Cafe Mosaic, Carlton Hotel

Worth a try (if you love oysters).

I fondly remember my experience at Cafe Mosaic’s dinner buffet over Christmas a few years ago, so when my husband jioed me to eat this buffet again I was pumped! He used the Chope 1 for 1 deal, equivalent to $88++ for 2 adults.

Was it worth it? Depends on whether you can eat a lot of oysters.

Oyster station.

Pick out your oysters and the chef will shuck them for you on the spot. I liked that the oysters were pretty big and fresh. The blue light from the station was quite blinding though. Probably their way of making you slow down on the oysters.

Crustaceon station.

I can’t help but think that buffets that put out the mini lobsters look alike are in fact just trying to increase the value of the buffet.

Sashimi and sushi station. The normal stuff here.

Rojak station.

I love a good rojak station where I can control the amount of spice and sugar I add into my rojak. This station wasn’t exactly fantastic, but it had the bare essentials.

Noodle station.

Uniquely, they serve Mee Sua which I enjoyed! Remember to add the vinegar.

Fried Carrot Cake.

This is one of the highlights of the buffet. When eaten hot, the carrot cake was super flavourful and satisfying. It certainly deserves seconds but unfortunately when I took my second serving they had already pre-cooked a lot and hence I didn’t get a piping hot one.

Cooked food station.

The cooked food station had the usual fare — sweet and sour pork, seafood in Thai style sauce, but what I liked from here (and was hot in demand throughout the night) was the crayfish!

Most crayfish at buffets tend to be really tough and tasteless, but this dish was really tender and juicy. I’m not sure if it’s because of the chef’s skill, or because they had to churn this dish so quickly that the meat wasn’t overcooked.

Dessert section.

Looking at my pictures now, I think I was so unimpressed with Cafe Mosaic’s desserts that I was uninspired to take good pictures. The desserts tasted as good as they looked, rather meh.

The ice creams were so much better! Apart from the usual strawberry and chocolate, they also serve Thai milk tea flavour. The ice cream counter definitely helped to raise the bar of the dessert space a little higher. My favourite was the lemon ice cream.

Overall, I thought that the buffet spread was too limited for the price I paid. Yes they had oysters and crayfish but that was pretty much it. What really irked me was they had one whole area (the long space equivalent to the cooked food counter pictured above) filled with fruits. It really gave the whole buffet a cheapened feeling, and I was super put off by that sight. This would be my last time at Cafe Mosaic for their buffet dinner.

76 Bras Basah Road, Carlton Hotel Level 1, S(189558)

Daily dinner: 6pm to 10pm

+65 6311 8195

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Beach Road Kitchen, JW Mariott South Beach

Go!!!

We can never have enough of good buffets, right? So when my colleague highly recommended South Beach Kitchen for dinner, I immediately said yes without even asking about the price. (It’s $78++ btw.)

Floor to ceiling glass panels are just a hint of what’s to come.

Introducing the cold room. Literally it’s a room with all your cold appetizers. You now the Heineken advertisement where the guys went crazy after stepping into a room full of beer? I had that same feeling here. Feel free to pick out lobsters, crabs, prawns, oysters (freshly shucked on the spot!!), sashimi, carpaccio and more.

Oysters are freshly shucked on the spot. Really fresh!

Their salad section is grown to impress. On the top shelf, you can use the scissors provided to snip off your favourite veggies for the freshest greens.

Right next to the salad bar is the noodle bar. Pick your noodles yong tau foo style and have it with their Laksa soup.

Roasted beef was good! Most places do not do their roasted beef right but Beach Road Kitchen passed my standards.

They have a pizza oven can you believe it? Sadly though, their famous truffle pizza was a total disappointment. No truffle taste at all.

Grill station! Grill your favourite dishes like seabass or promphet here. It takes about 15 minutes, so do order early.

If you can’t wait for the grilled fishes, go for the grilled meats! They use iberico pork and galbi beef. Very good textures for grilled meat.

Small but sufficient Indian cuisine station. At the very end of the station is the Hainanese Chicken Rice station with roast meat. I think you can give that a miss. The chicken was too dry and the taste was forgettable.

The following pictures are Beach Road Kitchen’s dessert station. It was super impressive.

There are so many variations of ice cream! Soft serve, ice cream in cups, cookie ice cream sandwiches… You will really be spoilt for choice here. If you had to forgo one however, skip the ice cream in cups. The flavours look tantalizing, but it was overly creamy. You’ll be done after the third scoop.

They also have a waffles and pancake station. Feel free to ask for bananas in your pancakes. Top it up with Nutella and you’re in heaven.

End off your buffet with coffee or tea. I liked that they use TWG tea, really fitting for the quality of the buffet.

Overall, I liked the presentation of the food and the layout of the place. The seating capacity is huge, so I would advise you to start your buffet as early as you can to avoid the crowd. There were more hits than misses, and in my opinion, Beach Road Kitchen is worth the money. Definitely within top 5 on my list.

