Queensland Catering Food Tasting Experience

Queensland Catering is a popular choice among budgetarian couples who want to save a lot of money on food. While most caterers would charge ₱800 to ₱1000 per head, Queensland's wedding packages start at ₱390/head, with their most expensive package at ₱800/head. This is as of April 2017.

They hold regular food tasting events at their venue, Ysabel's Garden located at BF Resort Village, Las PiƱas. It's every Sunday at 4pm. Registration starts at 3:30pm but when we came there at 3 they were listing down attendees already. It's on a first come first served basis and is free for 2 people only. If you brought extra companions they'll be accommodated after the food tasting pa daw which is weird 'cos you won't be able to eat with them? Ewan, didn't clarify this. If you're from the south, you may have heard of Queensland. We're northerners and we only heard about them at W@W and GirlTalk so even though it was such a chore to travel all the way down, we didn't mind in the name of cost cutting.

The reason we wanted to get Queensland is really the price point. In this post I'm going to share how our food tasting went, and by the end of this give my final impression if it's all worth the effort getting a caterer of their level for your wedding.

On Styling and Ysabel's Garden
When we got there, they were setting up for a wedding event that afternoon and since it's still early, I was allowed to go in the indoor garden to take pictures. I actually thought this is where they're going to hold the FT. Sosyal! But no, it's at the second floor function room pala.

In terms of styling, this particular setup looks very nice to me! I took a lot of pictures for reference because I'm seriously considering getting the same setup, except with flowers of different colors to match our theme.

Ysabel's Garden can fit 200 people, according to our AE. There's a gazebo at the front which I found oddly placed. It has an extended stage area on the right side but I just find it weird that it's not at the center haha.

I asked the AE assigned to us if the setup at the garden is a basic one and she said yes. I want it to be true though but I'm not sure because she doesn't seem to know a lot about what's going on. She seems new, and I don't want to be handled by new AEs. 

I don't believe this is good for 200 lang. I bet 250 kasya 'cos it seems bigger than our venue, Don Jose Heights Clubhouse, and there's even space for a ceremony setup.

The Food
Around 4pm we were called pair by pair to proceed to the their 2nd floor function room for the food tasting. We were assigned to tables, who are assigned to specific AEs. A table can sit 4 couples. So can you imagine, 1 AE is to 4 couples. Although we didn't really wait that long to be entertained by our AE, L (not her real name hehe), I can't help compare it to our Hizon's FT experience which is 1 to 1, with someone who knows what she's talking about. L seems lost and unsure of a lot of things.

The system went like this. First they gave us 5 minutes to check the food setup so we can take pictures and see how it looks like pre devouring. Then they called us in batches to get our food. The tables are setup in a U shape and we start at the center, with one getting food from the left side, and the other on the right side. Then you come back to your table with 3 plates filled with small servings of everything.

I think it's a neat way to get everyone sample their dishes. But it's not too generous as you're sharing tiny servings with your partner. The place looks really tight as well, it's hard to move around. Don't expect too much.

Here's what they have that day:

Mixed Asian Salad - it's nice but I don't like the sauce that much. It's too thick and tasted like oyster sauce.
Buko Pandan - it was creamy and good! But it's too sweet for me

Cream of Pumpkin Soup - it tastes good but it's not too creamy. I prefer it this way though because some soups are just too heavy, busog ka na agad. The consistency of this one is just right.

Pork Belly - OMG THIS IS SUCH A WINNER FOR ME! I super love this one and I wanted to confirm if this was part of the choices for pork but, sadly I learned it was the Balamban style Lechon which costs an additional ₱35/head.

Fish fillet in tartar sauce - okay rin to, very basic as far as fish fillets go.

Baked Norweigian Pink Salmon - the cream sauce on this is underwhelming and meets expectations lang. It's good but not great.
Grilled Tanigue in Mango Salsa Sauce - I liked the flavors in this one much better. We picked this for our fish dish!

Chicken Teriyaki - masarap to! I mean it's what you'd expect from teriyaki. I think we got this for our chicken dish
Pork BQQ haha - I also looooved this one!

Lasagna - I actually liked this one, but Jeckie pointed out that it's too sweet so mejo nag-waver ako! In the end, we chose spaghetti in two sauces (carbonara and bolognese) for our pasta dish
Paella - this was part of the pasta choices for some reason haha I liked this one, but we didn't get it cos it doesn't sit well with our current menu.

Chicken Flambe - this tasted okay too but I'm generally not a fan of cream-based ulam so we didn't get this.
Sotanghon - I liked this one because it's very simple yet flavorful. Yun nga lang, we're not getting Pinoy foods so we opted out of this

There you go, Jeckie and I shared all of this food and decided which ones we'll get. I think we both did well on account of judging their food because we ate lunch beforehand so busog kami before coming to Queensland.

Ang funny lang their menu because sobrang daming typo! Parmesa cheese, Mandarian orange, Pork BQQ... argh.

