[XMAS BUFFET] Feast in Merriment @ Element, Amara Singapore

Hello everyone!

Let’s begin this post with a Christmas song sing-along! I know, why don’t we sing Deck The Halls, a crowd favourite at any Christmas party for sure?

♪ Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la 
♪ Tis the season to be jolly FATTY
Fa la la la la, la la la la ♪

Throw away your skinny jeans and belts because with all the Christmas-themed buffets in town, stretch pants are back in fashion once again! With so many festive buffets to choose from but a limited calorie budget to work with, hopefully this write-up on the Yuletide dinner and lunch buffet that’s set to launch on the eve of Christmas at Element (courtesy of Amara Singapore) would help you decide if it’s worthwhile to expand your waistline for. That is, unless you belong to the ‘I-can-eat-as-much-as-I-want-and-I-will-still-be-skinny’ group.

In which case, I hate you.

—🎄 Appetisers 🎄—

Cognac Lobster Bisque

Cognac Lobster Bisque

In the pot, this may look like an ordinary lobster bisque to you but it actually includes an ingredient which gives it an extra zing of flavour – Cognac. Added last to the bisque for a stronger kick, the smoothness and silky richness of the Cognac marries well with the sweetness and creaminess of the soup. Perhaps to cater to children and non-drinkers at the buffet, only a soupçon of Cognac was added so the slight bitter and tangy aftertaste that I got from the lobster bisque didn’t occur to me that it was Cognac. In fact, I had thought it was the spiciness from pepper because the distinctive bold flavour of Cognac just wasn’t picked up by my taste bud! Ironically, Fiona, who isn’t a fan of alcohol, could tell in one sip that there was liquor in the bisque 🤷 But it wasn’t too overpowering so she cleaned the bowl in no time!

Personally, I did not really like the texture of the lobster bisque as it was a little too watered-down for my liking and I prefer it to be creamier and heartier. Still, this is a rare find at any buffet and a must-try if you are a crustacean lover like me!

Tuna Tataki with Cucumber Ribbons and Puffed Quinoa

Tuna Tataki with Cucumber Ribbons and Puffed Quinoa

Tuna Tataki with Cucumber Ribbons and Puffed Quinoa (reviewed here)

Tuna Tataki with Cucumber Ribbons and Puffed Quinoa (reviewed here)

One of my favourite dishes at Element makes an appearance again this Christmas! If you’ve not read my verdict on the tuna tataki on my previous post, I urge you to do so now for a more detailed review! But in summary, the cool, softly chewy texture of the Tataki was what does it for me and this was also probably why it was snapped up so quickly at the media tasting event 😍

Editor’s note: Most of them was taken away by you, my dear.

Smoked Duck, Salami and Prosciutto

Smoked Duck, Salami and Prosciutto

Honey Baked Butter Squash with Honey Mustard and Pumpkin Seed

Honey Baked Butter Squash with Honey Mustard and Pumpkin Seed

Diced to bite-sized pieces, the butternut squash felt squishy in the mouth, almost like the texture of potato but softer, and has a lightly sweet and nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin (although many would argue that they’re basically the same considering that they are used interchangeably in certain countries) on its own. The pumpkin seeds give it an added crunch while the honey mustard lends a slightly zestier and more savoury edge. This is definitely the dish to go for if you intend to start the buffet on a healthier note. But being someone who is huge on more piquant flavours, this was rather bland on my palate.

Cocktail Prawn and Crab Meat with Duo Melon

Cocktail Prawn and Crab Meat with Duo Melon

Cocktail Prawn and Crab Meat with Duo Melon

Cocktail Prawn and Crab Meat with Duo Melon

A fine example of a simple yet elegant pairing that cannot go wrong, this dish features shredded crab meat mixed with a mayonnaise base and topped with a mountain of prawns. The prawns, which are deshelled for fuss-free eating, have such irresistibly crunchy and firm texture that I could not help but gobble up at least 15 pieces of them in one sitting. No doubt this is going to be a favourite among children and adults alike at the buffet table!

Marinated Duck Rilette with Red Wine, Dried Fruits and Gherkin Salsa

Marinated Duck Rilette with Red Wine, Dried Fruits and Gherkin Salsa

Believe it or not, the duck rillette took me some courage to overcome my apprehension of trying it. Apart from the fact that I had never eaten meat prepared Rillette-style (a cooking method originated from France 🇫🇷) before, it honestly wasn’t the most appealing dish on the buffet table. But I recalled tasting the tuna tataki for the first time and instantly falling head over heels for it. Thinking that this would turn out the same way, I took the plunge and scooped some of the duck rillette along with the sauce onto my plate.

Voilà! Fortune favours the brave, perhaps. The duck rillette (or rillettes de canard, as the French calls it) came across as a breath of fresh air. Soft and smooth in texture, it was akin to the texture of a pastry or pâté. By itself, the meat was rather salty (and in Fiona’s words, tasted like “mushy canned food”) so pairing it with the red wine sauce – which resembled and tasted delightful like cranberry jam – would be highly recommended as the sweetness of the sauce evens it out. This would also go perfectly with bread!

—🎄 Main Course🎄—

Turkey Buah Keluak

Turkey Buah Keluak

What’s Christmas in Singapore without roast turkey smeared with the familiar buah keluak (yes, it isn’t charred although it looks like it)? From cempadak creme brûlée to pandan pudding, it seems like we can always count on Element to come up with the most innovative fusion food ideas regardless of the occasion. And in case you didn’t know, buah keluak (or pangium edule, Malay for “the fruit which nauseates” 🤨) is dubbed the black truffle of the East as it is considered an acquired taste. Used mainly in Malay, Indonesian and Peranakan cooking, these seeds are obtained from their poisonous fruit and are then made safe for consumption by fermentation.

The presence of the buah keluak lends a bitter and earthy taste to the turkey, which would otherwise be terribly bland and dry like chicken breast meat (but twice as bad). According to the chef, this took three days to prepare which, unless the turkey is served to a large group of people who love jaw-tiringly chewy meat, isn’t worth the effort (and slaughter). That said, I truly appreciate the creativity and ingenuity presented in this dish and would recommend this to homesick non-Asians who don’t mind a little South East-Asian twist.

Stir-fried Moreton Bay Bug with Salted Egg

Stir-fried Moreton Bay Bug with Salted Egg

Who would have thought a foreign-sounding crustacean could be localised into a dish that would fit my palate to an absolute T? The creaminess of the salted egg sauce coupled with the firmness and lightly crispiness of the meat was a dream-come-true.  Unlike typical salted egg dishes that would bring you to a state of surfeit (i.e. “gelat“) after a few mouthfuls, this just kept me asking for more. I figured it was probably due to it being infused with some spice during preparation.

Steamed Garoupa with Lime Beurre Blanc topped with Tomato Vierge

Steamed Garoupa with Lime Beurre Blanc topped with Tomato Vierge

Roasted Chicken with Meat Floss

Roasted Chicken with Meat Floss

Tajima Wagyu Beef with Foie Gras, Truffle Mashed Potato and Port Jus

Tajima Wagyu Beef with Foie Gras, Truffle Mashed Potato and Port Jus

The addition of the foie gras (those whitish slabs but in very limited quantity) was a splendid touch as it helped to bring out the flavour of the wagyu beef even more. However, probably to cater to the masses at the buffet, the meat was generally cooked to medium which made it somewhat tough and chewy and thereby cheapen the quality of the meat. I feel that this would be better suited at the live station so patrons can request for their steak to be cooked to their preferred doneness (which in my case, would be rare). Furthermore, as an avid lover of wagyu beef, it also kinda annoyed me that the beautiful marbling of the wagyu beef was wholly concealed by the charring and port jus sauce 😫 Where’s the justice for the poor wagyu cattle that died for this?

— 🎄 Desserts🎄—

Cempedak Creme Brûlée

Cempedak Creme Brûlée

The Cempedak Creme Brûlée is like the pinnacle of the Christmas tree as it is, without a doubt, the ⭐ of the dessert section (and as a result of that, effectively stealing the thunder from the log cakes at a Christmas-theme buffet 🤣). Find out why this is the best dessert in my tummy’s opinion on my previous review here.