30 Beach Road, S(189763)

Weekdays: 630am to 10am, 12noon to 230pm, 6pm to 10pm

Weekends: 630am to 11am, 12noon to 3pm, 6pm to 10pm

+65 6818 1913

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Unagiya Ichinoji, Robertson Quay

No.

I’m a huge unagi fan. I highly raved Man Man Unagi at Keong Saik so when I heard that another unagi specialty restaurant with a long list of credentials (125 years of history, Bib Gourmand 2018 awardee, Tokyo’s famous unagi Restaurant with 20 outlets across Japan) opened it’s first overseas outlet in none other than sunny Singapore, I was stoked.

Expecting a super long queue like Man Man, I was there slightly before 530pm for its dinner hours. Not much people, and I was seated rather quickly.

The layout is similar to Man Man’s. There’s a tank of live eels swimming around and a counter overseeing the kitchen via glass panels. If you want to see the chef in action, pick the counter seats. It can be a little hot though.

Chef starting to grill the eels. I read that they steam their eels before grilling them to give that crispy texture.

Hitsumabushi (small), $19.80.

Hitsumabushi (medium), $26.80.

The Hitsumabushis can go up to $77.80 for the XL size. While that makes for a good family size, I prefer having my own set to indulge in. For those who need a refresher, you can eat the Hitsumabushi in three ways: Plain old unagi and rice, unagi and rice with the side condiments, and unagi and rice with dashi (provided in a little jar). My favourite is the one with side condiments because it gives the unagi an added layer of taste.

Close up shot of the unagi.

On to the taste of the unagi, the reason for this post. The unagi was horrible. Although it was grilled, there wasn’t any char taste, not to mention any decent crispy texture. The meat itself was rather tough and it felt like I was eating a gummy candy. I dreaded eating piece after piece. Thankfully I ordered the small portion. I also drenched my meal in the separate unagi sauce provided to give it more taste.

I just noticed that the difference between a small and medium is just two slices of unagi and more rice. Not sure if this justifies a $7 difference.

30 Robertson Quay, Riverside Village Residences, #01-05, S(238251)

+65 6732 1970

Daily: 1130am to 3pm, 530pm to 10pm

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Gyu Bar, Stevens Road

Go!!

Gyu Bar sits within the premises of Novotel and Mecure Hotel along Stevens Road. It can be easy to miss if you’re driving quickly along the main road, so I hope with the picture below you’ll find it easier to locate it.

As the name suggests, Gyu Bar specialises in beef. The main attraction of this place is that it brings in A4 Kumamoto Wagyu from Japan, which they proudly serve during dinner along with a glass of sake. Unfortunately, I visited this place for lunch and it only offers rice bowls during daytime.

Interestingly, the menu has Korean starters, and some of the rice bowls are rather Korean-ish.

Assorted Namuru, $16.

Kimchi, $10.

Signature Beef Salad, $26.

Signature Roast Beef Don, $35.

This bowl lives up to its signature title. Slices of slow roast beef alongside a special gravy by the chef, need I say more? The beef slices had that melt in your mouth texture and the gravy was simply delicious.

Sukiyaki Don Set, $30.

I’ve honestly never eaten sukiyaki in a rice bowl before. The sukiyakis I’ve eaten thus far were all cooked in those shallow sukiyaki pot, a bit like hot pot style. So this was definitely interesting for me.

Yakiniku Chicken Don Set, $24.

This rice bowl came infused with truffle! What a pleasant surprise. The chicken pieces were also juicy and tender, just the way a good yakiniku chicken should be.

Ishiyaki Bibimbap Set, $22.

For the bibimbap, the staff will actually help you to mix the rice and spread it against the hot stone bowl. You are to wait for a couple of minutes for the rice to “chao ta” before digging in. Super fun to watch.

All rice bowl set comes with salad and miso soup. Each bowl also comes with an onsen egg which you have to mix into the rice, making the whole bowl really creamy. Now imagine having that with the slow roast beef slices (Signature Roast Beef Don). Oishii!

That said, Gyu Bar is not a place where you would have lunch at everyday because of the price, and also because the lunch menu is pretty much as above. I would definitely drop by for dinner one day if I feel like indulging though.

30 Stevens Road, #01-08, S(257840)

Closed Mondays.

Tuesdays to Sundays: 12pm to 3pm, 6pm to 10pm

+65 6732 0702

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Kai Garden, Marina Square

Go!!!

Okay so in my world of dim sum I’ve only regarded Imperial Treasures Nan Bei Takashimaya as the place to go to for great dim sum. I can now add another place to that — Kai Garden.

Kai Garden at Marina Square is opened by chef Fung Chi Keung, previously from Paradise Group, the people behind the famous colourful Xiao Long Bao. The Cantonese restaurant prides itself on their Peking Duck, known for different flavoured wraps and dips. I was excited to try it, until I saw their executive set lunch.

Without second thoughts I ordered Set Lunch A to share with my partner. No point having two of the same set, plus, Kai Garden’s dim sum menu looked too appealing. So I added some dim sum to the lunch.

