Sunday, May 3, 2015

Dad's Review - Never again Hi Rice Grill, Marcos Highway!

A few weeks back, my wife and I reserved two seats at Hi Rice Grill along Marcos Highway for their upcoming Manny Pacquiao's fight with Mayweather. The venue was at the auditorium at the second floor of their eat-all-you-can restaurant. We inspected the place and it seemed spacious and what mattered most was the massive projector screen where the fight would be shown. The place will open at 10 am while buffet table will be ready by 11 am until 2:30 pm according to the staff. We were assured that parking would be available as well.

screen grab from Hi Rice FB account

On the day of the fight, we arrived at Hi Rice Grill at around 9:30 am. We were not allowed to enter the gated parking area at the back so we parked our car right outside the gate of the said parking area. We registered at the ground floor; their staff collected our receipt and stamped our hand which was our pass to the event.

We were paired with another couple to occupy a 4-seater table. Sadly, the other couple arrived earlier thus my wife and I ended with our back fronting the screen. Obviously, our seating arrangement would be very uncomfortable while watching the fight. By the way, their staff didn't explain to us this setup during our reservation. Otherwise we wouldn't pay the reservation since there were plenty of restaurants in the metro offering cheaper price for this event like Nuezca Cafe in Quezon City.

In short, we tried to make the best out of it; we rotated our chair to watch the fight. At around 10:45 am they opened the two opposite buffet tables outside the auditorium. As expected, both of them had long queues of diners. It was understandable since all of the guests wanted to take their food before the actual fight. Hence, we were in line for around 30 minutes; not a big deal I told the wife.

long queues at both buffet tables

after 30 minutes in line

When it was our turn we noticed that there were no plates and utensils available anymore; even the paper plates were gone. Imagine an eat-all-you-can with reservation giving paper plates to their clients? Epic fail!

rice, mixed vegetables and fish fillet were replenished and about to disappear but still no plates and utensils

Further, plain rice, mixed vegetables, fish fillet and fried chicken trays were already empty while the other remaining trays were about to be cleared as well; it was really very frustrating. Soon afterwards, rice, fish fillet and vegetables were replenished but still no plates and utensils thus the other guests from the other buffet table transferred to our line and started taking foods since their buffet table has been emptied too.

By the time the wet and dripping plates arrived, the rice and mixed vegetables were gone. We ended taking the newly replenished fish fillet and the watery kare-kare (without veggies). If I am not mistaken, the tiny cut Chicken Curry was also brimming with sauce. What surprised us was the need to coerce the food server to put additional serving on our plate. When we were at the end of the buffet table, fried chicken arrived so we had no choice but to backtrack causing inconvenience to other diners in queue . Looking for dessert? Forget it! What was enough for everyone was the iced-but not cold-tea. We were looking for orange juice as stated on their buffet package but it wasn't existing; the soup has been emptied as well. We were forced to "steal" the minuscule plastic serving spoon at the dessert area so we can eat.

To sum it all, we had a very frustrating and annoying lunch at Hi Rice Grill. That was the first time we encountered an eat-all-you-can restaurant where foods were being distributed by servers. It was like a canteen or catering where you need to coerce the servers if you need more. Considering the event was by reservation then it was quite unbelievable that Hi Rice Grill was ill-prepared to handle this kind of event, to say the least.

Additionaly, be prepared to indulge on catering-type dishes. Nothing especial can be eaten here or perhaps their specialties run out before my wife and I reached the buffet table.

Regarding parking, arriving early means you get a secured parking slot while coming late you may park you car at your own risk along Marcos Highway. On the other hand, though you have arrived early and secured a parking slot, you would end up waiting for other guests to leave before you can wiggle out from your parking space. There were at least 3 rows of cars parked outside Hi Rice Grill. I believe they advertise that basement and parking at the back are accessible by their clients.

this was the only plus, a massive and clear projector screen

In fairness, aside from their courteous staff the massive projector screen and good audio was definitely ideal for this event. The air-conditioned auditorium was blissful too after sweating it out at the buffet queues.

As a Dad, I forego my plan in bringing our kids here. Not ever!


  1. were planning to eat there in hi grill rice. but whenever i read your articles. i dont think so if this is worth it. much better to eat in vikings. its very expensive but until the last minute there was a food here and there was filipino food, american food, japanese food, vietnam foods, etc...

    1. I agree with you. Not to mention the ambiance and comfort of shopping after dining at Vikings. See: