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Archive for the ‘Buffets’ Category

Inspired by the artisanal brasseries lining the French Riveria which gives diners a beautiful riverfront view, Kwee Zeen similarly offers a dining experience with an unrivalled backdrop of the South China Sea.

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It took me a moment to realize that this used to be The Terrace where we had a superb gourmet Sunday Champagne Brunch a couple of years ago. Like The Terrace, Kwee Zeen has upped the champagne brunch game by introducing a Magnifique Sunday Champagne Brunch, featuring an extravagant spread of epicurean indulgences and free flow of premium Taittinger Champagne.

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Highlights include a hearty selection of succulent live seafood, foie gras cooked a la minute, fromage and charcuteries, tandoor, and not forgetting desserts on trolley and handcrafted truffles of unique flavours!

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There’s even a DIY caviar counter complete with blinis, ikura, creme fraiche and other garnishes.

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Don’t miss the interesting cured salmon marinated with coffee! I wouldn’t have imagined this pairing but it works.

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Even the gourmet cheese selection was overwhelming. 32 variations, take your pick!

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Okie, the highlight of brunch for me was not the champagne, not the oysters, not the lobsters, not the caviar, not the cheese…

It was the one and only DUNGENESS CRAB!!!

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I was planning to try all the different kinds of crabs available but the chef helming the crab station confidently placed one whole crab on my plate and told me “just try this, you won’t want to try the others after this”. I nodded and smiled but was secretly thinking I’d be back to try the others after this! Well, I was wrong, she was right! This huge dungeness crab was amazing!!! Super meaty and that fresh roe!! I polished off two of these monsters and didn’t have much tummy space for anything else but…

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Desserts, what else!

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Compared to The Terrace, the sweets selection has definitely been pared down. There’s the usual cakes, mousses, jellies, ice cream, crepes etc, nothing particularly memorable.

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That said, I do love the assorted truffles here! So much so that I probably downed 15 of these handmade and of good quality chocolates oops #whatdiet Black sesame, oolong, durian, coconut, dulce de leche, those are some of my personal favourite flavours!

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Magnifique Sunday Champagne Brunch is available every Sunday, from 12.30pm to 3.30pm:
$168++ per adult with free-flow Taittinger Champagne & wine
$138++ per adult with free-flow soft drinks & juices
$58++ per child (aged 5 to 11 years old) with free-flow soft drinks & juices

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Our thanks to Pearly for spending Sunday with us!

Kwee Zeen
Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa
2 Bukit Manis Road Sentosa
Singapore 099891
+65 6708 8366

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It’s not an exaggeration when I say Brizo‘s latest promotion ‘Crazier about Crabs‘ is really all about crabs!

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K was hoping for some beef/chicken for his meal but (sadly for him, fortunately for me) almost everything is in one crab form or the other. In fact, the spread features 22 types of crab dishes and 26 kinds of seafood – heaven for pescetarians but not so much for K who is not that into crabs oops. Aprons and gloves are thoughtfully provided but using hands is always the best!

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Into its second year now (because the first year was a hit!), one of the new unique star dishes is the cooked-to-order ‘Crab in a Pan‘. Each pan contains a whole crab, prawns, clams, black mussels, potatoes, corn and sausages. We had ours cooked in bouillabaisse and it was hearty enough to be a meal on its own!

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Even though the variety is so wide, I made sure I tried every single crab! All-time favourites can be found – sweet-piquant chilli crab (a Brizo signature!), salted egg yolk crab (batter too thick, skip), butter crab (sauce too heavy, skip again), black pepper crab (I like this!), “heavenly fragrance” crab, steamed XO crab, Indian spice flower crab masala (the best out of the lot thanks to the aromatic gravy).

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There’s also crabmeat kueh pie tee, crabmeat fried rice, soft shell crab and baked crab in shell – all of which I didn’t try since I was saving stomach space for the more important stuff ha. Luckily for K, he found the laksa corner! Seriously, it was apparently so good that he had two servings! We balanced the savoury with sweets from the dessert corner – mini magnum (my first ever, un-un-un-un-unbelievable right) and homemade durian pengat hit all the right spots!

