Hi there guys! This will be the very first “The Bear Food Trip” post for 2016! Let’s start the new year with a bang through my very first food experience at the prestigious and high class commercial buffet restaurant here in the metro… NIU by Vikings!
NIU (which literally means “nine” in the Viking language) was the 6th buffet restaurant opened by the famous Vikings Group here in the Philippines since 2011. Unlike a typical Vikings Buffet Restaurant, NIU takes you to a hotel restaurant like experience once you enter its portal. Guests dining at NIU can take a pleasure of eating local and international cuisines created by globally established chefs from Michelin Star restaurants while enjoying a comforting grandeur ambiance. It offers each guest a high class and polished Vikings experience! For me, it is a fine dining Vikings experience! Let’s take a look!
A typical Vikings restaurant is proud in bringing the classy ambiance you can have once you step in their place. I could still remember the very first time I step in Vikings at SM North (my very first Vikings experience). When I stepped inside the palace of NIU at the SM Aura at Bonifacio Global City (BGC), oh boy Vikings at any other places was a thing of the past! I was in awe of the beauty and elegance of the place!
NIU takes pride in bringing the most elegant ambiance you can have! I was mesmerized in their interiors from the tables, chairs and dining ware! For me, it gives you a fine dining vibe with just the interiors! It can be compared to the interiors of buffet services at high class hotels here in the metro. When I was leaving the place, I momentarily forgot that you will go back to the mall and not to the comfort of your bed at your hotel room to rest your full tummy!
There is a grand piano in the middle of the elegant space where someone plays during the dinner service. If you have special occasions together with a big group like small family reunions, you can book their any of their three function rooms for free! The Norway and Denmark Room can accommodate up to 10-12 persons per room. You can also ask to combine both rooms to accommodate up to 24 persons maximum. The biggest room is Sweden Room where up to 50 persons can be accommodated at the same time! The elegance of the place does not stop from the dining place but also in the bathroom as well. You would not believe it is a bathroom but it is an elegant comfort room made to make your call of human nature at ease, comfort and glam!
Coming from the name itself NIU or nine, there are nine unique food adventures awaits for you. Once you step inside, the very first thing you will see is the Desserts (a typical Vikings signature placement). The other eight stations are Appetizers, Japanese, Beverage, Pan Asian, Chinese, Grill, Carving and Western. I forgot to take pictures of each section because my tummy was running wild with the food selections that my mind was not able to catch up.
I went there together with my food buddy slash college bestfriend during their weekday lunch services. They said that there are some dishes available only during dinner, weekday lunch and holiday services. It includes the unlimited Foie Gras, fish caviar and lobsters. I’ll tell you more their limited specialties later. I was not able to try all sections because I want to enjoy the food that I cannot eat usually in other places. I also save some tummy space for desserts because I really have a sweet tooth! Don’t worry I could tell you some of what I saw during my experience by looking through each section.
In the appetizers, you have a variety to choose from starting in pre-made salads or customized your own with prepared vegetables and dressings, cold cuts, finger foods, breads and spreads, biscuit and cheeses and canapes. Luckily, once we are seated, a server place a slices of bread with three different kinds of spreads – cream cheese, plain butter and I guess a foie gras spread. I also got some biscuits and cheeses as a munchies!
Japanese, Chinese and Pan Asian Stations
The Japanese sections caters to someone who likes sushi, maki rolls, sashimi, tonkatsu, tempura, cold soba noodles and a shot of sake. The Chinese section was one of the things NIU boast because it was constructed by the famous International Master Chef (IMC) Kavino of Hongkong. His expertise can be tasted with the famous Chinese dishes like Lechon Macau and Peking Duck. Lechon Macau is a limited specialty in NIU available at the said sessions earlier. The Chinese section also have hot pots, dimsums and famous Chinese meals we love. The Pan Asian station features dishes from other Asian countries like the famous Basmati Rice, Beef Rendang and Tikka Masala.
