Medley at Okada Manila: A Sumptuous Symphony, in Eight Stations

This post was last updated on July 5th, 2024 at 11:39 pm

From luscious cheeses and juicy carvings of meat to succulent seafood and decadent sweetsplus everything else in betweenthis buffet is a mouthwatering gastronomic mélange

Foodies, rejoice! Okada Manila‘s newly renovated casual dining buffet restaurant, Medley, is a gastronome’s haven. I dined there some years ago, when it first opened; recently, I was so happily surprised to see how it has evolved in pleasurable, palate-pleasing ways.

As you walk through their now-iconic-on-social-media whimsical entrance, bedecked with fairy lights and charming capiz curtains, you enter into an amply-sized dining area; definitely more expansive than before. The overall ambiance is sophisticated yet inviting, with modern décor and quirky elements that create a vivacious energy throughout the space. A pleasant contemporary chic aesthetic, marked by clean lines and warm tones, accentuated with vibrant pops of color, makes you feel at ease—and ready to eat!

Having reopened, post-renovation, in November 2023, Medley embodies a gastronomic glow-up that makes dining a truly delightful affair. This elevated focus on quality and variety is likewise evident across all eight main culinary stations, promising an experience that caters to every appetite.

The bar at the main dining area is characteristic of Medley’s overall contemporary-chic vibe

“We have expanded our live stations to include more offerings from around the world; there’s really something for everyone, from all across the globe,” Sumit Lalitkumar Rajput, Director of F&B Operations at Okada Manila, pointed out. “The decision to renovate the restaurant came in response to the clamor from our clientele. Specifically, we saw the need for more private rooms, so we expanded from the previous one room to four. These rooms are in high demand, especially for special occasions,” he added.

After a quick tour of the restaurant, which certainly activated my drool reflex, we made ourselves comfortable in one of the venue’s four sizeable private dining rooms, perfect for larger groups and private celebrations. It was a cheery, sunny space with large glass panels overlooking a stretch of the resort’s arcade. With its high ceiling and natural light, the room proved cozy and comfortable; a charming setting for the intimate lunch invitation from the ever-dynamic Niza Violago-Forschler, Okada Manila’s Assistant Director for Media Relations and Partnerships.

One of Medley’s four private dining rooms

Unlimited indulgence, at its finest

Medley doesn’t just promise a meal; it delivers enhanced enjoyment at exceptional value. The live cooking stations buzz with activity as chefs prepare small batches of the dishes on showcase, ensuring freshness, flavor, and flair with every bite. The inclusion of unlimited wines, beers, sodas, juices, coffees, and teas elevates the dining experience, making it a true value-for-money proposition in Manila’s competitive culinary scene. Moreover, the service is attentive and amiable; definitely a boon to the overall dining experience.

Now, when it comes to buffets, I really am that idiomatic kid in a candy store. My eyes flit from feast to feast, laid out all across the room. Medley boasts eight main stations: the Salad Station, Noodle Station, Seafood Station, Asian Station, Western Station, a separate Japanese Station (it is a Japanese-owned resort, after all!), Dessert Station, and, what I admittedly was most excited about, the Cheese Room.

Each station features super carefully curated dishes that sumptuously span countries and cuisines; so, for instance, when you stop at the Asian Station, you’re journeying from the Philippines all the way through to India with pit stops in China, Korea, Malaysia, and more, all in one heaping helping on your plate. But please, a friendly reminder to say no to food waste and serve only what you can finish, with each toothsome trip to the stations!

A mouthwatering medley of meals

By way of a quick overview, the Salad Station is a showcase of greens and assorted vegetables, paired with an array of dressings to tempt even the most health-conscious diners. The ingredients are impeccably fresh, reflecting Medley’s commitment to quality. Don’t skip the Caesar’s Salad. I topped mine with a combo of smoked salmon, gravlax, and capers, and it was scrumptious. At the Noodle Station, steaming bowls of savory broth, with a wide selection of noodles and condiments, await you—the laksa is a winner! The Asian Station shines a spotlight on a symphony of flavors, where fragrant curries, succulent stir-fries, hearty shawarma, delicate dim sum, and so much more, invite you to delve deliciously into the diversity of Asian cuisine. Hugely popular with diners, the Seafood Station is a smorgasbord of the most pristine catches, cooked a variety of ways, to your liking. The weekend buffet, higher in cost, includes lobster. The Japanese Station, divided into the cold and hot stations, offers an amazing roster of sushi, sashimi, and maki at the former setup, and a variety of freshly cooked tempura, plus traditional miso soup, at the latter. 

For a bounty of roasted carved meats, pizzas, pastas, and, on weekends, prime rib, the Western Station is the place to go. Here, I relished the seafood paella and the bespoke pastas. Lastly, you know the drill: save room for dessert! Medley’s handcrafted chocolates and homemade ice creams are well-worth the calories. Keep an eye out for the more unexpected flavors, like their light and refreshing Yakult ice cream. The Filipino sticky rice cakes are also a satisfying must-try treat.

Every cheese lover’s nirvana

What I would really like to draw attention to, however, is the Cheese Room— because I am a full-fledged fromage fiend. Also, who doesn’t love cheese? Moreover, Medley is one of the few buffets in the country with its very own Cheese Room. Imagine stepping into a sanctuary dedicated solely to the art of cheese appreciation; a haven of havarti, a paradise of pecorino, a refuge of raclette. You get the picture.

With over 50 cheeses from around the world, focusing mainly on European variants, there’s something for every palate and preference.  While it can be a tad intimidating to navigate, especially for first-timers, fret not: the Cheese Room has its very own dedicated Cheese Ambassador, Raymond Muñoz, ready to assist both connoisseurs and curious eaters, alike. Raymond, a self-described “cheesemonger” is as knowledgeable as he is helpful—and, if I’m being honest (as well as a tad humorous), a bit of an enabler for cheese addicts! My plate was piled high with wedges, cubes, slices, and slivers (but I couldn’t have been happier about it, truth be told).

My Cheese Room must-mentions: the Mango and Ginger White Stilton Wheel (my goodness, the flavor play!), Tomme aux 7 fleurs (a beautiful French cheese, the rind of which is coated with seven types of flowers), the Pecorino Tartuffo (the sweet and nutty profiles with a base of earthy truffle flavor will have you hooked) La Leyenda Queso De Cabra Soaked In Red Wine (traditional Spanish goat cheese submerged in red wine; how can you go wrong?), and the delightful selection of Malagos cheeses from Davao (which were beautifully silky, smooth, and suave). Oh, please make sure to grab a glass (or two) of port from the Cheese Room, on your way out; you won’t find it at the main buffet. It pairs perfectly with the Blue Stilton, but also goes really well with a number of other cheeses.

Epicurean excellence, all around

Quite simply and succinctly put, Medley at Okada Manila is a revelation, with several splendid secrets all awaiting discovery. From starters to sweets, and all else in between, this buffet surpassed my expectations. With its emphasis on superior quality, thoughtful selection, and bang for buck, it really is quite an irresistible proposition; one I wouldn’t mind splurging on when the hankering for an epicurean escapade hits, once again. And yes, you can be certain things will get really cheesy, really quickly. 

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