It’s funny how the opportunity to try out Hilton Manila’s Afternoon Tea Buffet at their Madison Lounge & Bar came right around the time I was missing afternoon tea. Afternoon Tea has become one of my guilty pleasures. While I am aware it’s not something I strictly need in my life, I still find it a really really nice occasional indulgence. Feelings of being posh aside, I get a lot of excitement out of the little creative food items you usually get to try with an Afternoon Tea set.
The current theme of Hilton Manila’s Afternoon Tea Buffet is Choco Berry delights. Most of us probably know that these two things are a wonderful combination, both flavor-wise and appearance-wise.
Before I bombard you with pretty pictures of food, I wanted to show you what the Madison Lounge & Bar looks like. Located at the ground level of Hilton Manila, the Madison Lounge serves as a place to grab coffee and a selection of grab & go items in the morning. But in the evening, it transforms into a sophisticated bar that offers up innovative signature drinks, fine wines, and bar bites.
I am in love with the decor of this place! It reminds me a lot of the art deco-themed lobby at the Empire State Building. The colors and some of the detailing are similar. I later found out that the interiors were inspired by the New York City vibe. Makes sense. All I can say is Hilton Manila is so far two for two in terms of interior design for me. Both the Madison Lounge & Bar, and their Hua Yuan Brasserie Chinoise, fit in with my taste in interiors– just the right amount of flashy and classy while still maintaining a pleasant coziness.
In short, it makes you want to comfortably sit and stay a while.
The highlight of this visit is of course to check out Hilton Manila’s Afternoon Tea Buffet selection. I was quite excited about the Choco Berry theme, which will run only until the end of March. Looking through the choices, I am happy to say that aside from sweets, you have a fairly good selection of savories as well.
To tell you the truth, I really like creating sweets and the creativity of sweets. However I can’t sit and eat too many sweets at a time because I still prefer savory and spicy items. Thank goodness they have both!
All the pastries, sliders/sandwiches, and cakes in Hilton Manila’s Afternoon Tea Buffet are made in-house and made fresh. The selection understandably isn’t as big as a buffet that offers the three main daily meals, but you won’t be short of choices here. Anything that doesn’t have a price is included in the buffet, while items that do have price tags have to be paid accordingly.
Hilton Manila’s Afternoon Tea Buffet goes for Php 1250++ for two persons. Most of their communications say that’s the price for one but I’ve been told it’s for two already. Held every Saturday and Sunday from 2PM to 5PM, this buffet includes free-flowing coffee and tea, but if you choose add-on’s or drinks like champagne and/or wine, that’s the time you have to pay quite a bit more. In the UK, drinking champagne with afternoon tea is an option, but is that still called afternoon tea though?
Now that you’ve seen many of the pretty things in store for you at Hilton Manila’s Afternoon Tea Buffet, it’s time to sit with me and try some of them out! We didn’t eat a lot since we were still full from our Hua Yuan Brasserie Chinoise experience, but I did still manage to pick a good handful of things that really struck my fancy. Luckily, my brother, who I was with at the time, has a very big appetite.
As a coffee person, I am always going to order coffee if given the choice. I also like tea, mind you, but I already had some during lunch and I really wanted a cup of joe. Our server suggested the Cafe Latte while my brother ordered a cold glass of Vietnamese Coffee. And wow, the coffee was delicious! Their beans come from the same place Toby’s Estate sources theirs, and I think many avid coffee drinkers are familiar with this taste.
I drink my coffee without sweeteners 97% of the time, and the intense roasted flavor of the beans here just really shined. One of the important things in a latte is how the flavor of the coffee doesn’t get drowned out by the usually bigger amount of milk and the foam. To add to the experience, they put a small piece of chocolate chip cookie on the side. I didn’t think much of it until I actually tried the cookie, and it’s actually pretty good! Dip in in the coffee and it’s gone in a jiffy.
Moving on to the food, it probably surprises no one that I picked some of the most impressive-looking desserts on display. The panna cotta topped with chocolate-covered berries keeps catching the eye, and so does that chocolate cake with the little tempered chocolate garnish.
