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 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. 🙂
see also keyaki update on 27.10.2013.
pan pacific hotel had undergone a period of retrofitting last year. we used to head for kaiseki at keyaki especially during year end where the menu items were more attractive (with lobster, Jap wagyu etc). i had not been back to keyaki since end 2011. the only other time i visited pan pacific was for the buffet lunch at the edge, though at S$58pax i did not find it a compelling offering even with 1 free for 3 paying.
recently i noticed that keyaki has a S$60 8-course weekend kaiseki brunch (we had tried the brunch there a while back but didn’t find reasons to return). this time i also had added incentives to redeem some accumulated points which would expire Jan 2014, it was an excellent lunch (or brunch?) – don’t quite see how was it brunch? 🙂
we had a otoshi starter – a small simmered pickled fish dish. next was mixed sashimi comprising salmon, hamachi & akamai (lean toro). it was good. 🙂
the chawanmushi was good too – very smooth & tasty for a ordinary chawanmushi though many places like (say) hokkaido sushi serves one with ikura which is much sweeter.
the tempura came with 1 prawn, 1 fish & 2 vegetable items. it was a good tempura, the batter was light, fluffy & crisp. 🙂
the teriyaki cod (top photo) was best! i don’t like sweet teriyaki sauce much but this was lightly flavoured which enhanced the very flavourful cod. excellent dish! 🙂
the beef teppanyaki was good too. on this day though the service, usually impeccable, left much to be desired. the kitchen had somehow missed our order (or misplaced the beef? haha) & they served it to 1 of us while the rest (4pax) waited good part of 1/2 hr before we were served the dish. we had all ordered medium rare but it came all effectively well done. still surprise, surprise the USA sirloin was tender and tasty, not superb but quite ok really. 🙂
maki was quite ok too,
the set came with macha ice cream (& it was good here NOt the cheap sweet variety). i asked for 2 kurogoma (black sesame) ice-cream & they served to us. that was really good 🙂
the food items were of good quality & standard, & good value for S$60++. will probably go back again. 🙂
my dining quartet had this sudden spell of interest in hotel buffet. for this round, our hostess selected The Edge @ Pan Pacific Singapore, which had last year undergone a major renovation. lunch was S$58pax and there was an ongoing 3paying 1 free promotion for various credit cards, so the price worked out to S$43.5++pax. 🙂
i (& i think in fact all my dining quartet friends) had no fondness for buffet – yet there we were! I always thought buffet main courses “sucks” (pardon the language) & if I went to buffet I would just take very selected items from the appetizers or antipasti & the cheeseboard if they had.
The only buffet I thought worth going was the semi-buffet lunch at Equinox which served a selection of good fine dining main courses & great appetizer buffet/cheeseboard at S$59pax (so S$29,50pax for 50% Feed at Raffles discount for 2pax). Lately I have added One-Ninety @ Four Seasons, which I now think serves a higher quality semi-buffet than Equinox and at S$38pax w/o main course suits me fine (S$48pax with main course). 🙂 The other very good buffet is Basilico at Regent Hotel. I went during RestaurantWeek in 2012 & the antipasti was excellent. I think I should go back there to try again soon, talking about not having too many buffet..haha.. 🙂
I had tried The Line st Shangri-la & Carousel at Royal Plaza at Scotts but sad to say I didn’t think much of them even at 50% discount! I saw The Edge’s menu and didn’t think it was going to be any different.
the sashimi section was very limited for lunch! the kajiki (sword fish) sashimi was good, the salmon was ok, just average same as other buffet & not the best ones. I went back for a second helping of kajiki w/o the salmon. real nice! 🙂
there wasn’t much to pick in the sushi section so I just picked 1 maki (one of my friends liked the inari aburaage sushi though). that’s quite the same in most buffet. In Equinox I would pick a unagi (eel) & a ika (squid) sushi, and in One Ninety I had smoked duck but that’s about it.
the laksa at the Chinese station was very good – gravy was excellent only regrets no “hum” ie cockles.
I also took a slice of roast duck (very crispy skin & flavourful), & also 1 slice of roast chicken (good but ordinary, the ginger sauce was good)..
I did not take any from the malay/peranakan? station. there was a beef rendang and my friend thought the steamed rice (basmati?) was “super aromatic”. 🙂 I took 1 stick each of beef & mutton satay (above right photo). One friend thought the mutton satay was very good. it was kind of average ordinary to me. there was no pineapple sauce with the satay gravy.
there was salmon and grilled aussie beef tenderloin (medallion) at the western station (above left photo).
I asked the station chef who replied that the beef were medium to medium well. I ordered rare & he grilled on the spot for me. it was super (top photo) – very sweet, tender, flavourful, well beyond my expectation of buffet main courses, even though tenderloin not my favourite. 🙂
I skipped most of the Italian station – the pasta, pizza & pork rib. My friend who bought lunch thought the rib was good & healthy lean. the other friend thought it was too dry. The 1 item i thought was excellent was the roast pork. I had 3 slices. 🙂
& not forgetting the cold entre station. I took 4 oysters (very sweet) & 2 scallops (good). the station chef told my friend the orange ones were female & tasted better than the all white male ones..lol. 🙂 i skipped the prawns but took the prawn salad – it was kind of limited selection.
the dessert station was quite ordinary, and included chocolate fountain & nonya cakes. i took my fav the 9 layer kueh (good) & angkukueh (not good – don’t like the shaved coconuts flakes, that one better for tutu kueh). I also helped myself with some brie at the cheese section & we all took quite a bit of nuts (macadamia, walnut, pistachio, pine nuts, sunflower seeds etc).
the ambience was great. there was good drinks like calamansi juice with sour plum, very good coffee & also tea selection. it was a fun lunch, food & company & trying out a new place (it was first time there for all of us).
At S$43.50pax after 25% discount, would I come back though? regrettably answer is no or very unlikely!