A food festival is always going to be music to my ears, so when I was invited to come and try the mango festival at the Hilton Hotel, well, I was very excited indeed, number one because I love mangoes and number two because mangoes generally cost an arm and a leg here. Fruit themed buffets are really popular at the hotels here in Korea, and with strawberry season being over and Spring in the air, it is time for mangoes to take centre stage.
I would best describe the event as a mango themed afternoon tea. It costs 45,000 per person which includes access to the buffet for two hours, either 2:30-4:30, or 5:00 – 7:00, and all the mango tea and juice you can drink. The mango festival is located inside the lobby of the hotel rather than in one of their restaurants. Personally I quite enjoyed watching the hordes of guests going by as I’m quite partial a bit of people watching, whereas my friend didn’t appreciate it so much. I guess it depends on whether you like everyone looking at you or not, which I clearly do.
Once we had settled in and enjoyed a relaxing cup or two of tea it was time to check out the food. There was certainly quite a wide array of different sweet goods and a couple of savoury options. There are too many to mention but off the top of my head there were cronuts, mousse, tiramisu, tarts, meringue pie, macarons, vol a vents, cheesecakes, and ice cream. There were also of a couple of savoury options of meat balls and chicken legs which seemed like a bit of an afterthought.
There was plenty to choose from and we ended up trying most of the different items. To me the stand outs were the freshly fried Namsan Cronuts. There was a chef doing a demonstration of how to make them so these were fresh as can be. The cronuts were filled with mango creme patissiere and covered with mango frosting and a fresh strawberry. Being a child of the 80s I was also very happy to see a mango chicken vol a vent, I certainly ate more than my fair share. I also really enjoyed the slices of fresh mango that were served at the chocolate fountain, I just wish they had more things to dip into it besides the fruit.
In regards to the rest of the offerings I couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed. While I thought they offered a good selection of different desserts, they didn’t really do it in terms of flavour for me. They all looked pretty enough, but I would have enjoyed them sweeter and with a more intense mango flavour. I assume that their target audience is Koreans who don’t tend to like their desserts quite so sweet, but for me it was a bit of a miss. I left the buffet before my time was up, which unfortunately kind of says it all.
The Millennium Hilton is located at 50, Sowol-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Seoul Station (lines 1 & 4) and come out of exit 11. Follow the road around and take the third left, then walk straight. you will see the Millennium Hilton on the left hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-753-7788, or visit their website.