Macarons (Gingerbread Spices / Coconut / Blueberry + Salted Caramel) - 6 pcs/pack at S$16+ or 10 pcs/pack at S$25+

Macarons (Gingerbread Spices [pink] / Coconut [white – highly recommended] / Blueberry + Salted Caramel [blue – highly recommended]) – 6 pcs/pack at S$16+ or 10 pcs/pack at S$25+

Ho, ho, ho! Spot me on the Christmas log cakes!

Ho, ho, ho! Spot me on the Christmas log cakes!

Fancy gifting your loved ones a log cake to commemorate the season of giving? Element also offers traditional log cakes in three tantalising flavours to suit different tastes. They are available for order at the restaurant.

Amara's Signature Cempadak Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$65+)

Amara’s Signature Cempedak Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$65+)

Out of all the log cakes that were brought out, the Cempedak Yule Log Cake was the first to be reduced to nothing which pretty much attests to the popularity of the cempedak in Element’s dessert line-up. The log cake had a fluffy texture with a very robust cempedak flavour that was fragrant and yet not too overpowering at the same time. Each bite of the cake melted in my mouth before I realised what was happening.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$52+)

Dark Chocolate Cherry Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$52+)

 

Pink Champagne Lychee Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$52+) - this is alcoholic

Pink Champagne Lychee Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$52+) – this is alcoholic

Christmas is the time to spend with your family and loved ones, and what better way to do so than to indulge in some cempedak goodness (and many other crowd favourites) at Element? If you’re interested to dine at Element, do make your reservations in advance to avoid being a sad 🐼!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Element at Amara Singapore · 165 Tanjong Pagar Road Singapore 088539 · Tel: 6879 2607 · Nearest MRT station: Tanjong Pagar (EW15) · Click here for more information
Prices and time for Christmas Eve/Christmas Buffet Lunch and Dinner as above

Prices and time for Christmas Eve/Christmas Buffet Lunch and Dinner as above 

The writer is a glutton who occasionally allows his appetite free rein and steals food from Fiona’s plate. Among some of his favourite food are a good steak and meaty crabs doused in chili sauce. Read more posts by Alphonsus here.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for bite-sized food updates!

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[LUNCH BUFFET] Element @ Amara Singapore

Hello everyone!

As the saying goes, all work and no play eat makes Jack a dull hungry boy so when the offer to attend a tasting session at Element Restaurant came, I jumped at it – even if it meant to forgo an entire afternoon of catching up on work.

Conveniently located within a few minutes’ walk away from Tanjong Pagar MRT station in the heart of the Central Business District, Element Restaurant – or rather, Amara Hotel where the restaurant is set – instantly comes to mind as one of the ideal dining destinations for a hearty meal with colleagues or business partners. The restaurant caters to lunch crowds and dinner patrons with a lavish international buffet spread from 11.30 am to 2.30 pm as well as the contemporary Sicilian cuisines in à la carte menus from 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm on Monday to Sunday (except Friday) – the latter of which I had to regrettably give a miss to when it was launched due to a flu bug.

Element Restaurant

Element Restaurant

We ordered a couple of cold beverages (separate charges apply) to whet our appetites at the bar within the restaurant since only coffee and tea are offered as part of the buffet. As far as I am aware, not many buffets allow you the opportunity to order such drinks but Element has their own bar so that alcoholics wine connoisseurs can drink and make merry at the same time.

Mocktail: Shirley Temple (S$13++)

Mocktail: Shirley Temple (S$13++)

Alcoholic: Bailey (S$14++)

Alcoholic: Bailey (S$14++)

Great tasting food is my Achilles heel. But as much as I love to eat, I do have certain standards when it comes to dining at buffets due to the fact that there are many buffets out there masquerading as nothing more than overpriced and over-glorified economical rice dishes.

Amongst all my expectations, a decent variety of food is a must and the spread during the lunch buffet at Element Restaurant was, to say the least, exquisite. According to the staff, the wide assortment of dishes changes daily. From local classics such as Laksa to crowd favourites such as Japanese sushi, sashimi and fresh seafood, there is bound to be something that appeals to your taste buds. To save you from the agony of having to sit through my babbling, the pictures will do most of the talking instead.

— Appetisers —

This section serves an array of bread, soup and dim sum

This section serves an array of bread, soup and dim sum

Assortment of bread

Assortment of bread

Siew Mai

Siew Mai

Soon Kueh

Soon Kueh

Char Siew Pau

Char Siew Pau

— Japanese cuisine —

Sushi spread

Sushi spread

Apart from these Japanese staples, this stop also serves sashimi freshly prepared by the chef stationed there.

— Salad bar —

Mix and match your own salad and toppings!

Mix and match your own salad and toppings!

— Cured and smoked meat —

Selection of cured and smoked meat platter

Selection of cured and smoked meat platter

Cold cut salami

Cold cut salami

Marinated Black Fungus

Marinated Black Fungus

Tuna Tataki

Tuna Tataki

The tuna tataki was one of my favourite! It has a slightly chewy texture that leaves a sourish and slightly spicy aftertaste, leaving my palate refreshed just after a bite. It was my first time trying Tuna Tataki and I absolutely love it because of all the different flavours rolling around on my tongue. Doing a little research, I discovered that Tataki or tosa-mi is actually a Japanese method for preparing fish that has been briefly marinated in vinegar, sliced thinly and seasoned for taste. I strongly recommend this dish to anybody who is a lover of Tuna sashimi – you will surely go back for seconds!

Smoked Salmon

Smoked Salmon

— Seafood —

Seafood aplenty and regularly topped up

Seafood aplenty and regularly topped up

White Clams

White Clams

Moreton Bay Bug

Moreton Bay Bug

I pointed out excitedly to Fiona that there was crayfish at the seafood section and was eagerly adding several pieces of the tasty crustacean onto my plate when I noticed the name of the dish.

Moreton Bay Bug.

BUG? I momentarily froze as that word registered in my head. Thinking that it was a typo error, I quickly whipped my phone out from my pocket to (what else?) Google for more information. It turns out this ‘bug’ is actually a species of slipper lobsters resembling the crayfish which explains my initial confusion (because why would anyone name a delicious food after something so off-putting?). The meat was firm and moist, which means that it was incredibly fresh! While it was my first time eating it, I know it won’t be my last ☺

— Live station —

This is where the chef takes orders from buffet-goers and prepares the food on the spot

This is where the chef takes orders from buffet-goers and prepares the food on the spot

The menu at the live station changes every day. When I was there for food tasting, traditional laksa was the dish of the day. If noodles aren’t your thing, you may also opt for a small portion of claypot rice next to the live station.

Wax Rice with Chinese Sausage, Roasted Meat and Mushroom

Wax Rice with Chinese Sausage, Roasted Meat and Mushroom

— Light snacks —

Mostly cooked food

Mostly cooked food

Japanese Salmon Croquette with Spicy Mayo

Japanese Salmon Croquette with Spicy Mayo

Crispy Chicken Wings so good, Fiona ate about 8 pieces

Crispy Chicken Wings so good, Fiona ate about 8 pieces

— Desserts —

Sweet and savoury desserts to conclude your buffet experience

Sweet and savoury desserts to conclude your buffet experience

Pandan Pudding

Pandan Pudding

Cempedak Creme Brulee & Blueberry Panna Cotta

Cempedak Creme Brulee & Blueberry Panna Cotta

THIS is the star of my entire meal in my humblest and honest opinion. Element’s Cempedak Creme Brulee is out of this world! I am quite sure even Gordon Ramsay would not have anything negative to say about it. Do not be deceived by the small unassuming saucer for it packs a punch in its delivery of flavours. The Cempedak is the smaller cousin of the Jackfruit. Compared to the Jackfruit, the Cempedak is sweeter and has a stronger aroma when ripen. I caught a whiff of the aroma while I was walking past the dessert section which was what led me to try it. I had no regrets at all but if there was one, it was not helping myself to more servings of the dessert before the buffet service ended. It is a seasonal fruit and as such I do not expect this dish to be available all year around so I highly recommend you to try it if you get the chance.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience dining at Element. The servers were very friendly and responsive – our plates were cleared constantly and the warm smiles they carried on their faces increased the pleasure of our dining experience. And no, our tables were not cleared all the time because we were there on a media invite. Looking around, I also noticed that other guests were also the subject of such excellent service and hospitality.

Thanks for reading!

Element at Amara Singapore
165 Tanjong Pagar Road
Singapore 088539
Tel: 6879 2607
Nearest MRT station: Tanjong Pagar

International Lunch Buffet
Monday to Friday, 11.30 am – 2.30 pm
Adult: S$49++
Child (6-12 years old): S$25++
Reservations: Chope | Quandoo

The writer is a glutton who occasionally allows his appetite free rein and steals food from Fiona’s plate. Among some of his favourite food are a good steak and meaty crabs doused in chili sauce. Read more posts by Alphonsus here.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for bite-sized food updates!

‘Tis the Season to be Feasting at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport

MEDIA INVITE

Hey everyone!

As the year draws to a close, many of us are getting into the holiday spirit by decking our houses with Christmas and New Year decorations.  At the same time, we may also take this opportunity to gather our loved ones for a memorable reunion. But no reunion would be complete without great food that puts everyone in the festive mood and what better place to experience both simultaneously than throwing a little party at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport where you are able to enjoy a wide selection of delicious and hearty meals? 😉

If you’re intending to play host to this year’s Christmas or New Year celebration but don’t feel like sweating your butt off in the kitchen and yet have no idea where to hold it, Crowne Plaza has rolled out a variety of dining options this yuletide season that centres around conversations and connections. The inspired fusion of flavours and menu items offered at their Lobby Lounge (Yuletide Takeaways) and Azur Restaurant (Festive Buffet) are sized to suit smaller more intimate gatherings among close friends and immediate family members.

Yuletide Takeaways @ Lobby Lounge

From 1 to 26 December 2015, guests can tuck into a series of delights from the Lobby Lounge specially created for this festive month at the comfort of their home. Feast your eyes and stomach on a gourmet paradise of beef, turkey and lamb, as well as a mouthwatering lineup of cakes and pastries to tantalise your taste buds.

But before I go into those, let’s kick things off with some appetisers!

Pumpkin salad

Pumpkin salad – a mix of pumpkin and chestnut

Fruit salad

Fruit salad – a mix of apple, tomatoes, melons, strawberry and nuts

Scallop topped with salmon caviar

Scallop topped with salmon caviar (price not available)

Scallop topped with salmon caviar

Scallop topped with salmon caviar

Salmon cavier

Salmon caviar

The scallop was well-seared on both sides with a fleshy, juicy and fibrous middle. It was drenched in salty gravy and paired with a layer of spinach at the bottom. The salmon caviar gave an additional burst of flavour. However, you may need to request for this dish because it’s not listed on the order chit.

The highlight of the Yuletide Takeaways is the Roasted Texas BBQ Beef Short-Rib which is sous vide (sealed in airtight plastic bags then placed in a hot-water bath of 70 degree Celsius, the same reheating method if you’re planning to eat it at a later time) for 24 hours before being roasted in the oven.

Roasted Texas BBQ Beef Short-Rib (S$120+, 1kg)

Roasted Texas BBQ Beef Short-Rib (S$120+, 1kg)

Roasted Texas BBQ Beef Short-Rib

Roasted Texas BBQ Beef Short-Rib

The ambrosial yet not-too-overwhelming flavour of the beef short-rib comes mainly from the BBQ gravy which sweetness is melded with the natural fragrance of the meat. The short-rib itself was incredibly soft with a gorgeous pink centre and perfectly rendered fat. And because it was so tender and buttery, none of it got stuck in my teeth! However, due to the time factor in the preparation of the Roasted Texas BBQ Beef Short-Rib, an advance order of 3-4 days is required prior to collection.

Roasted Texas BBQ Beef Short-Rib

Roasted Texas BBQ Beef Short-Rib

Of course, when it comes to a Christmas get-together, the dining table needs to have some sort of a roast bird, usually turkey. Having eaten it about twice in my life, I had come to a conclusion that turkey meat is not my cup of tea because of its awfully dry and tough texture. I assumed it was the same for all turkey meat in general. But Crowne Plaza has managed to prove me wrong once again!

Roasted Turkey with Turmeric Coriander Spices (S$135+, 1 kg)

Roasted Turkey with Turmeric Coriander Spices (S$135+, 1 kg)

Doused in rich and delectable Spicy Coconut Cream Sauce that tastes like sweet curry, the Roasted Turkey with Turmeric Coriander Spices is a classic example of when East meets West. The turkey itself is roasted for 6 hours at 70 degree Celsius to a golden yellow and, although somewhat thicker than chicken meat, was an absolute joy to eat for it was so succulent and chewy! The thin savoury skin (the closest description I can think of is that it is quite similar to the roast chicken skin at Poulét) was the winner for me because it was what got me hooked! I just couldn’t resist getting more servings of the turkey meat XD

Roasted Turkey with Turmeric Coriander Spices

Roasted Turkey with Turmeric Coriander Spices

If you prefer a more traditional take on the turkey, the House Special Roasted Turkey Marinated with Maple Glaze and Chestnut Stuffing served with Cranberry Sauce (S$135+, 5 kg) might just be what you’re looking for! Each whole turkey can serve approximately six to eight guests comfortably.

When it comes to celebrating Christmas, one cannot forget the lamb due to its significance in the bible (and symbolism of Christ). The Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb with Rosemary Garlic & Caramelised Shallot Sauce ($160+, 2.6 kg) is soaked in orange brine overnight before being marinated in a fragrant combination of rosemary and garlic, and finally slow roasted at 70 degrees Celsius for over seven hours. If you’re game to try something new this Christmas (since lamb is more commonly served on Easter), you might want to give this dish a go!

Rounding out the Christmas menu from the Lobby Lounge are two festive log cakes handcrafted by the hotel’s pastry chefs because… what’s Christmas without log cakes? Indulge in either the Ispahan-inspired Log Cake with Raspberries Yoghurt Mousse or the more conventional Manjari Chocolate & Hazelnut Praline Yule Log Cake (or both, to get the best of both worlds 😉 ). Featuring a light and tangy raspberry yoghurt mousse overlaying juicy lychee bits and rose-flavoured jelly in the cake centre, the former is the answer to guilt-free (not 100% but still…) log cakes. The slightly tart (acidic) overall taste helps to relieve a bit of the bloatedness from the hearty meal.

Ispahan-inspired Log Cake with Raspberries Yoghurt Mousse (S$65+)

Ispahan-inspired Log Cake with Raspberries Yoghurt Mousse (S$65+)

The chocolate log cake, on the other hand, has a wafer-like hazelnut centre that has got that crunchy going on every bite.  It is not excessively sweet too as there was a tinge of bitterness in the chocolate. Designed to resemble an actual log from an enchanted forest, it comes topped with seasonal decorations like a mini Christmas hat. How cute!

Manjari Chocolate & Hazelnut Praline Yule Log Cake ($65+)

Manjari Chocolate & Hazelnut Praline Yule Log Cake ($65+)

Since Crowne Plaza is conveniently located at Terminal 3 of Changi Airport, guests can, upon returning from their travels, pop in the Lobby Lounge for a quick takeout before heading home. But as most of these dishes require time to prepare, you are encouraged to place your orders at least 3 days in advance to avoid disappointment! To place an order for Yuletide Takeaways, visit the hotel’s Festive Desk (24 Nov – 24 Dec 2015, 9am – 9pm), call +65 6823 5367, fax your order to +65 6823 5301 (Mon – Fri, 9am – 5pm) or email christmas.cpca@ihg.com. The last collection for all Yuletide Takeaways are on 26 December 2016.

Psst.. festive hampers are also on sale if you’d like to build stronger networks with your clients *winks* More information can be found here.

Festive Buffet @ Azur

Otherwise, if you dislike waiting, Azur Restaurant also has an array of Christmas-themed selections for their festive buffet that’s catered to both Asian and Western taste buds, available from 1 to 30 December 2015. Buffet items are served in small portions to allow sampling of all the different food offered at the international buffet. Looking for ways to reward your staff for their hard work and effort throughout the year? There are round tables for larger group dining reservations for everyone to bond and laugh over brunch, lunch and dinner.

