The word Trattoria can be one tricky fellow for those whose Italian vocabulary is limited to panini and gelato. The hypotheses of the weary and trying hard can range from “traitor” to an anagram of “Tori Amos”. Either answer is obviously more misleading than the previous, which leads to consulting the handy master, Google.
Turns out, Trattoria is simply translated as “little Italian restaurant”. No need for Boggle skills, which I fail miserably at in the first place.
In Manila, there’s this Trattoria Gourmet in Shangri-La Mall, which reflects the proper translation. Only difference is that it engages more in commerce and less in village-people-get-together tavern behavior where take home is common. Sure, in the Philippines take home is just as acceptable when visiting villages, but in Trattoria Gourmet—respectable restaurant and retail business that would like to make a proper living—no take home, containers or spilling alfredo inside well hidden lunch boxes. Let us do our part in preserving cleanliness of our surroundings and not screwing with its real income return.
Trattoria Gourmet serves eat-all-you-can dishes on a daily basis, and that eat-all-you-can salad and soup combo makes a pretty good target for vegetarians, South Beachers and prim old ladies. I would have to fall under the first category.
The Sunday buffet includes that lush salad bar with 6 types of dressings (I remember herb vinaigrette, balsamic vinaigrette, garlic something, low cal italian dressing and 2 more) with quite a spread of of toppings, one visit is never enough.
The ubiquitous Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, carrot strips, mushrooms, cheese, egg, olives form the spread but there are also the strange visitors (strange since I do not make the habit of placing them on my plate): raisins, corn, green gulaman, turnips, and pineapples (which I had for dessert instead).
Ready-to-eat Potato and macaroni salad are also served for the lazy, and there is also that Penne Pesto salad which deserved a scoop every time I visited the salad bar. It was that magnificent that foregoing the actual pasta selection was of no regret to me.
The soup section offers 2 variants in steaming vessels, even soup haters would have to try at least a teaspoon of their luscious concoctions. The Creamy Asparagus seemed all right, so I moved on to the more enticing catch: Mushroom Soup!
The mushroom soup was clear-brown with grand bits of oyster mushrooms swimming at the bottom. Scoop them out and find yourself in shroom heaven. I had two bowls, enough said.
The soup actually goes well with the house appetizer, which was lovingly prepared and presented, we jsut had to finish the entire display, as courtesy to the host.
Pasta dishes available were the usual favorites for the local folks: Alfredo and Bolognese.
Having passed up the pasta and pizza buffet, it seemed that the Bolognese was the better choice. Meaty and al dente, numerous diners did return for seconds (or thirds), while the alfredo seemed to be its buttery and bland companion.
The pizza served included Margherita and Pepperoni. Rather minimalist in toppings and size, the flavor made up for this seeming deficiency. Especially when freshly baked, the pizza still brings in much love from the Italian oven compared to other local counterparts.
The Trattoria Gourmet Sunday Buffet was a grand trip to Italian gourmet excellence. There was no need for 10 more dishes or a smorgasbord of items we could not pronounce or better yet, not have the chance to eat.
Minimalism was the key in getting us to enjoy the feast, and not really waste our time wandering and walking into areas of less interest. If all buffet set-ups were this friendly and well stocked up, then everyone would be happy and sipping wine on the side. No tempura banters or fighting over fried rice.
Just wondering how they got to make their pesto that bene.
Other than that slight hitch, Non mi posso lamentare. (“I can’t complain.”)