Niu by Vikings: 9 Reasons Why It's Worth the Extra PhP400

Whenever an important occasion approaches, the word “Vikings” is almost always present in any conversation. The restaurant has become heavily associated with celebrations—owing mainly to its highly popular birthday promo, where in celebrants enjoy the buffet for free—that if everyone in the family insisted on celebrating there, I would be dining there twice or thrice a month. Not that I’m complaining, it’s just that my taste buds are consistently seeking for ... something new.

Hence when Vikings launched its premier branch, Niu by Vikings, in SM Aura, I had serious misgivings. Was it just an excuse to get a more posh location so they could charge more? What new stuff can Niu bring to the table? I was curious to find out, so when my officemates asked me to recommend a venue for our next team-building, I instantly pointed them to Niu’s direction.

I wouldn’t make you wait any longer and announce at this point that dining at Niu is worth the extra PhP400 you would shell out compared with eating at any of the ordinary Vikings branches. Everything from the ambience to the service to the food selections was just a lot better—in fact, I think the whole experience was worth more than what you pay for. I’m sure you’re thirsty—or hungry!—for more details, so here you go—9 reasons why Niu by Vikings will take you to cloud nine:


1. Elegant, hotel-like ambience

From the set-up to the music to the choices of decors and fixtures, everything at Niu by Vikings is designed to make you feel like you were dining in a classy hotel restaurant—instead of inside a mall. Chandeliers of diverse designs adorn the ceilings; plush lounges and booths populate the vast dining space; and private function rooms are situated in strategic, inconspicuous locations around the restaurant.

The buffet stations are organized and spacious, providing ease while you contemplate on which dishes to get. At the center of the dining room is a grand piano, where a man plays classic songs and ballads.

However, one thing I did have a slight issue with is that the buffet stations are all lined up in one side—so if, let’s say, you want to go from dessert (nearest the entrance) to Italian section (farthest), you would have to walk the entire length of the restaurant.



2. Impeccable service

Not once during my visit did I experience raising my hand and finding myself ignored—which, unfortunately, frequently happens in other Vikings branches (hi, SM North EDSA!). There are plenty of servers around who are attentive towards diners’ needs—and who politely talk to guests as well. Even the buffet stations are fully equipped with an abundance of chefs and line cooks, ready to hear your requests.

Tip: for you to spare yourselves of any kind of hassle, make sure you book a table beforehand. Otherwise you might need to talk to any of the receptionists and queue up outside while waiting for a table.


3. Extensive and exquisite food selections

Indeed, you can still find the “signature” Vikings items like sushi, Mediterranean salads, dim sum, and Chinese roasts but I noticed a lot of dishes which are offered only at Niu as well. Jamon serrano, for instance, is available here as well as other cold cuts like mortadella and prosciutto. There were some turkey potato balls I haven’t seen anywhere else; beef medallions and more types of fish are available in the grilling section and gelato replaces Vikings’ ordinary ice cream.

Italian section
Left: Chicken Tikka Masala; right: Lamb Kofta
The Italian section features make-your-own pasta (truffle!) and pizza, and there’s a modest selection of Spanish, French, and Indian dishes—as well as the usual Japanese yakitori and Chinese shabu-shabu.

Italian/Spanish Section
Japanese Yakitori
Chinese Hotpot Section
Most importantly (for me at least), the carving section of Niu offers the biggest variety among all Vikings establishments! More of this one below.

(Tiny request: let me know if the items I mentioned are actually available in other branches—perhaps in SM Megamall, which I haven’t visited? I would appreciate your help in keeping this article accurate. Thank you!)


4. Impressive carving section

Vikings dumps all of their signature roasts and steaks into this branch, so expect a wide, mouthwatering selection that is guaranteed to make you confused with which ones to choose, full with all the hefty servings, and satisfied with the flavors. Whether it’s the Herb Spit-Roasted US Prime, New Zealand Garlic-and-Rosemary-Stuffed Leg of Lamb, Beef Ribs, or Niu Belly-chon you’re craving for, the carving station has something for you.

There’s also a Roasted Turkey in the spread, as well as a delicious Salmon Coulibiac—what seemed like a fish version of a Beef Wellington. Get spoiled with the lineup of sauces and make sure to stuff your plate with tons of mint jelly and wild mushroom gravy—or any sauce you fancy, for that matter.