Dessert spread at the buffet

Dessert spread at the buffet

Gingerbread man atop white chocolate and cinnamon

Gingerbread man atop white chocolate and cinnamon

Santa Claus atop raspberry puree

Santa Claus atop raspberry puree

Pricing plan

Christmas Eve Buffet Dinner (24 December 2015)*
Adult $ 70 ++ Child $ 35 ++

Christmas Day Brunch (25 December 2015)*
Adult $ 65 ++ Child $ 32.50 ++

Christmas Day Dinner (25 December 2015)*
Adult $ 75 ++ Child $ 37.50 ++

Boxing Day Brunch (26 December 2015)
Adult $ 65 ++ Child $ 32.50 ++

Festive Buffet Lunch (1 – 23, 27 – 30 December 2015)
Adult $ 45 ++ Child $ 22.50 ++

Festive Buffet Dinner (1 – 23, 26 – 30 December 2015)
Adult $ 55 ++ Child $ 27.50 ++

New Year’s Eve Lunch (31 December 2015)
Adult $ 45 ++ Child $ 22.50 ++

New Year’s Eve Dinner (31 December 2015)
Adult $ 75 ++ Child $ 37.50 ++

*Spot jolly ‘ol Santa on 24 and 25 December 2015 and receive a little blessing of joy. Santa will be roving around during meal times at Azur Restaurant

To make a reservation, please call 6823 5354 or email azur.cpca@ihg.com. Reservations are highly encouraged. Visit the Crowne Plaza Dining website for more information.

That’s all, fellow foodies! Get feasting! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Crowne Plaza @ Changi Airport
75 Airport Boulevard
Singapore 819664
For reservations: 6823 5367 (Yuletide Takeaways) / 6823 5354 (Festive Buffet)
Or you may email christmas.cpca@ihg.com (Yuletide Takeaways) /
azur.cpca@ihg.com (Festive Buffet)
Please visit their website or Facebook for more information

Crab and Crêpe Buffet @ Azur

MEDIA INVITE

Hey everyone!

Due to the distance from where I live, the thought of visiting Changi Airport for recreational purposes has never crossed my mind. All my trips to the airport were either to catch a flight or mainly to welcome the arrival of my loved ones.  They were usually a hasty process so most of the time I would be too preoccupied to explore the surroundings and amenities.

However, every time I was driven to the airport, my attention would never fail to wander off to the façade of Crowne Plaza  The 5-star airport hotel is exceptionally breathtaking with its captivating three-dimensional lace screens resembling orchid petals on the exterior.  It had an inviting presence, yet I had not been inside because I had never wanted to drift too far off the arrival and departure halls. Nobody I know has ever held a wedding banquet there too so there was absolutely no reason for me to set foot in the hotel.

But now, there could be an excuse for me to do so!

From 25 September to 29 November 2015, patrons are able to enjoy Singapore’s most-loved crustacean and delightful savoury and sweet crêpes in an East-meets-West fusion style buffet at the award-winning Azur Restaurant located on the second level of Crowne Plaza Changi Airport. Put together by Executive Chef Kiang Siang Heng and his culinary team, this special weekend-only dinner buffet boasts an array of delectable crab creations, poached tiger prawns and freshly shucked oysters at the seafood bar.

On top of that, diners can also expect sashimi, enticing appetisers like the oriental roasted crêpes (a.k.a Peking Duck Pancakes) and tasty soups at the buffet spread. Finally, finish off the hearty meal with a selection of beloved desserts like durian pancakes, chocolate fountain, ice cream and pastries to give your tongue a sweet twist.

Here are some of the highlights of the buffet that’s bound to be a hit with everyone, regardless of age and especially so if you’re an ultimate crab lover!

Appetisers and Soups

Let’s begin with the first course of the meal. There were 2 choices of soup available – the Hot and Sour Crabmeat and King Crab Bisque with Lemon Cream, each prepared to stimulate different parts of the taste receptors.

Hot and Sour Crabmeat Soup

Hot and Sour Crabmeat Soup

As the name implies, the Hot and Sour Crabmeat Soup was both hot in terms of temperature (not so of spiciness but it could be just me) and slightly acetic with a generous amount of crabmeat and carrot shredded in thin strips. If you’ve tried Sichuan Hot and Sour Soup before, this tasted exactly like it but probably with a lighter texture. However, the soup wasn’t really popular because there was obviously a better option right beside it.

King Crab Bisque with Lemon Cream

King Crab Bisque with Lemon Cream

Under the recommendation of Jolyn who had so kindly extended the media invitation to my boyfriend and I, I tried the King Crab Bisque. Thick, full-of-flavour and rich, the crab bisque was one of the best I had tasted and I had even helped myself to another serving (filled to the brim of the bowl) before leaving the restaurant. It was so darn good. To add a little crunch, I topped the soup with some croutons. Like a sponge, they absorbed the soup and created a mini taste explosion in the mouth. Wouldn’t mind going back again just for this.

Oriental Roasted Duck Crêpes

Oriental Roasted Duck Crêpes

Oriental Roasted Duck Crêpes

Oriental Roasted Duck Crêpes

Oriental Roasted Duck Crêpes

Oriental Roasted Duck Crêpes

Ever since Modern Peking Duck closed permanently at Vivocity and ION Orchard (and does anyone know why and where they are now?), boyfriend and I have been seriously deprived of some succulent Peking roast duck pancakes drenched in delicious hoisin sauce. Fortunately, our psychological craving for them was temporarily satisfied at Azur.

Prepared freshly at room temperature, these crêpes would vanish completely every time a new batch was brought forward. Each roll was made in relatively smaller portion so that you can easily pop it in your mouth. The duck meat was tender but not juicy enough to make up for the absence of hoisin sauce in the roll. Therefore, the entire crêpes actually felt a little dry.

Vegetable Terrine with Roasted Bell Pepper & Chervil Oil

Vegetable Terrine with Roasted Bell Pepper & Chervil Oil

It takes an acquired taste to appreciate terrines because of their unusual taste and texture. But if you love livers, you’d definitely love these. I couldn’t identify the type of meat used to make these terrines (though definitely not pork as Azur doesn’t serve pork and lard but it could well be chicken) because they were extremely soft and delicate to the touch with a buttery feel, like tofu but way smoother and mushier. It didn’t require much effort to break them apart because they would practically just melt in my mouth. However, as I’ve mentioned earlier, it’s not something that most people would enjoy and I, for one, did not 😦

The Homemade Crab in Crêpes Station

The Homemade Crab in Crêpes Station

Combining two main elements of the buffet, the Homemade Crab in Crêpes Station offers a variety of savoury crab fillings like Curry Mayonnaise Crab, Sambal Dry Shrimps Crab, Crab Meat Goulash, Honey Pineapple Chicken and Crab and Crab Wasabi on a plain yet delectable crêpe. The portion is humongous so you’d probably need to share it with your companions.

There is also another crêpe station where you can pick up a hot dessert of delicious French pancake in orange butter sauce.

Seafood Bar, Sashimi & Sushi

Moving on to another segment of the buffet, the seafood bar promises a wide selection of crab dishes such as Spanner Rock Crabs paired with fragrant coriander dressing and Cold Stone Crabs that are best eaten with a mandarin orange compote. You can also make your own cold seafood platter with some Cold Alaska Crab Claws, Poached Tiger Prawns, Freshly Shucked Oysters and perhaps Salmon Sashimi.

Freshly Shucked Oysters

Freshly Shucked Oysters

Perfectly shucked and smoothly tumbled, not a speck of dirt or shell fragmentation could be found on my glistening oysters which looked really seductive by the way. The oysters were gorgeously displayed on a bed of ice to keep them chilled. While they were all remarkably fresh, I felt that they could be even fresher if they were shucked to order. Nevertheless, the oyster flesh was huge, very meaty and slippery with a hint of natural saltiness. They had a distinctive seawater smell but it was mild enough to be overlooked. But if you’re easily bothered by it, you can squirt lemon juice over the oysters to mask the smell.