Generally, their food is good but it's nothing great. Meets expectations lang sila for me. Which is understandable for their level, and is probably what makes them so popular. Everything they served tasted good, walang hindi masarap. Pero walang sobrang sarap, EXCEPT FOR THE BALAMBAN LECHON GUYS! It's really good!

So is it really cheap?
Their base price per head may look cheap, but you'll be surprised at how much you have to add on to your bill just to get them to your event. They have so many additional charges, our final proposal kindof ballooned. It's still not that big but you'll wonder why they didn't just make it easier for you and package everything completely.

I'm not gonna share our entire bill but if you're planning on getting Queensland, compute within yourselves first everything you want added in your package. Here's what to consider:

  • Travel/Delivery fee - ours costed ₱2,000 because our venue is at Fairview. The farthest within Metro Manila I saw in their list is Navotas and Caloocan area, ₱2,500 yung ganon kalayo. If within South lang, ₱500
  • Hauling fee - we thought we could get away with this because our venue is just ground floor level and has a big driveway they can park and unload which is not 20 steps to the kitchen. But apparently when they called Don Jose, they were told they don't allow trucks at the driveway, and all suppliers must settle at the back. Ayon we have to pay ₱150/waiter for the hauling. Eh they're assigning 18 to our event, so that's ₱2,700 already. So para safe, include the hauling fee in your computation.
  • Stage upgrade - I'm still considering if we're getting this because it costs ₱9,000. When I get in touch with my new AE I'll ask for a copy of their basic and upgraded styling and decide from there.
  • Chairs upgrade - unless you're getting the Diamond package, you have to pay additional if you want to get rid of the monobloc chairs. Picnic chairs cost ₱50/head, Acrylic at ₱80/head, and Tiffany at ₱100/head. I'm considering getting the Tiffany chairs from a different supplier na lang cos masyadong mahal yung kanila plus delivery pa.
  • Chairs delivery - if you decide to upgrade your chairs, then you'll have to pay for an additional truck as well because these fancy chairs don't stack too well unlike monobloc. So yeah, in our case plus ₱2,000 pa for this.
  • Supplier meal - if you decide to get your crew meals with them, that's ₱190/head.

If you sum those out it may still come out affordable. Of course because it still doesn't include other wedding essentials pa like cake, emcee, and lights and sounds. 

If you're not from the south, I suggest not getting their optional services because you always have to add delivery and it sucks. If you're only up for the food and styling, go get them, but then you'll have to source a lot of other suppliers outside pa. Ugh, hassle.

Finally (pero ang haba haha)
Honestly, I requested for a new AE after our experience with L. Alam kong mas-stress ako sa kanya so I want to let her go as soon as possible. She isn't that bad but it was getting frustrating how we couldn't get straight answers right away. If she's new it's still inexcusable for me, because everything I asked is basic. She isn't even sure about the foods served, and after we paid reservation, she called the next day that there's additional hauling fee and delivery fee pa pala. Nabwisit ako seryoso. Of course if you paid reservation you're under the impression that the proposal you agreed to is the final price. Tapos biglang may dagdag?

Our fault din that we reserved agad. We should've talked about it first, and nakalimutan ko na we're not actually supposed to reserve on the spot! We were supposed to get them during their next bridal fair! AAARRGH. Guess we're in that stage where we kinda have to hustle with the preps already because we only have less than 5 months to go. Nagsisi tuloy ako ng slight, baka we'd have a better chance at talking to someone more informed about the matter. Sayang.

Anyway, at least I know what to lay down to my new AE. Wag sana syang mainis sakin lol.

  • Food, styling, and price - check na check sila sakin.
  • Buffers - according to L, THEY HAVE NO BUFFER for tables and chairs, and their food is SAKTO LANG daw for the number of guests. This got me really worried. Ngayon lang ako nakarinig ng hindi nagba-buffer. This L girl sounds super unreliable kasi so I don't want to count on this information yet.
  • Customer service - I can't say yet, but so far not good. Shempre gusto mo smooth at maayos kausap diba. Unfortunately I have a feeling I'll be having a hard time communicating with their AEs and getting my preferred styling on point. In this regard it may be better to get a separate stylist, unless you're from the South and can afford to go back and forth to their office to handle things personally. I'm not, so I'm dead worried.
  • Package inclusions - If you're gunning for the basics, food and styling okay naman. But for a wedding which naturally includes a lot more kaartehan, they don't offer much so expect that you'd be getting a lot of other suppliers pa.
So ayon, make sure to be very hands on with this supplier if you want your event to go well. In the case of a wedding lang naman to ah, for smaller events like private parties and such, I think it's okay to leave everything to them unless sobrang OC mo.

Personally this experience is such a reality check for me. Sana sobrang yaman ko para hindi ako nahahassle ng ganito haha!

Case in point: you get what you paid for.

Will update this review when our big day is over! :)

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