Sunday Brunch at the Food Exchange - Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Food Exchange is Novotel's all-day dining restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets, as well as an a la carte menu consisting of international cuisines. Set up in stations and manned by chefs of different nationalities and expertise, this dining outlet replicates a food market and encourages interaction with its guests.

During our stay at Novotel Manila Araneta Center, we got to try Food Exchange’s Sunday Brunch buffet. At PhP1,588++, the special spread features the restaurant’s signature dishes, with an extended carving station, unlimited Bacardi-based cocktails, free-flow sparkling wine, and a children’s play area equipped with toys and staffed by clowns—the perfect spot for couples to leave their kids while enjoying their lunch.


We had breakfast at the Food Exchange on the same day, but we were glad to see that the dishes served for Sunday Brunch are different—except for the selection of cold cuts and cheeses, Indian salads, Arab dishes like hummus and baba ganoush, pizzas, and of course, the beverage choices. The viand selections are unlike anything you can find in the breakfast buffet; even the dessert spread offers different items, not recycled from this morning.

Before we dive into the food, let me just gush about Food Exchange’s interiors. Vibrantly and efficiently designed, each corner boasts of colorful installations, which—albeit different from the next area—manage to remain cohesive. I especially loved the area with the blue chairs and psychedelic wall.

OK, let’s go to the food. Food Exchange’s salad station offers fresh creations made with ingredients from Novotel’s own organic farm. I loved the mozzarella and tomato salad with pesto; macaroni with generous slivers of bacon; and Indian salad with watermelon, pineapple, and feta cheese. Pair some with Food Exchange’s freshly-baked breads and crackers, cheeses, and cold cuts like coppa, Black Forest ham, and parma ham.

The Chinese station has mouthwatering selections like asado, steamed fish, and lechon Macau. Nearby is a shabu-shabu/noodle station where you can choose your own toppings, noodles, broth, and sauces. The Japanese section boasts of sushi and rolls made right in front of you, as well as sashimi, cold soba, and Japanese salads.

One of the most crowded parts of the restaurant is the Seafood station where crabs, mussels, oysters, and shrimps entice diners alongside trays of marlin and bangus—all beautifully presented. A few steps away is the Carving station—here, roast chicken and roast beef take the spotlight. A special dish, the Paella Negra, is served every Sunday Brunch.

Italian cuisine is not forgotten, of course, as diners can partake of pizzas cooked in their brick oven. There’s also a make-your-own pasta section, but I recommend trying their Fettuccine Quattro Formaggi.

The entrée spread consists of Western, Mediterranean, and Asian dishes, but aside the usual food you eat, you should also try their Indian dishes. Food Exchange’s executive chef, Chef Rajan, hails from Chennai and makes delicious Indian plates—slightly toned down and less spicy than I would’ve preferred, but still reminiscent of my two-week stay in Kerala years ago. Try the biryani, tandoori, tikka, butter chicken, and the curries.

For dessert, Food Exchange serves all kinds of sweets imaginable from churros and crepes to halo-halo and homemade ice cream. There’s a small selection of mini-cakes too—I highly recommend the hazelnut opera and the black forest cakes. Cookies and pastries are also available, as well as a chocolate fountain that kids would surely love.

Free-flow sparkling wine and Bacardi-based cocktails are available for Sunday Brunch, and whether you like drinking before your meal (to whet up your appetite) or right after, you will certainly enjoy unlimited servings of Asti Martini and mojitos. Ask if they can whip you up a rum cola, but I think you will be happy enough with their mojito, especially the one with watermelon!

Considering the selections at Food Exchange’s Sunday Brunch, I really think that this offering is a really good deal and a must-try for all families who are looking for a place to try on their weekend get-togethers. The dishes are well-thought-of, and I’m looking forward to returning and maybe seeing more items (rib eye perhaps? French macarons?) that would transform the restaurant from an awesome choice to the top choice among hotel buffets with this price range. Plus points for the kid’s play area, reflecting Novotel’s value for family time. And as for my alcoholic self, even more points for the unlimited drinks!

Food Exchange
G/F Novotel Manila, Gen. Aguinaldo Avenue, Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City

Buffet Rates:

Weekdays - PhP888 (breakfast); PhP1,288 (lunch); PhP1,388 (dinner)
Fridays & Saturdays - PhP888 (breakfast); PhP1,388 (lunch); PhP1,588 (dinner)
Sundays & holidays - PhP888 (breakfast); PhP1,588 (lunch); PhP1,388 (dinner)

Children below 12 y/o - FREE
Children aged 13 - 17 - 50% off

Have you tried Food Exchange's Sunday Brunch? What do you think?

My meal was sponsored by Novotel Manila Araneta Center. All opinions, however, are my own.

If you like my posts and would love regular updates on travel photos, food finds, restaurant reviews, dance articles, and drunken tales, follow Pepe Samson on Facebook!

pepe samson

About Pepe Samson

This is a short description in the author block about the author. You edit it by entering text in the "Biographical Info" field in the user admin panel.
    Disqus Comment
    Facebook Comment


Post a Comment

Let me know what you think!