Best of Kadayawan feast at Park Inn-A A +A
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
MAKE no mistake about it: Dabawenyos are food lovers. In fact, if eating was a past time or a hobby, it would certainly be on top of the Davao people's list.
Want proof? Go around any of the city's numerous malls and food strips you'll see people from all walks of life congregating en masse in stand-up food counters, fast food chains, diners and specialty restaurants.
In fact, in choosing between an A-list Hollywood movie and a good meal, the latter would certainly win hands down among this city's food crazy populace.
So when I got an invitation from our good friend Meghann Sta. Ines to try out Park Inn by Radisson Davao's Kadayawan Festival lunch buffet, my answer was an absolute yes. My diet regimen definitely had to take a backseat.
And what better way to cap the Kadayawan Festivities than feasting a rich cuisine of the Davao Region?
According to Meghan, who served as our gracious host, the hotel only serves buffet on special occasions such as Chinese New Year, Valentines, Easter Sunday, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, and of course, Kadayawan.
This is the reason, Meghan explains, why Restaurant, Bar and Grill (RBG) of the hotel takes every effort to make sure that its buffet offerings are extra special. She quickly adds that RBG simply wants its clientele to have a memorable gastronomic experience.
And RBG certainly did not disappoint food aficionados, as its buffet featured popular recipes from across the region such as Native Tinolang Manok and Bulalo, Chicken Inasal, Lengua, Pinakbet, and Binagoongang Baboy.
Of course, no Kadayawan buffet would be complete without the crowd favorite Sinuglaw, a fish-pork-salad mix that has put Davao on the nation's culinary map.
RBG's salad bar was also a best-seller among the noontime crowd, as it included the freshest and crispiest veggies and fruits picked from Davao's highland farms. The buffet also offered generous slices of RBG's signature Mangosteen and Durian Cheesecakes, alongside other all-time favorite native sweets and delicacies.
The buffet's highlight was a carving station filled with a delicious spread of grilled seafood. I observed that this was among the busiest sections of the buffet which merited multiple visits from customers.
Chef de Partie, Kristina "Teng" Collantes, the brains behind RBG's dynamic kitchen, shared that she gets her inspiration from Davao's rich native cuisine and abundant agriculture and marine produce.
"Davao is the most dynamic in terms of local produce. This region has so much to offer --- from fresh ocean bounty, fruits, and vegetables. And there is no better time than the Kadayawan Festival for us to showcase the best Davao has to offer."
Aside from its regular menu, RBG also has its signature dishes which are infused with local ingredients. These include Seafood Sinigang sa Mangosteen, Pasta de Davao (Linguini with bihod, bagaybay, tuna and imbao), Malagos Ricotta Meatballs, and Mangosteen and Durian cheesecakes.
But what made RBG's Kadayawan buffet lunch more impressive was its crew of waiters and kitchen staff who were always on hand to attend to the guest's every need. The platters and trays were re-filled non-stop, as RBG restaurant manager hopped from table to table to make sure that everybody was happy and satisfied.
A few table's away, I overheard a foreign national commenting on the RBG's superb menu and service, which elicited nods from his Filipino companions. My husband ordered a Cappuccino and he was delighted when his steaming brew arrived in about 15 minutes.
Great food and excellent service. These will definitely ensure RBG a loyal and satisfied clientele.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 27, 2014.