That the buffet spread at The Café had eclipsed momentarily the buffet offerings at Asia is quite obvious. The Ritz-Carlton, Jakarta’s Asia has dropped to second position vis-à-vis Hotel Mulia’s The Café on my buffet list. There are quite a lot of reasons for the movement. First, the stations at The Café are numerous and teeming with dishes. Indian cuisine lovers will love the freshly made naan and prata, chicken martabak cut up neatly in thick rectangular shape, chicken tandoori and the aromatic saffron rice. But I missed out on the spinach dish, which was served during the lunch buffet. In the same vein, the dim sum station is packed with siomay, hakaw, steamed buns etc. The grill offers salmon, beef, chicken, and fish while the pasta station offers spaghetti, fusilli and linguini.
Second, there is paella, brimming with mussels, clams, fish and shrimps at the International station that also features – at that time I had dinner – baked pasta, broccoli au gratin among many dishes. It’s so flavourful that I never fail to troop down to the station, which is at the far end of the restaurant, even for a small serving of paella. Third, the roasted duck, without fail, at The Café is succulent and the serving is quite hefty. Drizzled with plum sauce, it’s a juicy and appetizing bite one after the other. But Asia does top the noodle station and I quite like the Hong Kong noodle soup with mushroom that I always have. However, having said that, the la mian at The Café isn’t without its merits. It’s flavourful and freshly made, and it never fails to amuse me how the chef pulls the dough into a long thick strip then slaps it down hard on the table only to pull it hard again into almost angel hair pasta-size in one quick movement. He then drops the strips into the nearby vat of boiling soup.
The clincher for The Café topping the battle of the buffets is the dessert. While both have at least half a room to display their delectable desserts, The Café edges out Asia in terms of freshness and variety. The desserts at The Café are kept in glass displays, preserving their freshness. You simply have to ask the chefs behind the counter for your selected sweet coup de grace. From crème brûlée to chocolate cheese cake in a glass, dessert lovers will find themselves floating to seventh heaven. I always fly off with a glass of tiramisu. This time round I flew off with a wine glass of tiramisu and a portion of their red velvet cake.
Jl. Asia Afrika, Senayan
Jakarta 10270, Indonesia
Tel: (62-21) 5747777 ext. 4088/4188/4288