork siomai and some siopao.
The hakaw and the pork siomai were good. By good, I mean, it passes my standards. Good hotel quality level or excellent Chinese restaurant level.
- Hakaw – taste: good. Hakaw wrapper: excellent! Soft and resilient, just the right thickness.
- Pork Siomai – taste: good; really meaty. I only ate one because one was enough for me. It was too much, too filling for me. But I think people who like good siomai will like it. Did I mention it’s really meaty?
I liked the Sweet & Sour Pork and went back for it. The orange-colored noodles were also good, so was the Chicken in Cashew. I found the kaffir leaf flavor too strong for the green curry, maybe next time just add half a leaf? but otherwise it was okay.
The noodles were kind of soggy though 🙁 Both J’s and my noodles were soggy despite choosing different kinds of noodles. Don’t know if it was cooked too long or if we let it sit too long while we were eating other food. But noodles normally don’t go soggy that fast. The beef broth also needed a bit more flavor. Not sure if this is intentional so you can add condiments like soy sauce, sambal, hot sauce, etc…
For dessert, buchi was available. The buchi was actually quite good. We went back for seconds and thirds! It’s freshly fried. It wasn’t greasy. The sesame provided a good crunch, while the buchi is soft and chewy but not too sticky. The filling is linyong. It’s the brown stuff.
The food was generally pretty good. If you happen to be craving for food in the wee hours of the morning, and you are really hungry, this is a good place to go. The food is simple but hearty and familiar. The food is also cooked fresh. You can see them cooking on their woks. They only cook one clay pot’s worth of food at a time, so you get your food piping hot, just off the wok!
UPDATE: Please read our latest review of the Hyatt City of Dreams Lunch Buffet to get the updated prices!
Here is the pricing for the Hyatt Cafe buffets:
Breakfast – 6:30am – 10:30am – P1,088
Lunch Weekday – 11:30am – 2:30pm – P1,188
Lunch Weekend – 11:30am – 3:00pm – P1,288
Dinner Weekday – 5:30pm – 11:00pm – P1,688
Dinner Weekend 5:30pm – 11:00pm – P1,888
Overnight – 11:30pm – 4:30am – P588 (the paper says 4:30pm but I’m thinking that’s a typo)
The paper I was given says the price is NET.
The Cafe at Hyatt:
Tel: 800-8080 ext 1149
I’d love to come back and check them out again once they’ve ironed out all the kinks and everything’s open. All in all, it was good for a soft opening. We had a fun time in spite of everything, even if we were a net negative in our gambling.
Note: I don’t advocate compulsive gambling. Just play within your means, for fun, and don’t get addicted. Set a limit and don’t exceed it. Bring a sensible buddy along to make sure you stick to your plan and knock some sense into you when you need it!
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The Barat Queen
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