I didn’t take pictures of the panna cotta being
wrecked eaten because it was not very pretty, so I’ll just tell you about it. As someone who is recently hooked on making panna cotta, it was interesting for me how the gelee layer here is a lot thicker than the actual panna cotta layer. That silky cream layer does get its thunder stolen by the strawberry jelly in terms of flavor and texture. I don’t know if this is intentional, but I would’ve preferred a thinner jelly layer. The chocolate-coated strawberries were excellent though!
Even though I am not too keen on heavily-colored red velvet cakes in general, I could not resist the buffet display so I had to get one. The cake was fluffy, moist, and delicious, but I was surprised to note that it leaned a bit more toward a vanilla-buttermilk flavor rather than a chocolate taste. Most red velvet have a more apparent chocolate undertone, and that’s actually my preference.
All chocolate cravings are satisfied by that chocolate cake though. Moist, with a deep chocolate taste that’s just the right amount of sweet, this chocolate cake will definitely satisfy any chocoholic. Like me. Because the cake layers are thin and the frosting is kind of thick and”sticky”, the texture of this cake as a whole reminds me of a chocolate truffle cake.
I also decided to get these little Strawberry Tarts, but the pastry cream filling was too mild for me. It tasted milky, and that was about it. A bit more vanilla and a bit more of a custardy bite would’ve made this more interesting.
Moving on to a plate of savories for a bit, anytime I see some cheese and deli on the buffet, I always create a little cheese platter for myself. Nuts and dried fruits always get mixed in, and usually I go for a drizzle of honey but I didn’t notice any here.
I have to say, they have some good cheese and good deli, but the sandwiches were surprisingly good! I liked their mini pretzel buns that were softer than what I was expecting. The brushcetta was also well-assembled in terms of looks and flavors. I bet these would taste even better is the bread was warm, but still I found myself wishing I wasn’t so full. I would’ve gone for seconds.
But alas, I was really reaching my limit here, so for my final selection I went for what I felt was the pièce de résistance of Hilton Manila’s Afternoon Tea Buffet: the Madison Sansrival Mango Ube. Easily the most unique thing on display.
I have no idea where else you can find a similar dessert, but Madison’s version was sooo addictive! I was expecting it to be sweet, but it wasn’t too sweet despite being slathered all over with ube. I’m guessing the mango element is found in the layers of the meringue, but the dominant flavor here is ube. You have to like ube to enjoy this, I think.
The meringue layers are very stiff and a bit hard to cut through neatly without pushing all that ube filling out on the sides, but the bit of muscle and effort is totally worth this unusual little treat. I told myself I was going to have one bite, but I liked it so much I ended up eating almost half of it before my stomach gave up on me. Just so you know, my brother cleaned the plate out.
I think it’s pretty clear from this post that I enjoyed my time during Hilton Manila’s Afternoon Tea Buffet. The fact that I managed to take THIS MUCH pictures to me is a really good sign. I had such a hard time whittling my photos down lol. But photos aside, I have to say, the food was legit. I am so happy that I have at least one memorable food item in both of the restaurants I visited here in Hilton Manila.
The price of their afternoon tea is pretty average for afternoon tea actually. Although the ones I’ve gone to aren’t buffet style. It’s more the traditional afternoon tea where a pretty stand is brought to you with even prettier food inside, so in this sense, this buffet is more sulit. I would love to bring my best friend here and chat the whole afternoon away.
Hilton Manila’s Choco Berry Afternoon Tea Buffet at the Madison Lounge & Bar will run until the end of March 2020, every Saturday and Sunday at 2PM to 5PM. It’s Php 1,250++ for two persons with free-flowing tea and coffee, but you can add on other beverages and bites as you please.
Madison Lounge & Bar
Ground Level, Hilton Manila Hotel 1 Newport Blvd.,
Newport City, Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines
Hours: Sunday to Monday Lunch: 11:00 am – 2:00 pm | Dinner: 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
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Full disclosure: This lunch was hosted by Hilton Manila, but I received no compensation for writing this feature. All opinions stated above are my own.