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Crazier about Crabs
Ends on 28 June 2015; Buffet dinner only
Wednesday to Thursday: Adult $68++ / Child $34++
Friday to Sunday: Adult $80++ / Child $40++

My thanks to Yan and Licya for arranging dinner!

Brizo Restaurant & Bar
Park Hotel Clarke Quay
1 Unity Street
Singapore 237983
6593 8888

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Named after the address of Mandarin Orchard Hotel – 333 Orchard Road – Triple Three usually offers a spread of Japanese-inspired international buffet but from now till 26 April 2015, it’s game on for The Great Big American Buffet!

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At the launch event on 9 April, we were lucky to witness the making of Singapore’s first giant burger! Over 60kg of beef, 100 whole eggs, 15kg of flour and 5kg of onions were used to set a new mark in the Singapore Book of Records for the Largest Hamburger in Singapore. The burger measured 82cm by 40cm and weighed approximately more than 100kg! That’s more than twice my weight omg. It was rather scary and so unreal. But genuine it was as the mammoth burger was later sliced and distributed to all guests at the event after the SBOR certificate was presented to the hotel for the achievement, well done!

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As for the restaurant’s Great Big American Buffet which is available only during dinner and Sunday brunch, expect iconic American dishes made from air-flown ingredients from the good ole USA. Nowadays it takes a lot to impress me because I still believe buffets earn their bucks from selling quantity than quality. But K and I were pleasantly surprised – not only was the selection extensive, the standard was pretty darn high for a buffet. We loved that there were several cooking stations where chefs cooked our food a la minute – freshly sliced sashimi, grilled Boston lobsters, New England clam chowder, hand carved oven-roasted US prime beef, fajitas and tacos, mini sliders with Monterey Jack cheese and so much more (you must try the whole roasted halibut – I went back for it thrice)!

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Desserts were definitely not an afterthought over here. Classic American sugary treats include New York cheesecake, berry trifle, chocolate fudge, blackforest cake, tri-chocolate cream pie and pecan pie. Then there’s also the liquid chocolate fondue (seems to be a must-have at any self-respecting buffets these days), opera cake, mousse, ice cream and even cute little molten chocolate cakes! There’s nothing quite like an awesome sweet finish yeah (spot the American slang ha).

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The Great Big American Buffet
Price: $108++ (adult) / $42++ (child)
Promotion: Citibank card holders are entitled to 50% off for every second diner!

My thanks to Ikram for the kind invitation!

Triple Three
Mandarin Orchard Singapore
333 Orchard Road
6831 6288/6271

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Pontini, the long-standing Italian restaurant at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, has unveiled a brand new Italian buffet featuring a plethora of antipasti, breads, soup, main courses and desserts from various regions in Italy. Priced at $48++ for adult and $24++ for child on Saturdays and public holidays from noon to 3pm, I thought that it was very value for money, especially for the quality (rather than quantity, which is rare for buffets).

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I found myself heading back to the antipasti corner again and again – wholesome baked butternut squash, crab meat and black truffle tapenade; juicy grilled Portobello mushrooms with sweet chilli and arugula salad; Tuscany-style marinated octopus, chickpeas and green asparagus salad; assorted Italian cold cuts served with candied fruit mustard, sweet onion chutney and grain mustard (I made the rounds for K too!); and the crisp, leafy radicchio, pear, Gorgonzola cheese salad tossed with aged balsamic vinegar etc.

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Pastas are whipped up a la minute at the live station by the team of chefs. You can DIY your pasta – choice of pasta (tagliolini, penne, tagliatelle) and preparation methods (aglio oliotomato basil fondue, “Roman” style carbonara, wild mushroom with pancetta and pine nuts, “Genovese” style basil pesto sauce). Mine was given a luxurious touch because I was really lucky to “bump” into both black and white whole truffles! Freshly shaved truffles onto our plates of carbonara and mushroom tagliatelle upped the delicious scale by several notches!

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Main courses were kept to a minimal – Piedmont-style braised beef brisket and potato fondant in herb gravy; sauteed live mussels in crustacean saffron broth and broccoli floret; chicken thigh “Diavola” paired with spicy capsicum tomato sauce and dried oregano. My favourite was no doubt the oven-baked Norwegian salmon mignon in pistachio crust. I love that it was not overcooked despite sitting in the warming tray and the delicately nutty and crunchy crust provided a delightful contrast to the tender flesh!