Spanner Rock Crabs

Spanner Rock Crabs

These Spanner Rock Crabs were a bit of a hassle to eat. Although they were already broken up at the carapace for patrons’ convenience, other areas like the claws were not. But even with a crab cracker, the shell took awhile to break because they were as hard as rocks. And the amount of cold crab meat you obtain after going through all the trouble is just miserable. Being the lazy person that I am, I don’t think this crab is worth all the effort and mess and I would rather spend the time on cooked crab dishes.

Poached Tiger Prawns

Poached Tiger Prawns

Sushi

Sushi

Salmon Sashimi

Salmon Sashimi

No Asian-theme buffet would be complete without a sushi bar. Likewise for Azur, it was no exception. The miniature sushi corner is stocked with Salmon and Tako sashimi and Ikura Salmon Roe Sushi Rolled with Crêpe that’s specially created to suit the theme. You would also be spoilt for choice with an assortment of Nigiri Sushi like Tamago, Ebi and Tuna. In need of more carbs to fuel your body? Try Cha Soba with Mud Crab Roe and Unagi!

But honestly, unless you’re a diehard sushi fan who, I don’t think the sushi are spectacular and can be skipped. The Salmon Sashimi were in dull orange and they lacked the shiok factor because they weren’t cold enough although they were replenished quite regularly. There were definitely other foods at the buffet that were more worthy of your stomach space.

Hot Asian and Western Crab Dishes

A varied selection of crab and seafood-theme Asian and Western dishes can be found at two show kitchens. The Hawker Stall features a different popular local crab dish rotated every thirty minutes to an hour. I spotted Salted Egg Crab while making my rounds and maybe Curry Crab too. If you’re lucky enough, you may find other crab dishes like Wok Fried Cereal Crab, Black Peppercorn Crab and Singapore Chilli Crab.

Salted Egg Crab

Salted Egg Crab

The Salted Egg Crab is another favourite dish of mine that evening. Coated with thick and grainy golden salted egg batter, the crabs were cut up into manageable portions with almost an equal proportions of meat in every little piece. Among them were chunks of salted egg batter which you can probably just eat for fun. Despite using smaller crabs for this dish, there was surprisingly an abundance of meat and the crab shell was interestingly edible as well!

Crab-Chicken Meat Stuffed Grilled Bell Peppers

Crab-Chicken Meat Stuffed Grilled Bell Peppers

Spanish Paella with Baked Crab and Tomato Sauce

Spanish Paella with Baked Crab and Tomato Sauce

If you’re beginning to suffer from crab-fatigue, fret not! There are also other hot dishes available at the Hawker Stall. There you will be able to find Crayfish with Blue Sea Prawn and Minced Chicken in “Rendang Style” and a Thai-inspired dish called “Bamee Poo”. The latter is an egg vermicelli noodle dish mixed with a rich sauce made of garlic, fish sauce and light sauce, topped with sweet steamed crab meat, fried ikan bilis and tangy green mustard. Whoa! Sounds absolutely marvelous, doesn’t it?

Blue Sea Prawn & Minced Chicken in Rendang Style

Blue Sea Prawn & Minced Chicken in Rendang Style

Deep-fried Crabmeat and Tofu with Leek & Oyster Sauce

Deep-fried Crabmeat and Tofu with Leek & Oyster Sauce

Grilled Beef Yakitori with Crabmeat Ball

Grilled Beef Yakitori with Crabmeat Ball

For diners who are looking for western options, some of the highlights from the Western show kitchen are the Saffron Rice with Tomato Crab, Baked Whole Barramundi Fish with Crab Meat Herbs Crust, BBQ Sri Lanka Crab, Crispy Dungeness Crab Cakes with Chestnuts in Mango-Pineapple Salsa and Steamed Stone Claw with Zesty Orange Horseradish Sauce.

Baked Whole Barramundi Fish with Crab Meat Herbs Crust

Baked Whole Barramundi Fish with Crab Meat Herbs Crust

Another highly sought-after dish at Azur, the whole Barramundi Fish (also known as Asian Seabass) was reduced to a partial skeleton within minutes of putting it out for the public to devour. The skin of the fish was fried to a crisp and its flesh were luscious and juicy. I had never seen nor tasted crust made of crab meat before so this was certainly new and refreshing to me.

Dessert Island

Finally, complete your feast with some desserts. At the dessert corner, you will be able to find timeless classics like Durian Pancakes and Chocolate Fountain with mixed berries, melons and marshmellows. Other forms of chilled miniature desserts are also available should you be too replete for anything more. All pastries except for the kuehs are personally prepared by the chef himself.

Durian Pancake

Durian Pancake

Regrettably, the miniature durian pancakes were a bit of a letdown. Not only were they cold and slightly soggy because they were obviously mass-prepared and left to cool for awhile, the pancake itself felt a little too mushy and starchy for my liking. Their only saving grace was perhaps the durian pulp which was fragrant (duh!) and creamy.

Kueh Pie Tee

Kueh Pie Tee

Ingredients for Kueh Pie Tee

Ingredients for Kueh Pie Tee

Marshmallows to dip into the chocolate fondue

Marshmallows to dip into the chocolate fondue

Garnishes for your ice cream

Garnishes for your ice cream

If I still had space for ice cream, I would have totally gone crazy with the garnishes especially those M&Ms chocolates!

Lemon Curd Pie

Lemon Curd Pie

With a portion so small, you definitely won’t feel guilty about eating these Lemon Curd Pie. Dressed with berries and a mixture of stevia and lemon powder, the pie gave an addictively tart flavour which propelled me to get another helping. It was piquant and delicious and I just loved how the beautiful crust crumbled in my mouth.

Green Tea Panna Cotta

Green Tea Panna Cotta

The visually striking presentation of the panna cotta first caught my attention. The soft and silky green tea cream sat cleverly atop a layer of mousse (can’t remember what flavour) and embellished with a rose macaron and a slice of strawberry. The cream had a faint tinge of bitterness but the overall taste was decent. Perhaps it would go better with red bean mousse.

Red Bean Custard

Red Bean Custard

More desserts

More desserts

Nutty Crumble & Coconut Tartlet

Nutty Crumble & Coconut Tartlet

Small enough to fit the entire piece into the mouth, these tartlets were not only aesthetically pleasing but also very easy to eat! Topped with blueberries and pounded nuts, the coconut-laden tartlets were dusted with cocoa powder on the surface. The blueberries lent a sweet flavour and juicy quality to the tartlet which could otherwise be dominated by the bland and fibrous grated coconut. Hence, the resulting taste was an exquisite surprise.

Nonya Kueh

Nonya Kueh

Nonya Kueh

Nonya Kueh

All in all, the extensive spread of high-quality food at the buffet was definitely beyond impressive. I like that diners can literally try all the different crab creations at the same time and to their heart’s content. But I feel the price tag of $75++ per person for a not-so-novel concept (as quite a number of restaurants have already rolled out similar crab-themed buffets in recent years) is a tad extravagant. On the other hand, crab lovers with an insatiable appetite may find the price extremely reasonable. So yeah, to each his own, I guess!

What do you think? How do you find the food? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

Thanks for the warm hospitality, Azur!

Thanks for the warm hospitality, Azur!

Thanks for reading!

The Crab and Crêpe Buffet is priced at $75++ per pax and available for dinner on Friday to Sunday. Prices are subjected to a 10% service charge and prevailing government taxes. Prior reservations are greatly encouraged.

Azur
Crowne Plaza @ Changi Airport
Level 2
75 Airport Boulevard
Singapore 819664
Call 6823 5354 for reservations
Website | Facebook | E-mail

Durian Fiesta 2015 & Taiwan Porridge Buffet @ Goodwood Park Hotel

Hey everyone!

