New Restaurant Alert: Four Seasons Hotpot City at MOA Complex, Pasay
It's a buffet of balls, noodles, stews, and more.
Four Seasons Hotpot City
Building E, SM By The Bay, Seaside Boulevard, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City
Contact: 831-7777, 0998-988-1888, 0917-539-1888
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) The wisest tip for conquering any buffet is to come in hungry. A smart kind of hungry where you don't feel so empty you'll snatch up the first things in sight and be quickly overloaded without really tasting anything. You take it in, like a classy tita scrutinizing and carefully picking. That's how you get most out of any good smorgasbord.
Four Seasons can seat more than 300 people.
The non hot-pot section
This advice is truer at Four Seasons Hotpot City at the Mall of Asia Complex. The bait is, obviously, hot pot: a buffet of balls, noodles, and other add-ons, and a selection of broths and sauces that you can mix and match. As the latest from the group behind Vikings and Niu, Four Seasons is far from what you'd expect of this Chinese culinary tradition. It's big and bright, red and gold minimal; and styled rather like a high-end market with the "produce" very openly displayed. It's as if the modern setting seeks to embrace a wider customer base.
Only half the display case for dessert
Universally loved things
It's all about the stews, but Four Seasons pushes for a more diverse following. Mingling with hot pot necessities are staples like sushi and sashimi, a variety of rice and viands (many Asian-inspired), and a thrilling dessert station with counters of tiny colorful cakes, little tarts, chocolate fountains, a fro-yo and halo-halo mini buffet, and even souffles.
Tofu and fish cakes
Our colorful masterpiece
These noodles are the highlight.
But it's the balls that leave an impression. They're all made in-house, and you can watch the chefs roll out wrappers and stuff them with the most savory goodies. The restaurant boasts an incredible assortment: red ones filled with slightly spicy kimchi-infused beef; orange ones loaded with aromatic curry; green ones called Beijing Dumplings packed with meat and vegetables; as well as your everyday beef and pork siomai. Dim sum fans will find thrill in the plates of sharksfin dumplings, yellow Hong Kong-style potstickers, shrimp wontons, squid paste, and cuttlefish balls.
The cheese balls are a bestseller—the kind where you have to anticipate for the server to bring out a fresh plate on the rack, otherwise you'll never see it (you won't be the only one). But in such cases, the lobster balls aren't a bad consolation. They're dense little globes that are just as heavy on the flavor. It's easy to go nuts on the hot pot toppings, but take it a piece at a time. They're not exactly light on the stomach.
Our favorite innards
Fresh greens and raw meat areas help bolster your hot pot. The brightly lit platters of betamax, isaw, and gizzard sound delightful stewing in broth, but we can't help wishing the tables come with a grill, too. A premium section, which comes with a bigger price tag, is also currently in the works.
Four Seasons goes beyond the classical definition of hot pot. Items like kelp crosses over to Japan's shabu-shabu, while dipping sauces is very characteristically Thai. A roving server pushes a cart with the broths, more evidence of other Asian influences. They come in the usual chicken and beef, but also in satay and sinigang. They're seasoned conservatively, relying on your add-ons for flavor. Plunk in some of the squid-ink noodles, the balls of your choice, and marvel at your own unique stew.
Four Seasons looks like a novel alternative to your usual heavyset buffets, but watch out. You'll be grabbing a lot of those balls.
Four Seasons is priced at P588 (weekday lunch) and P788 (dinner, weekends, holidays); the price for children three feet or below ranges from P188 to P388.