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A finale for an Italian meal cannot be without desserts right?! The ensemble of mini tiramisu, zesty lemon tart, vanilla panna cotta, pistachio almond biscotti and stracciatella ricotta cannoli prepared deftly at the live station left us completely satiated. I usually left buffets feeling overstuffed but not this time! Everything was just right 🙂

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Our thanks to Jennifer and Shawn for the kind invitation!

Pontini Italian Buffet
Level 2, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel
392 Havelock Road
Singapore 169663
6233 1100

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I first came into contact with Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore a few weeks ago when they invited their media friends and business partners over for a house party.

Wait a minute, Hotel Jen? New hotel in Singapore? Nope, it’s the rebranded Traders Hotel with a refreshed identity inspired by the virtual persona Jen, a professional hotelier who loves life, travel and the adventure of discovering new places!

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Boy, the team at Hotel Jen really knew how to throw a party – superbrunch (the spread was huge!), human foosball (we won, yay!) and lucky draws (no luck sigh). Anyway, we were told of the rebranding offer (ending Nov 30 so check out the “Weekend Staycation at Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore” offer which expires 31 Dec 2015 instead!) at the party which sounded very attractive – $230++ for buffet breakfast in Cafebiz, 20% discount at Ah Hoi’s Kitchen, free WiFi etc etc – and I thought, K’s birthday is coming up so why not right?

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Actually, K’s birthday is at the end of this month but he will be celebrating it in Thailand (army duty for 2+ weeks!) so I wanted to surprise him with a weekend staycation. I even gave him an invitation card to complete the surprise – he totally didn’t see it coming!

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We were assigned a Club Room on the highest floor which is 25sqm size and comes with an en-suite bathroom. Honestly, the room (see above) looks quite “tired” right? So I’m glad to report that the rooms will be renovated (hotel will remain open) to feature modern, apartment-style furnishings such as a bay window sofa –> see mock up room below which was introduced to us at the party. Such a big difference!

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Our room faced the pool and we spotted our dinner venue! You can’t see it in the photo but the signage of Ah Hoi’s Kitchen is right above the yellow umbrellas ha.

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Poolside dining at Ah Hoi’s Kitchen was unexpectedly impressive! My favourite dishes are both crab-based – soft shell crabs stir fried with almond and just a handful of chopped chilli padi (so fragrant!) and the meaty salted egg yolk crab from Sri Lanka. The salted egg yolk sauce was rather magical – usually it gets overwhelming after the initial “shiokness” but the version here had a hint of spicy heat and balanced flavour. Simply 好吃!

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K is a gym junkie so it’s great that the gym is 24 hours and has decent equipment! We also took the opportunity to use the sauna, steam bath and whirlpool facilities located within the spa… Staycation bliss!

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Time always fly by so much faster during a staycation! We woke up not wanting to check out haha. Our breakfast at Cafebiz was very hearty because of the vast spread of food! Asian, international and local cuisines, made to order eggs any style, breads and danishes, cereals and fruits, hot dishes, and there’s even an ice cream section omg. I applaud the idea of having a “tapao” corner – guests can openly takeaway food and drinks from the buffet using the disposable boxes and cups provided, nice!

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The Club Lounge also offers breakfast but a smaller spread – continental and classic hot items such as eggs, bacon and sausages. Throughout the day, there’s free drinks and snacks, along with canapes and wines in the evening. Again, the lounge seems kind of old so I can’t wait to see how it looks after the facelift!

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I must really thank the staff at Hotel Jen for delivering a surprise birthday cake to our room! The soccer balls (K is a huge fan and plays every week) were such a thoughtful touch, thank you!

Other points-scoring aspects of Hotel Jen include fruit cups inside the fridge (conventional whole fruits are so yesterday and chilled fruits do make a difference!), refreshing infused water served in the lobby and at various places (Level 2, Ah Hoi’s Kitchen) and the useful mobile chargers displayed at the lobby (I always see guests camping by the chargers haha).

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And with that, our weekend staycation came to an end… Quirky cushions on sofa, see you soon! I’ll be keeping a lookout for the various room offers on your website!