5. Superb cold cuts, breads, and salads

Jamon serrano, mortadella, prosciutto, salami, and chorizo doll up the cold cuts station, alongside a selection of cheeses, Thai and Mediterranean salads, canap├ęs, and freshly made breads. The buns are pillowy, addicting and delicious! I didn’t want to fill myself up with bread but I just couldn’t resist them.


6. By-request plated dishes

Some items in the spread will surprise you when they arrive at your table. For instance, this Dragon Roll came to me plated beautifully with some wasabi aioli, Japanese mayo, apple slaw, caviar, and what seemed like fish chicharon.

Left: Dragon Roll with Wasabi Aioli; right: Bacon-Wrapped Medallion
Another curious dish was the Bacon-Wrapped Medallion: Gorgonzola-stuffed beef medallion wrapped with bacon then served with carrots, zucchini, and hollandaise sauce. I think I had three of these. LOL!

For by-request dishes—and other food from the grilling station—just choose the meats and items you want, hand them to the line cook/chef, give them your table number, and wait for your food to be delivered. The same applies to make-your-own pasta, pizza, and shabu-shabu.


7. Unlimited wine, sake, and cocktails

Apart from the already-extensive beverage choices—which includes unlimited draft beer—Niu by Vikings sets the drinking experience a notch higher by offering unlimited wine, sake, and cocktails to its diners.

I’m not a wine connoisseur, but I do appreciate the fact that Niu by Vikings serves decent Australian and Chilean wines—not just sweet, fruity local brands. I had multiple refills of a Chilean cabernet sauvignon, the name of which I forgot. The awesome thing is that servers bearing wine trolleys walk around the restaurant, and you don’t have to get your glass refilled in the beverage station.

As for the cocktails, Niu offers 3 signature mixes: Margarita, Cuba Libre, and Niu Sour. I don’t know if the drink selections rotate or something, since I saw Cloud Nine and Mojito in other blogs—but you can request for specific mixes anyway, so it’s not really a problem. I had a Niu Sour minus the pineapple juice to make it something like a whisky sour, but I had a feeling that the liquor used wasn’t from the display of imported brands—it tasted like a cheap local whisky to me, maybe even white rum. In any case, I understand the fact that they would go out of business if they offer unlimited imported liquor (especially to alcoholics like me hahahaha) but it’s just that the display is misleading. I recommend sticking to the wines.


8. Gelato!!!

As if their homemade ice cream isn’t yummy enough, Vikings decided to impress us even more by offering gelato. I loved the chocolate, vanilla, green tea, and coffee flavors. This is a feature exclusive to Niu so make sure you make room for this! Skip the cakes, tarts, and crepes (unless you’re a total glutton like me) and stuff yourself mad with gelato.


9. Talented pianist

Ambient music is rarely considered by most restaurants nowadays—tugsh tugsh music in more-than-casual places, even noisy novelty songs in some—so I loved it that Niu by Vikings made an effort to make sure the music matches the overall ambience. An incredibly talented pianist regales diners during dinner; he plays music that is hypnotizing, captivating and relaxing, music that gets you in the mood not just to enjoy your food but enjoy your company as well. He plays so beautifully that everyone was tipping him. Plus points: I could’ve sworn I even heard a few Rumba tunes in there.


There you go! The list of reasons why you should try Niu by Vikings. If the above things don’t convince you, maybe these extra photos would:






~*~
Niu by Vikings
Skypark, SM Aura Premier, 26th St. cor. McKinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
+632.478.3888/+632.847.3888/+63917.586.6888/+63919.999.6888
11:30 AM – 2:30PM; 5:30PM – 10:00PM

Rates:

Kids below 3 feet: FREE

Weekday Lunch
Kids 3ft - 4ft: PhP288
Kids 4ft - 4.5ft: PhP488
Adults: PhP1,088

Weekday Dinner, Weekends and Holidays
Kids 3ft - 4ft: PhP388
Kids 4ft - 4.5ft || PhP688
Adults: PhP1,388

Service charge: 5%

Have you tried Niu by Vikings? What do you think? Is it worth paying extra? How does it fare compare with other buffet restaurants?

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