It’s the time of the year again when the familiar pungent smell of durians fills the air of Geylang and many neighbourhood centres. Lovers of the world’s smelliest fruit crowd around durian stalls island-wide, looking to sink their teeth into the creamy, sweet (or bitter, if you’d like it to be) and fibrous flesh. Many businesses have also joined in the craze by incorporating the king of fruits into their menu – typically in buffet style – to entice durian lovers like myself who want to try something different. However, prices for such durian feasts tend to be on the high side so I had to narrow my choices down to one. And after much deliberation (RWS’ durian buffet looks really tempting too but is unfortunately way beyond my budget), I decided to give Durian Fiesta at Goodwood Park Hotel a go!

Incepted in 1983, the Durian Fiesta returns annually to much fanfare. This year, to commemorate Singapore’s 50th year of independence, it has also introduced 6 new creations made with D24 durians to the line-up of the durian-centric goodies, twice as many as usual. They are the Instagram-worthy Durian Rainbow Ice Cream Cake, Durian Carrot-Walnut Cake, Mini Durian Chocolate Wafer Rolls, Durian Macarons, Durian Egg Tartlets and “Mao Shan Wang” Horn which can be purchased at the hotel’s Deli starting from 16 March 2015.

The highly-anticipated dessert buffet with durian pastries was only available from 30 May during dinner and lunch at the Coffee Lounge. It was so popular that tables on the first week were fully snapped up when I tried to make my reservations. I had to wait ’til the following Friday to successfully get one :\

For S$35.80++ per person (or top-up S$28.80++ for Dessert Buffet with Durian Pastries with any a la carte main
course order), patrons would be treated to a nice selection of food at the buffet table, including some of the new creations that can be quite expensive if bought à la carte (à la carte prices in brackets).

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Durian puffs, one of the signature items offered at the buffet (U.P. S$8.55 for 2 pieces; S$21.40 for 6 pieces; S$51.35 for 20 pieces)

A signature at Goodwood Park Hotel, these pretty puffs have lavish swirls of creamy D24 durian carefully wedged between fluffy choux pastry cases.

I loved the thick and intensified durian puree and it’s such a fun pastry to eat because you can easily pop a few of these into your mouth due to its small size! But I felt that the puffs would be a lot nicer if they were refrigerated. Those I had were kept in room temperature for some time so it kinda lacked the shiok factor.

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Durian Mousse Cake (U.P. S$11.75 per slice; S$68.50 for 1.3kg cake; S$128.40 for 2.5kg cake; S$176.55 for 3.5kg cake)

The star that launched the inaugural Durian Fiesta in 1983, this legendary cake is ultimate indulgence with generous lashings of pulpy D24 durian mousse.

Probably the main highlight of this buffet, the cake scores high on presentation (love the little cubes of durian pastry studded on it) and taste. Described by my boyfriend as thick, moist and delicious, the cake was 100% pure rich durian which can be quite gelat (Singaporean slang for flavour overdose caused be having something overly sweet, salty, spicy and etc.) after a while so unless you’re obsessed with durians, you wouldn’t want to go beyond one slice.

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Durian Cappuccino Cake, back by demand after a 3-year absence (U.P.  $11.75 per slice; $62.05 for whole cake weighing 1 kg)

Back for the first time since its inception in 2011, this alluring cake is a 30cm-long stack of cappuccino
mousse, lush durian mousse and chocolate sponge ensconced in yellow-gold crumbs of vanilla sponge.

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Durian Macarons (U.P.  S$22.45 for 6 pieces)

Given a local slant are these French confections comprising creamy, pulpy durian sandwiched between crisp dark chocolate shells – simple, but satisfyingly decadent.

As a macaron lover, I was really looking forward to the durian macarons at the buffet! But they left me rather disappointed because I didn’t think that the (mild taste of) dark chocolate complemented well with the durian center. Boyfriend, on the other hand, felt that he was overdosing on sugar. You know, as boring as it may sound, I seriously wouldn’t mind if the macarons were made entirely of durians. Wouldn’t that be awesome?! 🙂

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Durian Wafer Roll (U.P. S$32.10 for 10 pieces)

Delicate in size but brimming with flavour, these thick wafer cylinders curled around pulpy durian cream are blanketed in dark chocolate and finished with chopped nuts for extra crunch.

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Making of Durian Crêpe

Making of Durian Crêpe

Making of Durian Crêpe

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Durian Crêpe (U.P. S$9.65 per piece; S$68.50 for 8 pieces)

Featuring creamy durian pulp neatly enveloped in ultra-thin crepe, this stellar dessert makes for a simple yet satisfying treat.

The mini durian crêpe was prepared in full view of the patrons and regularly replenished because they ran out so quickly. But we personally felt that they were nothing short of ordinary. The palm-sized crêpe was thin and not crispy at all (the chef could perhaps leave them on the pan for a little longer). Its only saving grace was the generous amount of durian puree wedged in the middle.

The above pastries pretty much constitute more than three-quarter of the durian dessert buffet. As you can see, not all the much-hyped new creations were included in the buffet. The food choices were indeed very limited too (in fact I was kinda astounded to see the limited selection of food the first time I entered the restaurant) and I wouldn’t recommend paying close to S$40 (seriously, with that kind of price for a substandard buffet, I’d rather spend it all on a few kilograms of 红虾 durians) for it despite the presence of regular sweet treats to make up for the shortcoming. Don’t expect to leave the place with a satisfied tummy if you’re merely there for the dessert buffet.

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Other food items available: Chocolate Banana Cake

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Sour Sop

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Rocher Roll

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Cheesecake, if my memory doesn’t fail me. It’s actually not bad!

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Ang Ku Kueh

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Kueh Lapis Sagu

Knowing that the dessert buffet wouldn’t fill us up, Boyfriend and I had opted for the Taiwan porridge à la carte buffet which is also inclusive of the dessert buffet with durian pastries. Although slightly more costly at S$49.80++ per person, the price difference of S$14++ gives you full access to free flow of sweet potato porridge and classic dishes so that you can eat to your hearts’ content. Furthermore, each guest also gets to enjoy 1 serving of D24 Durian Ice Cream with Rainbow Bread, created in celebration of the nation’s golden jubilee. Without a doubt, this buffet steals the limelight with its much wider variety and bigger portions of food as compared to the dessert buffet and it would be foolish not to settle for this buffet option when you’re there. After all, it’s what Goodwood Park Hotel is well-known for!

All dishes were freshly prepared in the kitchen and served to our table. Here’s what we ordered:

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Taiwanese Sausage (appetiser)

Apart from Taiwanese sausages, there were also Salted Fish with Salted Egg, Baby Squids in Sweet Oyster Sauce, Fried Taman Fish with Sesame Seeds and Shredded Bamboo Shoots with Chilli Oil that you can order for appetisers.

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Fried Omelette with Prawns and Onions

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Fried Omelette with Chye Poh

“When in doubt, choose both.” Hence, we got two different types of fried omelette because we simply couldn’t choose. Both were good and loaded with generous servings of prawns and chye poh. The omelette itself was thick and perfectly golden too!

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Wok Fried Beef with Black Pepper

Tender and tasty, the beef slices were sublime with the right chewy texture and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It would be better if more black pepper was sprinkled onto the beef though.

Another beef dish on the menu was Wok Beef with Spring Onions and Ginger which sounds absolutely mouth-watering, I know. I would order that as well if my stomach hadn’t filled to maximum capacity. 😐

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Stir Fried Kai Lan with Oyster Sauce

I ordered some greens to complete the meal and to hopefully relieve some of my body heat (from eating too much junk food recently). The Kai Lan was fresh and super crunchy. I loved it so much that I even called for a second serving.

Not a fan of Kai Lan? No worries. There are also other vegetable dishes to choose from including Stir Fried Broccoli with Garlic, Stir Fried French Beans with Dried Shrimps, Stir Fried Bean Sprouts with Salted Fish, Stir Fired Eggplant with Minced Pork and Stir Fried Kang Kong with Sambal. With so many varieties to choose from, you’re bound to find something you like or excites your palate 🙂

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Sautéed Chicken with Dried Chilli (宫保鸡丁)

Soft and savoury, the diced chicken glistened with the tangy coating sauce. The dried chilli also gave it an added tinge of spiciness. Yummy! 🙂

Also available are Sautéed Chicken with Spring Onions and Ginger, Fried Chicken with Prawn Paste (虾酱鸡) and Stir Fried Chicken with Black Beans. The menu also includes pork dishes such as Muy Choy with Pork, Steamed Minced Pork with Prawn Paste, Braised Pork Belly with Dark Soya Sauce and Shredded Pork with Preserved Vegetables.

