Tag Archives: olive tree
Lobster, Crab & Average Buffet @ Spices Cafe on 31Oct2014
a friend organised the monthly RI schoolmates dinner at spices cafe, concord hotel yesterday on 31.10.2014. it was a really fun evening with a lot of interesting conversation. i am just quoting our great philosopher-
the analogy we cooked up to explain our senior moments. it was triggered by a friend’s reference to cloud storage as in the IT terminology eg Dropbox. our memory storage is in the cloud. it is just that we forget the password at times to unlock the specific memory storage. that’s why it helps to have shared storage in the cloud. if one forgets, another remembers. we need all the help we can get when our own neurons refuse to do the job.
see how fun our get-togethers are…with genius like this spewing jewels of wisdom…haha! 🙂
the dinner buffet came with 1 order only of 1/2 cheese baked gratin lobster (or alternatively abalone). they said 200g though it looked bigger. the preparation though was so-so, the meat didn’t feel bouncy so either it was not a live lobster or maybe slight overdone.
the abalone was small c/w say the 2in size & more importantly excellent tasting abalone at ah yat abalone restaurant in a 5-course dinner groupon deal costing only S$28.80.
the buffet also included unlimited order of crabs prepared 5 ways – thai basil, pepper, chilli, salted egg & butter baked.
the preparations were ok. for me, thai basil & salted egg were best, pepper ok, butter baked so-so. i did not try chilli.
the crab were the indonesian mud crab type or maybe vietnamese, not the large sri lankan crab. meat was sweet, not the very firm standard, but not falling apart also. i think “boleh la” – ok & really i seldom eat crab as they are really expensive in seafood restaurants, so it may actually make sense if you want to “whack” the crabs to come & makan here! 🙂
we were too busy talking & having fun & did not even order a second round, but i made sure i tasted most of it, well except the chilli crab. 🙂
the cold appetiser section had oysters(good), mussels(ok), scallops on shell(i did not want to try, it looked like just taken out of deep freeze & thawed just as 1 blogger commented), salmon belly sashimi (good), maguro & tai sashimi, prawns & some sushi (the last 4 i likewise did not want to try. the sushi looked like the supermarket type).
i also took smoked salmon (so so, i should say poor actually), and a marinated saba (ok). did not try the prawns & cold pasta.
fortunately, salmon belly sashimi was really quite good, and the oyster too, so that was quite enough for me.
satay was good, and they actually had the pineapple sauce (not so common these days).
laksa was good, lemak. as good as any of the “katong laksa” around & the sungei road laksa. i had a second helping, maybe should have gone for a third.
i did not touch any of the cooked food. did not attract me, anyway, with lobster, crab, 2 helpings of oyster & sashimi & laksa, it was kind of enough, not too bad. 🙂
the cheese & salad bar was ok if limited. i took the brie & the blue. 🙂
the fruits were good. i had 2 helpings of pineapples & watermelon, and they had a lot of dried fruits like figs, apricots & prunes that i liked.
overall, i find spices cafe buffet rather expensive, at S$54++pax for friday & weekend dinners. fortunately there was a 3paying 1 free promotion, so we paid about S$49pax nett for 13pax + 1pax vegetarian alacarte.
if you consider that a good 1/2lobster cost between S$20 and S$30, i guess then the buffet was not overly expensive.
buffet doesn’t attract me, and other than the lobster & crab (which were also so so for me), i would not normally do this buffet.
i would rate this as slightly above olive tree restaurant @ intercontinental hotel (S$34++ after 1 for 1 promotion) & the lunch buffet at edge @ pan pacific (S$43.50++ after 3paying 1 free) but not by much, and of course edge has far superior ambience & in a “higher class hotel” if that is even important haha.
anyway i would only go if i want the crab (i don’t need the lobster), & spices cafe has lunch buffet for senior citizen at S$23pax, so if i really want buffet i can go lunch w/o the lobster & crab. 🙂
for buffet, my favourite is still the semi buffet at equinox (after 50% feed at raffles discounts, that is), and even then i have not been there for the longest time! the view over marina bay skyline & F1 circuit is superb, and the main courses (which i avoid in other buffet) are ala carte orders & of fine dining standard.
the same goes for one ninety mezzo lunch at four seasons, another superior semi buffet. one ninety has better quality of buffet spread than equinox, & the main courses are also ala carte orders of fine dining standard. 🙂
Very Average Buffet (Citibank 1 for 1) @ Olive Tree on 15Jan2014
6 of us went to olive tree for the citibank 1 for 1 S$68pax weekday buffet on 15.1.2014. i had not been to this place for umpteen years, so thought gave it a try. the evening was fun but the food was very average, not expensive at S$34pax=S$40nett, but i agreed with my “fussy” friend = no need to spend S$40 on average food even though price was ok. 🙂
the cold crayfish & scallops were not sweet (or like tasteless?) but quite ok if you add the hot sauce & tabasco (which means…)…the same with the cold flower crabs (nothing like teochew cold crab)..i took them with wasabi so it was ok..
the snails were good & oysters good too (i had 3 of each)..but 2 of my friends had bad tummy afterwards though i was ok.
the biggest letdown was sashimi! the photo above looked great, and i was telling my friend who didn’t take sashimi much that kajiki (swordfish) was 1 of my favourites & got him to take 2 pieces from my plate, but as it turned out it was the worst, completely tasteless! likewise the salmon. tako was average, not the good sweet ones.
the cold pasta & salad station was among the best. but this was also a station that most people gave a miss w/o trying. the spicy prawn salad was great & the chicken sausage risoni as well.
the prawn noodles station was self service which suited me fine as i took very little noodles & a lot of bean sprouts, prawns & fishcake & just enough of soup. i liked the very intense soup & had a 2nd helping, but i agreed with my “fussy” friend that the soup was too salty. 🙂
i also had some nasi padang dishes. the beef rending sambal chilli & ikan bilis with peanuts all quite average.
i skipped most cooked food stations in buffet (& that’s the reason i prefer semi-buffet places like the excellent one ninety, equinox & basilico where the main courses are served separately as fine dining dishes.
for olive tree though, i must say i liked all 3 main courses = braised lamb, duck & dory, all good dishes.
there was self service rojak station as well. i liked this too. & i had a helping of cheese. there was kikarangi, a light kiwi blue cheese i used to like. today somehow it was not so pungent, perhaps i have forgotten the taste..my “fussy” friend added – everything was not quite right..haha…we do all affect each other. 🙂
i not much dessert person so i found nothing in the wide array of dessert. the coconut & durian ice creams were very good though!
the restaurant was sadly only 30% full on a wednesday evening, so many of us were saying the cold seafood & sashimi were left-overs. anyway it sure looked like a lot of wastage!
the ambience was great except an untimely lion dance, which 1 friend described as louder than MS in a tennis grand slam (that was supposedly louder than a airplane landing). fortunately it was over in 10minutes.
the service was very good though. we were first seated in a corner & like all kiasu singaporeans we decided to park ourselves next to the cold appetiser station, but the lady server rearranged the tables to let us sit near but slightly off the station which was better.
the buffet also came with coffee, cappuccino, camomile tea etc.
i would rate this buffet below The Edge, but this was substantially cheaper at S$34 (only with the 1 for 1), but for me like my friend, the price was ok i won’t really come back here for this. equinox & one ninety are still the (semi) buffets for me. 🙂