Located on the 6th (rooftop) floor of SM Aura in Taguig, Niu is the slightly more upscale/classier version of Vikings, the popular buffet chain in the Philippines. I’ve read alot of good things about the place on blogs and review websites like Zomato and Tripadvisor, and since birthday babies get a free meal, we thought of celebrating N’s 31st birthday there. We arrived around 6.15pm according to the booking, and were ushered in straightaway, skipping the long queue.
The hall was long and spacious. I’m guessing at least 200 covers! Decor was classy and elegant, with grey chairs and tables with marble tops. A pianist played Christmas tunes, filling the air with a warm and cheerful ambience.
The buffet spread was really long! Stretching from one end of the restaurant to the other, it was divided according to stations that served Japanese, local, Western, Italian fare and more. At the ‘live’ cooking station, diners could watch their meal being prepared right before their eyes.
Noodle station where you can customise your bowl of noodles with various ingredients, different types of noodles, soup paste and sauces.
Roasting station with a selection of meats like duck, chicken and pork.
Seafood tossed in dressings.
Live grill station.
The popular roast station with gigantic slabs of beef and lamb.
After reading the reviews (N himself has been here before and said the food was good), we were both disappointed with how mediocre the quality was. Despite the huge selection , everything we tried was really meh. The beef and lamb from the carvery was dry and overcooked, with none of that lovely pink juiciness on the inside. I didn’t take pictures of the rest of the food I ate, but most of it was an equal let-down. The Chinese dimsum station lacked luster and fried items were overly greasy. Sushi was okay but I’ve had better at buffets. The only thing I really liked was the cheese and cold cuts station which had a decent choice of cheeses. I mean, if you mess cheese up then you’re really fked, amirite ?
The wine station. Am not a big fan of wine, but N is and he was disappointed with the variety as well.
We were done with savouries, so moving on to the desserts. The desserts helped redeem the experience by a teeeeensy bit.
Chocolate fondue station helped redeem some brownie points.
Ended the meal on a cold sweet note with ice-cream. These were nice, creamy and well balanced.
I’m really not sure if we just came at a bad time, or if this is how the much-hyped about food at Niu is supposed to be. Wasn’t impressed. For its price @ PHP1500++, I was expecting better. This pales in comparison to the value-for-money and tastiness I got at Dad’s @ SM Megamall, which is a fraction of the price.
Will I be coming back? Nah. But then again, taste buds always differ and many people (and locals – it might just be my Malaysian tastebuds) have vouched for the experience + food, so maybe you will have a better dining experience.
NIU BY VIKINGS