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Steamed Sea Bass with Crispy Bean Paste

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Steamed Sea Bass with Crispy Bean Paste

The highlight of the meal, we had our money’s worth out of this steamed Sea Bass. The fish was reasonably big for 2 people and had incredibly fresh and tender flesh. The layer of fried garlic enhanced the overall flavour of the fish and gave it an extra crunch (saying this even though I absolutely detest fried garlic because I accidentally took a bite of the fish with some fried garlic and actually liked it!).

Unfortunately, fish dishes are only limited to one order per table so we didn’t get to try the other fish item on the menu – Deep Fried Pomfret with Black Soya Sauce. However, you get to enjoy unlimited serving of the Sautéed Prawns with Dried Chilli which is also on the seafood menu.

As we were already partially satiated from the durian buffet, we didn’t have the stomach space for more porridge dishes such as beancurd (boyfriend’s favourite). Beancurd lovers would be ecstatic to know that there are 4 different types of beancurd dishes to choose from namely Chilled Beancurd in Japanese Soya Sauce and Pork Floss, Braised Beancurd with Minced Meat, Braised Beancurd with Chicken and Salted Fish and Home Styled Tofu.

Towards the end of the meal, we were served the D24 Durian Ice Cream with Rainbow Bread but to our disappointment, it turned out to be entirely different from what we had expected.

We got this:

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D24 Durian Ice Cream with Rainbow Bread (S$7.50++)

..when we were actually expecting this:

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Durian Rainbow Ice Cream Cake (S$11.75++)

Imagine our surprise when we were served the actual Durian Ice Cream with Rainbow Bread. I couldn’t help but feel slightly cheated. 😦

Granted, it was probably our fault for misreading the name but surely Goodwood Park Hotel could have done a better job at coming up with a more distinctive name for the rainbow bread, right? Or perhaps, place a picture of the product somewhere on the menu to avoid confusion (especially) among first-timers like us because I’m sure we weren’t the only ones being misled.

But anyway, we tried the one with the rainbow bread (a scoop of D24 durian ice cream sandwiched between bread) and subsequently bought a piece of the Durian Rainbow Ice Cream Cake (a layer of vivid-coloured cake hugging the core of the D24 durian ice cream) before we left the restaurant. Countless photos of the latter have been making the rounds on various social media platforms so it was absolutely necessary to try it or my durian buffet experience would be incomplete. Both of them contain luscious D24 durian ice cream but of course, the one embedded in the Durian Rainbow Ice Cream Cake was bigger, richer and more satisfying which tasted a lot like the actual fruit. For S$11.75++, you’re actually paying for the novelty. It’s delectable but a little too expensive for a cake slightly bigger than the size of my.. palm? Still, I’d recommend durian lovers to give it a try 🙂

On the overall, the dessert buffet with durian pastries was a hit or miss and definitely not worth the price tag. But the Taiwan porridge à la carte buffet was commendable and certainly warrants a second visit.

Durian Fiesta Price Options (16 Mar 2015 – 2 Aug 2015)

$35.80++ per person (Dessert Buffet with Durian Pastries only)
$28.80++ per person (Top-up of Dessert Buffet with Durian Pastries with any a la carte main course order)
$49.80++ per adult, $24.90++ per child (Taiwan Porridge A La Carte Buffet, inclusive of Dessert Buffet with Durian Pastries)

Dine-in prices are subject to 10% service charge and prevailing GST. Child price is for children aged 6 – 11 years

That’s all I have for this review!

Thanks for reading ❤

Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road
Singapore 228221
Durian Fiesta: 16 March 2015 – 2 August 2015
Deli operating hours: 9:00am to 9:00pm
Coffee Lounge operating hours: 12:00pm to 2:30pm (lunch),
6:00pm to 10:30pm (dinner)
Tel: 6737 7411
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Reservations

A Tribute to Mum @ Café Brio’s (Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel)

Hey everyone!

It’s the start of a brand new month again and we are fast approaching midyear 2015! But like the month of December, May is another month of endless spending for me. Not only is Mother’s Day around the corner, my Mom’s birthday happens to be in May too. And because my Mom enjoys being pampered, I usually don’t hold joint celebrations although both days are just a week apart.

Coincidentally, my boyfriend’s mother was also born in May – more than one year and a day before my Mom. Thus it makes remembering her birthday a cinch because she would celebrate hers on the following day of my Mom’s. However, due to our conflicting schedules, very seldom we would celebrate her birthday on the actual day. It’s often done in advance so as to avoid the Mother’s Day crowd and surcharges (and also because being Chinese, you know, belated celebrations are usually frowned upon). This year we had it at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel because of a two-week long Mother’s Day buffet promotion going on at Café Brio’s.

For just S$48++ per person, you get to treat your beloved Mom to a pre-Mother’s Day hi-tea cum local barbeque buffet on 2 May and 9 May (basically, the two Saturdays prior to Mother’s Day), or a Mother’s Day lunch or dinner cum seafood barbeque buffet for S$68++ and S$78++ per person respectively on 3 May and 10 May.

Café Brio’s A Tribute to Mum

Thank Mum for her dedication to the family with a gratuitous buffet spread, featuring Osaka crab salad with Champagne gelee, jumbo king prawn with asparagus spear and mild spicy tomato cream sauce and seafood on ice. She’ll love the beef steak, slipper lobster, scallop on half shell, salmon fillet and stingray at the barbecue station. Sweeten her taste-buds with lovely peach melba roulade and mini chocolate glazed cupcakes.

All Mums will be presented with a heart-shaped cookie.

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Here are some highlights of the hi-tea buffet last Saturday 🙂

Pastries and Desserts

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Mother’s Cup Cake Tower

I was instantly drawn to the colourful display of the cake tower upon entering the buffet. They’re so adorable, don’t you think? But for the longest time, these red velvet cupcakes were left untouched, probably no one wanted to ruin their nice arrangement. It was interrupted by me in the end, haha. The cupcake was moist and sweet. Would help myself to more servings if not for being weight-conscious.

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Chocolate Brownie

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Nonya Kueh

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“Lovely” Peach Melba Roulade

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Chocolate Cream

Topped with golden chocolate pearls, these chocolate mousse were so alluring, I couldn’t resist taking one for myself. I only ate half of it (it was so hard stopping myself) because the thickness of the chocolate made me feel so sinful, oh my God. It was good nonetheless!

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Durian Swiss Roll

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Ice Cream – Mango, Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate flavours

They were surprisingly soft as the scoop glided through the ice cream with ease. There are also waffle cones for you to scoop the ice cream onto them. I took 2 scoops – mango and vanilla 🙂

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Chocolate fondue

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Not sure what this is but I think it’s a kind of Nonya kueh

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Mini Nine Layer Kueh 九层糕

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Mini Egg Tarts

The egg tarts were a little tasteless in my opinion, and it would be better if the crusts were a little crispier and more flaky. It was a shame because I really love egg tarts and was looking forward to devouring most of them. But I really like how shiny the egg custard looked 🙂

Japanese Cuisine

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An array of sushi

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Sushi again

I kinda shunned this section because it’s rice overload. I wished there were Sashimi! But most of the sushi were gone by the second hour of the buffet so I guess they are decent.

Local Delights

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Wok-Fried Vegetables

Don’t judge me – this is one of my favourite dishes that afternoon, so much so that I actually went back to the buffet table thrice for it. I’m really not much of a greens person but the bok choy was really delicious and soft.

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Glutinous Rice

I took a small spoonful of the rice and was actually yearning for more. It was really nice and well executed 🙂

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Stir-fried Tiger Prawns

Probably the most popular dish on the buffet table, the tiger prawns were gone in a flash shortly after we took our food, thanks to the convenience of shelled prawns. Seriously, I doubt they would be so sought after if they had their shells intact. They were scrumptious, fresh and slightly bigger than normal prawns though (which is a bonus for buffets). But replenishment was kinda slow so we actually had to wait a bit before we could go for a second serving.