Honey BBQ Pork, Deep Fried Beancurd Roll with Prawns, Sliced Peking Duck with Condiments.

Daily Double Boiled Soup.

Baked Cod Fillet with Teriyaki Sauce with Enoki Wrapped in Kurobuta Pork.

Pan Seared Glutinuous Rice with Egg and Black Truffle.

Chilled Fresh Coconut Puree.

I looked forward to every dish, and for sure I wasn’t disappointed. Every dish was well executed and tasty.

While the dishes sound ordinary, it was the little touches that really made the dish a notch higher. For example, the baked cod fish was placed on a crispy biscuit of sorts. Very innovative.

I particularly liked the fresh coconut puree because this was my first time having something like that at a Chinese restaurant for dessert. It was refreshing and cooling, perfect way to end the meal on a light note.

Deep Fried Scallop with Mango Roll, $6.80.

The mango roll was really light and crispy! The sauce within also complemented it really well, not too much not too little. Highly recommend this dim sum.

Steamed Prawn Dumpling (Ha Gao), $6.50.

The skin of any Ha Gao is always the hardest to get right. I gave this a thumbs up because of that reason. The prawns within were big and crunchy as well but the skin was the winner for me.

Crispy Cheong-fun with Minced Mushrooms, $5.60.

When I saw crispy cheong-fun I immediately thought it was you tiao wrapped in cheong-fun skin and topped with minced mushrooms. Nope, it wasn’t like that. Instead, the insides of the cheong-fun were filled with fluffy and crunchy bits alongside the minced mushroom. To help maintain the crispyness, the cheong-fun sauce is left by the side and you should only dip a piece into the sauce before eating. I highly recommend this dish as well.

By now you would have noticed that Kai Garden comes with a steep price tag. It may seem that a $6.50 Ha Gao is too much for dim sum but think about the other dishes. For its creativity, exquisiteness and ambience, I’d say Kai Garden is worth every penny and calorie.

6 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square, #03-128A/128B, S(039594)

Weekdays: 1130am to 330pm, 6pm to 11pm

Weekends: 11am to 4pm, 6 to 11pm

+65 6250 4826

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Rubato Italian Kitchen and Bar, Greenwood Avenue

Go!

On a quiet Wednesday afternoon my colleague brought me to the hidden makan place of Greenwood Avenue. We had Rubato, an Italian restaurant, for lunch.

Rubato has a fixed menu as well as a seasonal menu. If you’re not particularly craving for anything, I suggest hearing them out as the do have dishes of the day which are not on the menu.

Sauteed Fresh Clams with Chardonnay, $29.

The best part about a clams with white wine dish is the broth. This dish had a very pleasing and addictive flavour. The broth was gone before the clams were done. Wicked!

Slow Braised Spanish Octopus, $32.

I’m not a fan of squid and octopus because it’s hard hard to get them right; most of the time they end up rubbery and overly chewy. However, the octopus in this dish were so soft! Almost couldn’t tell I was eating octopus really. The sauce tasted quite similar to satay sauce, a surprise for me because it looked so heavily tomato based.

Hand Picked Crab Meat and Angel’s Hair Pasta, $40.

I’ve cooked Angel’s Hair Pasta before, and it turned out a disaster. It cooks really quickly, and gets lumpy once you take it out of the pasta water. For that reason, I don’t really eat dishes with Angel’s Hair Pasta. For this dish, I still don’t quite fancy the texture of the pasta, but the sauce was great! Sweet overtones and chunky crab meat aplenty. Yums.

Mushroom & Co Risotto, $22.

The risotto was done Al Dante. My colleague felt that it was a bit undercooked, which admittedly I did feel that the grains were slightly too hard. Nevertheless I loved the truffle aroma and the porcini mushroom puree really gave this mushroom dish a higher kick.

12 Greenwood Avenue, S(289204)

Weekdays: 1130am to 3pm, 530pm to 12am

Weekends: 11am to 12am

+65 6252 3200

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Hajime Tonkatsu and Ramen, myVillage at Serangoon Gardens

Go!!!

Tonkatsu. Simple looking dish that’s difficult to execute well. I’ve eaten Tonkatsu from various places, and none of them had ever come close to Tonkichi. Until I tried Hajime.

I personally think that Hajime’s tonkatsu is nicer than Tonkichi’s.

Premium Pork Loin, $21.90.

They were running a promotion when I was there, using Kurobuta (black pig) instead of normal pork. No doubt it’s Kurobuta, but the thickness, doneness, crispyness, juicyness and flavour of the pork cutlet was never like I’ve eaten before.

My cutlet remained crispy all the way, and I enjoyed my pork cutlet right till the very last bite. The only thing that’ll keep me from visiting Hajime frequently is it’s location. myVillage at Serangoon Gardens is not exactly accessible, and after your meal there’s nothing much to do around the area.

1 Maju Avenue, myVillage at Serangoon Gardens, #02-7/8/9, S(556679)

Weekdays: 1130am to 3pm, 6pm to 10pm

Weekends: 1130am to 3pm, 5pm to 10pm

+65 6509 9952

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