May 31, 2014

Movie Stars Cafe: Let Them Entertain You

When I pick a place to satisfy my appetite, a buffet is usually the last thing on my mind.
But if I’m with friends or family, I prefer a place where there’s plenty of time to enjoy each other’s company with plenty of food to pass around, all while having good clean fun.

Movie Stars Café has easily fulfilled those criteria.

Princess Cow and I first saw this restaurant at the Mall of Asia Bay Boulevard a few months ago. The giant gorilla head protruding from the wall is more than enough to get our attention. The place was packed, mostly with kids. What caught my eye though is that there were a lot of cosplayers inside, giving me the impression that perhaps there was an event at that time. It took a second look for me to realize that it was in fact a restaurant with cosplayers as their actual performers, putting a show for the crowd.

I promised myself I’d go there someday.

Fate pulled a couple of strings and got us an invitation to dine there.

Movie Stars Café is a movie geek’s heaven – a buffet restaurant that showcases movie memorabilia, life-sized action figures, and autographed photos of Hollywood actors.
Aside from King Kong’s humongous head and arms ready to pounce on passers-by, there was also Jack Skellington, Spiderman, and a Predator head bidding you to look more inside. Take my word for it- if the display outside already piqued your curiosity, they definitely saw to it that they blow your mind the moment you enter.

Cosplayers are lined up by entrance, all happy to welcome you. Yep, from Peter Pan to Supergirl- just how cool is that? Our server that night was very accommodating. She gave us the menu, took our order, served our food, and gave our bill – all without taking so long, considering the number of people in her area (we were seated in front). Plus factor: I never had my iced tea refilled so fast before.

The restaurant was designed like a hybrid of a museum, movie studio, and restaurant. The walls were lined by autographed photos and movie posters. Aside from that, there were also various life-size figures such as Shrek, Batman and Spiderman. Multiple TVs were also mounted up on the wall, showing movies (of course!) and live shots of the stage. What caught my attention was the 6-foot tall Alien crashing through the wall, trying to get to you. Creepy. Good creepy.

To add an even more fun vibe to the place, there were a lot of cosplayers going around to entertain the crowd in-between shows. They all have their own antics – all in character, of course. They walk around and even sit beside customers, always with a gimmick, such as supposedly taking a selfie with a tray attached to a stick. I even saw one trying to wear a female customer’s shoe! The DJ also plays mainstream dance music, which the cosplayers randomly dance to, much to my delight. If you feel like dancing with Spiderman, they really won’t mind. Customers can just approach them to pose for a picture and they are more than willing to oblige.

For our food, I decided to try their Dino Buffet while Princess Cow checked out the Monroe's Favorite and Eiffel Tower.

I’ll be honest. I was very reluctant about the food. I’ve read old reviews about Movie Stars Café and in every single one of them, the only downside was the food, particularly the variety of the buffet.

The management may have read those articles because, again, surprise! There was a wide variety of food to choose from! That night, the Dino Buffet table had soup, DIY salad, two kinds of pasta, rice, chicken, potatoes, pork, beef, fish, four different kinds of pastries, fruits, and their staple DIY burgers and hotdogs. Sure, it was more of a carnivorous selection but hey, with that huge T-Rex head mounted above the buffet table and the name of the buffet itself, I think that pretty much explains it.

As for the food itself, that’s a different story. There was nothing outstanding about the taste that would take me to seventh heaven, but it was good enough to make me want to go back to the buffet table and eat some more. The food is placed on warmers but they’re already a bit cold by the time I got back to my table. My favorite would have to be the chili con carne, with the beef salpicao a close second. The chili con carne’s ground meat was surprisingly juicy (considering that it’s ground meat) with just the right amount of spice.

I’d have to give two thumbs up to the kitchen staff for never letting any of the food warmers go empty.

Princess Cow’s ala carte was pretty good. I didn’t get to taste Monroe's Favorite, which in my opinion looks like their version of shrimp gambas, with sautéed shrimp on top of chicken and sausage. The Eiffel Tower was two big slices of 3-layered chicken sandwiches served with potato chips. Now, that one I did eat and if it wasn’t for the buffet, I would’ve eaten all that, too. The bread was lightly toasted with generous portions of chicken and vegetables in between.

While eating, we enjoyed watching the mini shows they perform, with different themes every thirty minutes. This, I think, is what sets Movie Stars Café apart from other buffet restaurants. I consider this as the geeky version of comedy bars, minus the dirty jokes and rude comments.

Aladdin The Musical was scheduled that night and I, being the good old Disney kid, was excited to see it. My heart jumped when they performed One Jump (it was my favorite), with the guy playing Aladdin, singing it live! They re-enacted the marketplace scene and did a mini chase around the restaurant and I was itching to jump and run around with them. When they sang A Whole New World, I was amazed at just how good their voices and English accent were. I kept checking if they were lip-synching but no, they were really singing live.

Oh the feels! Princess Cow didn’t know how to stop me from singing Prince Ali after that.

So why choose Movie Stars Café among all the other buffet restaurants out there? Simply because it’s the only buffet restaurant in the country where you can watch live movie performances, while you chow down on a carnivore-oriented selection of food. It is definitely a must for movie geeks who would drool with envy over the many movie memorabilia on display. This is where you take your friends who can’t and don’t want to sing. If there are kids in your family, this is where you should introduce them to the geeky and fun creative world of movie and cosplay – a step higher than the usual clowns and mascots.

Their food may not be worth 5 stars but the way I see it, Movie Stars Café is primarily for entertainment. And if its entertainment you want, this place surely does not disappoint.

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