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Wok-fried Singapore Chilli Clams

The clams were generously huge and meaty for a buffet. Not to mention, they were pretty fresh too. The chilli gravy was divine. If you’re a fan of chilli crab, you would like this as much.

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Mantou

I suppose the steamed buns were meant to be dipped into the gravy of the chilli clams above. But they were a little too tough for my liking.

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Fried fish

Dim Sum

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There were mini Bao and Siew Mai (not in photo)

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Fried crab meat sticks

You know that the buffet is extremely kids-friendly when they have a section dedicated to simple fried food like the above. Apart from crab meat sticks, there were also fried tapioca. Fried crab meat sticks are also my personal favourite which I often snacked on during my secondary school days so I was really excited to see them at the buffet.

Sandwiches

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Focaccia Bread filled with Tuna Mayo and Green Salad

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Mini Soft Bun with Chicken Floss… and some tortilla chips?

The mini soft buns tasted like BreadTalk’s Flosss lah with the sweet cream and generous layer of floss, just that instead of pork floss, it’s chicken. The bun itself was soft. Not bad! But I wouldn’t binge on bread at a buffet.

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Mini Croissant with Turkey Ham and Cherry Tomato

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Apricot and Rum

Salad

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Beetroot salad

I attempted to cleanse my bowels with some beetroot salad. Was apprehensive at first because I had only tried beetroot in juice form but this was surprisingly good and fun to eat.

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Fussili Pasta with Semi-Dried Tomatoes

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Glass Noodle Salad with Top Shell

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Garden salad

Barbecue

The barbecue corner can be found outdoors (near the section where the dim sum is) which isn’t very conspicuous if you’re not attentive enough.

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All kinds of freshly barbecued Satay

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Barbecued sausages

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Barbecued sausages

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Barbecued wings

Asian Desserts

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DIY Ice Kacang

It was a messy affair making my own Ice Kacang because I suck at using the shaved ice machine, but it was tons of fun! It was even more satisfying being able to decide how much of the syrup you want to drizzle over the mountain of ice (though mine was pretty much a hill.. or perhaps, a pile of gravel) because I totally went crazy with them. My creation was so sweet it could give me diabetes.

There was also a corner that served Laksa (prepared by a chef) and had several pots of western soup. I tried Creme of Mushroom but it was a tad tasteless (still decent and worth a try on the overall) so be sure to look out for those when you’re at the buffet!

Last but not least, if you’re going with your Mom, she will be given a heart-shaped cookie as mentioned in the blurb above!

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Aiya, a bit broken liao.

There will still be another (last) session of Hi-Tea cum Local Barbecue Buffet this coming Saturday before the café reverts to their normal menu so be sure to make a reservation for that one. After all, it’s only S$48++ for a wide spread of food (even though it’s only hi-tea). It’s a steal if you ask me. And I’m sure your Mom would have a whale of a time there too!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Café Brio’s @ Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel (beside Zouk)
392 Havelock Road
Singapore 169663
For reservations, call 6233 1100 or email dining.gcw@millenniumhotels.com
Website: A Tribute to Mum at Café Brio’s

Free Flow of Wagyu Beef @ Tenkaichi

Hello everyone!

This year marks Singapore’s Golden Jubilee (or SG50 for short) and many discounts tied to it have been sprouting up everywhere as early as last year, much to the delight of penny-punching people like myself. I have enjoyed discounts at participating shops especially eateries which were unknown to me previously (or I didn’t patronise because of the price). News of such discounts are usually spread by word of mouth (such as Facebook), just like how I got to know about Tenkaichi‘s fabulous promotion. In conjunction with SG50, Tenkaichi is rolling out their best deal ever:

Premium BBQ Buffet with Free Flow of Wagyu Beef at only S$50+ on weekdays and $55+ on weekends!

*jaw drops*

Boyfriend and I are huuuuge lovers of Wagyu beef. But we don’t eat it often because it’s considered as a luxury food which can cost at least S$50 per a hundred grams. Heck, even fresh Wagyu beef sold at our local grocery stores aren’t cheap! So S$50+ (there isn’t GST but there is a 10% service charge) for free flow of Wagyu beef is definitely a steal! Fortunately, we learned about the promotion early and made dinner reservations at the restaurant 3 weeks in advance because all slots were snapped up very quickly!

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Shopfront at City Gate (Keypoint)

Keypoint is about a 3-4 minutes’ walk away from Nicoll Highway MRT station. It’s quite convenient because there is an overhead bridge leading all the way from the train station to Keypoint, so you don’t have to cross the road at all! Tenkaichi is located on your right if you use the correct entrance but it’s also not difficult to find it if you enter through a different door.

Like Keypoint, the interior design of the restaurant speaks of mediocrity and the age of the premises. As someone who values first impression, very often I equate good decor to good food (although I’m always proven wrong). The ancient-looking floor carpet in the restaurant certainly made me have second thoughts about the positive reviews I read online about Tenkaichi. It’s hard to imagine that a restaurant like this would be the home of the top award-winning Japanese BBQ Buffet Restaurant in Singapore specialising in premium quality Wagyu beef.

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Cooked food section

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Takoyaki

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Tempura and others

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Sushi

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Fruits

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Pickles

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Sauce and condiments

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Ice cream which we never got to try because we were too full by the end of our meal!

But contrary to my suspicion, it does serve premium Wagyu beef and it’s so damn good. It’s definitely not a gimmick. As boyfriend described, he could really taste the superiority of the beef and every piece melted in his mouth. I dare say that it’s also one of the best I’ve eaten so far at such an affordable price. In fact, with Tenkaichi’s lowest price guarantee, if you find another restaurant in Singapore at a lower price, they would gladly beat it by 10%! Of course, terms and conditions apply 🙂

Diners are given a 2-hour limit for the buffet to which a restaurant staff would remind about half an hour before the time is up. The time limit is more than enough for people with small stomach capacity like myself. But for people like my boyfriend who can eat a bull (literally), you’d be wishing for a time extension!

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Wagyu Beef Yukke, marinated Wagyu Beef with Egg Yolk, to be mixed and eaten raw!

The above is my FAVOURITE Wagyu beef dish of the night. The slimy texture of the beef may seem revolting to some but trust me, it’s absolutely tasty! It’s like eating sashimi, but better!

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Wagyu Karubi, Wagyu beef short rib

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Wagyu Nakaochi Karubi (Wagyu beef rib intercostal)

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Short ribs mixed

Some of the short ribs are cut in thick slices which Bf and I found hard to bite.

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Wagyu Tataki, lightly grilled Wagyu beef sashimi. To be eaten raw as well! But I’d suggest to leave that stomach space for the Wagyu Beef Yukke mentioned above!

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A plate of sashimi – Shiro Maguro (white tuna), Tako (octopus) and Shime Saba (vinegar-pickled mackerel). HEAVENLY.

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Hotate, giant scallop – really nice and soft when it’s grilled!

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Shake Sashimi, Norway salmon sashimi. They weren’t served cold but they were fresh nonetheless!

The salmon sashimi was a last-minute order because we wanted to just have Wagyu beef throughout the course of our buffet meal. But leaving out salmon sashimi at a Japanese buffet just didn’t quite do for me!

The food was served very quickly although many a time the restaurant staff got our orders wrong. But they took our rejection in stride and got our orders out within a few minutes. Amidst the surge of patrons, the staff never failed to flash an amiable smile on their face and assist in the needs of the customers. I was truly impressed!

More pictures of the meat on the grill to make you drool.

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The grill was constantly loaded with Wagyu beef because it’s free flow!

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The grill warmed up very quickly and the beef cooked relatively fast!

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About done

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Ready to eat! Yummy 🙂

Bf and I made a pact to return again even though the SG50 promotion is going to end today (5 April 2015). He has nothing but praises for the Wagyu beef and it’s not very often that he would rave so much about something. It must be really good then! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Tenkaichi Japanese Restaurant
371 Beach Road,
City Gate (Keypoint) #01-18/19
Singapore 199597
Tel: 65 – 6293 4498
Email: tenkaichi_sg@yahoo.com.sg
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