I was not able to focus here except for getting a taste of their prawn tempura and some special Chinese dishes like peking duck. I decided not to indulge here because I usually ate with these kind of dishes. I love to eat at Sambokojin for their Chinese, Japanese and Korean meals and Yabu for my deep fried Japanese meals cravings. I am not being biased here but I just follow my preferences whenever I eat a meal. I also did not get any dimsums like siomai because I was really “umay” to siomai because it is a staple college food for anyone on a tight budget and siopao because I hate siopao.
Western Cuisine Station
The Western Cuisine Station contains some western meals but not extensive compared to Chinese station. You still have the common staple of Vikings like the Pizza station and Pasta station. In these two stations, you have a choice to indulge yourself in pre-made pizza and pastas or you can also customized your own hand-tossed brick oven pizza and pasta! They also offer panizza! I was not able to try this section because I believe that if I indulge myself I cannot enjoy eating what I am craving for here in NIU. I also believe that there are far much better pizza and pasta places out there!
The beverage station was one of the things I really look forward to here in NIU! When I heard that you can enjoy unlimited glasses of their wines… I WAS RUSHING TO GET MY VERY FIRST GLASS! Before I get to my wine adventure, let’s take a look at the station itself. The beverage station is like the typical beverage station you can see in Vikings. They have the wide and impressive varieties of iced teas, sodas, juices, coffee and hot tea from Twinings. You also get the double cold draft beer from San Miguel. A very typical Vikings beverage station. What set asides NIU to the rest was you can enjoy also your bottomless wines, imported beers and cocktails (as a limited special). The best thing about this… you enjoy this bottomless dose of ethanol at NO COST! I repeat INCLUDED IN THE BUFFET FEE! Isn’t it amazing? I was able not to get the names of the wines I drink! I was quite sad that I was not able to try their cocktails so I guess I’ll go back for a dinner service just for the cocktails. I really love their iced teas and juices because I think it is made with natural ingredients (hoping big time that it is not powdered drinks).
Grill and Carving Station
The grill station features raw flesh like fish, pork, chicken, lamb and seafood which are pre-marinated and grilled once you pick them. The best thing to taste here is the buffallo wings because it is really good. The carving station is where I and my buddy really indulge ourselves because it is very rare for us to eat this kind of meals! The carving station contains the staple Roasted Lamb, Herb Spit-Roasted US Prime, Roasted Turkey and Binusog na Lechon Belly. We were able to finish around five plates of these babies! The slices were enhanced with the sauces available! I suggest that you used the liver sauce for the lechon because it is like Mang Tomas but more savory then either the two other sauces for the other three meals.
Of course, the best buffet experience for me would be the the wide array of desserts available in the dessert station! I always save a space in my tummy for my sugar addiction! I guess at any Vikings restaurant, I was very impress with their wide array of desserts available to choose from. You can enjoy your favorite Filipino kakanin and halo-halo, premium cakes and pastries and their sweet shot glasses. What set aside NIU from the rest was the elegance you can see by just looking at their dessert station. It looks like it was really made as a precious jewel ready to be eaten anytime! The biggest thumbs up here in NIU to other buffets was the gelato station (no ice cream from a bucket) and also their yummy macaroons was always available. Before I went to another sugar coma, I will let you see with your eyes what desserts I indulge during my NIU experience.
Whenever I dined in Vikings, my usual conclusion was that I would never go back here unless it will be a treat by someone. The case here in NIU was different. Once I stepped outside, it was clear in my mind that I want to come back again and again and again and so on! I was really in awe with the elegance of the place and the food was really great and delicious! I felt that I was really treated like a king! Although, the price of being a king is quite heavy in the pocket especially if it is a dinner, weekend and holiday services. I suggest that if you are celebrating with your special someone or you want something special to dine out by maximizing your wallet and tummy then go for NIU by Vikings. I’ll be back to bring my family in my very first pay roll and be back to try other things! I also heard that the menu changes depending on occasions so I guess it is worth a try!
NIU By Vikings
6F SM Aura Premier, 26th St. cor McKinley Parkway, Taguig 1630
To learn more about the reservations, rates, promos and discounts about NIU by Vikings, you may visit their website here!