Mum’s birthday dinner, The Manila Restaurant

Last Sunday night we all went out for dinner at The Manila Restaurant to celebrate Mum’s birthday. Ever since hearing about how much we enjoyed the buffet there (see posts – savoury here, sweet here) , Mum was keen to try it. She and Dad had never eaten Filipino food before and thought it sounded pretty good.

The restaurant is adorned with fairy lights and looks quite eye-catching (or gaudy to some!) at night.

The Manila Restaurant - exterior

In the restaurant, there’s a stage area all set up for karaoke – thank goodness no one got into it while we were there. You may notice the glittery “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” on the wall – no, I don’t think they put that up in honour of Mum’s birthday. I think it was in reference to the restaurant’s upcoming 11th birthday celebration. There is to be dinner, dancing and a “cultural show” on Friday 31 August, Saturday 1 September and Sunday 2 September.

The karaoke stage

View of the buffet area from where I was sitting.

The buffet

It was difficult to take photos at the buffet, so I just took photos of a few people’s plates.

Juji’s first plate – chicken wings, pork skewers, fried rice, stir-fried vegies and spring rolls.

Juji's first plate

Jac’s first plate – chicken wing, pork skewer, spring roll, battered fish (nile perch filets), salads (garden, pasta and potato).

Jac's first plate

Jay’s first plate – steamed rice, pork skewer, chicken wing, spring roll, and other unidentified goodies.

Jay's first plate

Mum piled up her plate nice and high – I think she grabbed a bit of everything on offer!

Mum's first plate

Mark has been known in the family most of his life as Chicken Boy – he looooved those chicken wings. I loved them too – I think between him and me, we would’ve had about a dozen wings.

Mark's first plate

My first plate – no rice or vegies whatsoever – spring rolls, chicken wings, pork skewers, battered fish. The fish was beautiful and flaky, the pork really tasty. Between the chicken and pork you can see some pickles, which were supposed to go with the pork.

My first plate

For my second plate I got fried rice, fried vermicelli, roast belly pork, stir-fried vegies, more chicken wings and more battered fish. That belly pork was so good. Mum absolutely loved it. She kept saying she wished she could squeeze in just a couple more pieces. “Don’t even think about it!” Dad warned her teasingly, as she glanced wistfully at the pork, and then at the spare paper napkins. Hahaha, don’t worry, I don’t think Mum did sneak any pork home in napkins! I think she was quite tempted though! I tried all the hot dishes on offer apart from a tripe dish – not a fan of tripe. It’s not what it is that puts me off, I’m just not a fan of the texture. The roast pork and chicken wings were the winners of the evening for me!

My second plate

My sister in law Ange is pregnant and so didn’t have buffet – she ordered the Manila Bay, described on the menu as “a combination of beef fillet and tiger prawns in a creamy mushroom sauce”. I’m not sure where the cream in the sauce was from this photo! Ange hadn’t realised from the menu that it was like a steak and vegetables or reef and beef/surf and turf type dish. When she ordered it she wasn’t asked how she wanted the meat done. When she cut into it, she found it too rare and so she asked politely for it to be cooked more. Not a big deal, right? She didn’t whinge about it, wasn’t snotty about it, just requested the meat to be cooked a little more. But when the lady brought the dish back, she made a point of telling Ange that the dish was traditionally served medium rare, in a tone like she was reprimanding Ange for not knowing this – it wasn’t mentioned on the menu, so how would she have known? Her tone and attitude was all very “well, it wasn’t our fault!” and this put Ange off somewhat. Ange hadn’t been interested in arguing whose fault it was or blaming anyone – once she’d identified a problem (and she acknowledged it wouldn’t have been a problem for everyone who ordered the dish) she just asked politely for it to be fixed. No fuss, no big deal. We didn’t think there was any need for the dish to come back with a lecture. Perhaps they should describe the dish a little better on the menu. (I’ve said my piece and now let’s move on!)

Manila Bay

The vast selection of sweets was just as good as before. Here was the heart-shaped coconut jelly, which had been cut into cubes for our convenience.

Coconut jelly

I really liked the corn pudding the last time, and was pleased to have it again.

Corn pudding

This sticky rice was a favourite with my parents, and I loved it too – it reminded me of pulut inti, a dish my grandma used to make – glutinous rice topped with caramelised coconut. I really loved to eat that as a child. I had a couple of servings of the sticky rice.

Sticky rice

Jac had been dreaming about the leche flan (creme caramel) all week, and it was as good as we remembered. Mum loved it too – she said it was the best creme caramel she’d ever eaten! She loved its flavour and silky smooth texture. She had a couple of slices and enjoyed it immensely.

Leche flan

My first selections from the dessert buffet: top left, clockwise: watermelon, coconut jelly, sticky rice, corn pudding, leche flan.

My dessert selection

Mini trifle – Mum actually got it for herself, but found that she was too full and “donated” it to me. Even though the trifle was mostly custard, it was really yummy custard, and there was a surprise of jelly right at the bottom, which I liked a lot.


We all had a discussion about how my sister CW is helping Mark and Ange come up with Chinese names for their baby, whom we refer to affectionately right now as “Peanut” (no one knows its gender, it is to be a surprise). Video game fans, I tried to convince my brother that a name meaning “Fists of Fury” or “Time Crisis” would be great for Peanut – just kidding! Hahaha. My brother did come up with “Good kicker” A tribute to Hwoarang, perhaps. :) Ange wisely and not surprisingly, vetoed all our suggestions! Anyway, I’m off to Peanut’s (or is it Ange’s?) baby shower this afternoon.

Mum really enjoyed her evening. I think everyone else had a pretty good time too (apart from Ange being lectured about that steak). Jac and I will definitely eat there again. The Restaurant is located at 1236 Albany Highway in Cannington. Buffet is $24 Friday and Saturday nights, $22 on Sunday nights. If you like sweets, the dessert selection will surely please you! Next time we might try the a la carte menu… though buffet is great value and just so convenient!

More posts to come, including Jac’s mum’s birthday dinner – but they will have to wait. I have to get ready shortly – I’m heading to my folks to grab a lift to the baby shower. Jac will join us after her hockey match. As I have to go through the city to get to my folks’ place I might grab a bite to eat on the way.

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