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My heartfelt thanks to Wai Ling and the team at Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore for making our stay so comfortable and memorable!

Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore (Formerly Traders Hotel)
1A Cuscaden Road
Singapore 249716
6738 2222
hjs@hoteljen.com

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The gourmet Sunday Champagne Brunch at The Terrace in Sentosa is an underrated gem that has both a quality spread (features signature dishes of award-winning restaurant The Cliff) and an attractive price tag – $109++ per adult (top up $20++ for free flow wine or $40++ for all-you-can-drink wine and Moët/Chandon champagne). Kids aged 5 to 12 years eat for $79++ (I don’t have kids but honestly, I won’t bring them even if I do, waste of money haha) and it’s available every Sunday from noon to 3pm.

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The wide array of food was impressive! The cold seafood selection had oysters, prawns, mussels and omg, I finally had my fair share of lobsters that day! So sweet and meaty that I couldn’t help going back for more. Apparently there was supposed to be crabs too but we didn’t see any. And of course, we also spent a good amount of time at the Japanese section – fresh salmon/maguro sashimi, the usual maki rolls (don’t eat too much rice at buffets!) and there’s even unagi sushi! We didn’t try any of the cheese and charcuterie (not a fan) but the selection looked good, with an assortment of popular cheeses by renowned cheese masters such as Guiffanti from Italy and Phillipe Olivier and Ceneri from France.

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Against the backdrop of lush greenery and complete with panoramic sea view are the “live” carving, barbecue and cooked food stations. Expect wagyu beef rump, fat sausages, bloody steaks, dim sum, roast duck and tandoori meats with naans. Foie gras lovers, heads up! There’s also pan-fried foie gras prepared a-la-minute. K could only stomach one piece cuz it was so rich and decadent haha. Oh ya, there’s even an outdoor band serenading the diners amidst the tranquil setting.

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My favourite part of the buffet was the gorgeous chocolate room! Once we stepped in, the aroma of chocolate hit us right away. Taking centre stage is a table full of petite cakes, mousses, jellies, brownies, macarons, meringues, pralines and pastries which are baked in-house. Surrounding it are more cakes, white and dark chocolate fondue, a crepe station, and tubs of Häagen-Dazs ice cream. Everything looked so tempting!

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I told K that we must try everything and so we did! The chocolate brownies and cakes were the most calories-worthy (skip the fruity ones which were so-so) and each of us had three scoops of ice cream (macadamia ftw!!) with toppings, hehe. To inject an element of fun (and creativity?), there’s a station for us to decorate our own cupcakes! I concede defeat and admit that we are not talented at all haha –> see photos of end result here and here. No wonder cupcakes are so expensive hmm. Anyway, overall I think this is one of the best buffets we’ve tried this year! Both the sweet and savoury tooth were well-satisfied. Will be back!

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My thanks to Candice for inviting and making the arrangement!

The Terrace
The Singapore Resort & Spa Sentosa
2 Bukit Manis Road, Sentosa
6371 1414

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I’m thrilled that Kensai Kitchen has opened ts first overseas outpost at Liang Court, mostly because my office is a short walk away and it means more lunch options for us working folks!

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‘Kensai’ in Japanese is represented by two characters: 健菜, i.e. ‘healthy’ and ‘vegetable’. This is not a misnomer as there is indeed a focus on fresh vegetables in the buffet spread! The number of calories per serving for each dish is also stated clearly, though I could do without knowing haha *guilty of overeating*

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Priced at $19.90++ on weekdays and $24.90++ on weekends, this is one of the most affordable buffets in town! Of course, managing expectations is a must as there are only about 15 dishes available. Don’t expect premium sashimi, sushi and any fancy Japanese dishes because the concept is “serving the closest thing you’ll get to Japanese home cooking outside of a Japanese family home”. Think home-cooked, simple and comforting food such as Nikujaga (beef stew), Chikuzen-ni (one-pot simmered chicken), Renkon Kinpira (braised lotus root), spinach sesame and hijiki seaweed salads~

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Highlight of our meal was definitely the fresh salmon sashimi! We had an overdose, oops.

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Special thanks to Ida for inviting and arranging this tasting!

Kensai Kitchen
#B1-03/04/05 Liang Court
177 River Valley Road
6337 5105

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