Cafe 1228 ran a promotion with MetroDeal for half off its buffet, both lunch and dinner, so that was motivation enough to try it out for the occasion of my grandfather's memorial lunch. The dessert spread greets you upon entering the premises (smart move) and the rest of the medium-sized dining room was brightly-lit and busy without being noisy or too cramped.
The carving station was a miss, the roast beef and lamb were dry and hard. I usually avoid buffet carving stations for this exact reason. My cousins said ordering them rare to medium made both the beef and lamb quite good, but I can't vouch for that myself. The seafood grill's blue marlin, two other fish steaks and mussels were also dry and tasteless. I wanted to try the oysters but they were looking deflated so best not attempt.
The saving grace was the lechon for one. Come early when the lechon skin is still crispy and get a helping of skin, meat, white rice and lechon sauce. For a buffet lechon, it was pretty good. My cousin also praised the bulalo from the Filipino section which was flavorful without being salty in her opinion. The Japanese section was the highlight of the meal: silky egg tofu, spicy tuna sashimi and soba noodles served in adorable primitive wooden mini bowls. Cafe 1228 had a wide selection of sushi and sashimi of which I tried the tamago and inari sushi. Both were satisfyingly decent. The spicy pickled cucumber and seaweed noodles from the shared Korean and Chinese station were refreshingly sweet and spicy. Those two and the egg tofu share the spot for best of the best for me. Rounding out the meal were the desserts I saw at the entrance. It was a mixed bag of pretty good, mediocre and do not touch. The best of what I tasted was the ube cake which was delicate flavorful and moist. Red velvet cake was pretty good but I'm not too sure because my cousin ate into my half of the slice that we were sharing!
If buffets are your thing, at 50% off this is a solid deal. As for myself, it was nice to try it, but the buffet Sunday lunch at Cafe 1228 is more of a "try once" deal.
Pros: Japanese station, cheese antipasti and mezze, ube cake, lechon, dining room decor and staff, fruit juice and soft drinks were included
Cons: Meat and seafood grill
Notes: BDO cardholders can also receive 50% discount. Full terms and conditions can be found here.