IT IS no mystery why the buchi is on the top of the must-order list whenever I find myself dining in Lotus Court of the Marco Polo Hotel. It's so luscious that it comes before and after my meal, it's the appetizer and the dessert, and the contents of my little brown bag. My love for this sweet, freshly made, sesame seeds coated balls has been professed countless times that even Arvin, the restaurant manager, would ask, "Would you like your buchi served before your order?" as he ushers me to a seat. Sweet.

Buchi's hotel has been pretty busy of late. Years after the opening, Marco Polo is finally getting its interiors a (long overdue) facelift. Lotus Court was the first to undergo a transformation, from traditional to chic Chinoiserie that it made dining on buchi more stylish than ever.

With expansion options incorporated in the Chinese restaurant's new design, the dining area can be transformed according to need. A design that proved efficient when Lotus Court welcomed the guests of Caf‚ Marco, the next outlet that went into a cocoon phase. The rustic mode of the caf‚ will soon sport a contemporary look. That's something to look forward to.

But before Caf‚ Marco drew its curtain down, it threw a big bash for all of their friends and (food) lovers showcasing the restaurant's bestsellers. It felt like the Chef cooked the kitchen's entire inventory for this event, a gastronomic feast that everyone enjoyed after GM Nigel Fisher and his crew executed the ceremonial demolition.

Buchi doesn't mind the company of the Caf‚ Marco patrons. In fact, the Lotus Court will be expecting a surge of guests with their current promotion featuring the chefs of Mabuhay Palace, the renowned Cantonese restaurant of the Manila Hotel. I, along with my peers in the industry, got to sample original fusion dishes, Chef Wenceslao Gacutan and Executive Chinese Sous Chef Josephine Yu Tanganco-Candelaria's take on oriental cuisine that made their restaurant a preferred dining destination.

And then came the surprise.

Finally, buchi found good company in Chef Josephine's innovative dessert, the Salted Egg Ice Cream. The line "sweet dreams are made of these" holds particularly true in the creation of this creamy concoction that won the palates and hearts of Manila's gourmets.

"This dessert came to me in a dream," Chef Josephine says of her opus, a heavenly ice cream with the right tinge of sweetness combined perfectly with crunchy black sesame seeds and brackish homemade salted eggs.

Indeed, having the ice cream is a dream. A dream come true for my sweet tooth and for buchi, for finding a refreshing pair in Lotus Court. I am wishing, against all odds, that the Salted Egg Ice Cream will end up in the resto's menu. If not granted, then I have to enjoy it as much as I can until mid-May. After which, I have to fly to Manila, then head to Manila Hotel to satisfy my craving...with buchi with me.

Mabuhay Palace at the Lotus Court will run until May 15.