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Shang Pin Hot Pot, Marina Square and Rendezvous Hotel

Go!!!

Step out of the comforts of Hai Di Lao and Beauty in the Pot. Shang Pin Hotpot at Marina Square and Rendezvous Hotel is arguably the most affordable alternative to the two big players. As a bonus, there’s hardly any queue especially at the Marina Square branch because the floor area is huge!

I’ve visited both branches and there’s a stark contrast in ambience and service between both branches. Go for the Marina Square branch if you can.

I’ve included pictures from both Marina Square and Rendezvous Hotel just to show you the contrast.

Exterior and interior of Rendezvous Hotel branch (my pictures look better than the reality!):

Exterior and interior of Marina Square branch, so huge that they have a children’s play area:

Below pictures are a mix from both branches; quality is similar with some differences which I’ll mention.

(L) Tomato Soup, (R) Pig Stomach and Chicken Soup, (M) Mushroom Soup.

The price of the soup is dependent on the most expensive soup you’ve selected. It doesn’t matter if you select one, two or three soups, they charge you only for one soup base. In this case, the pig stomach was the most expensive at $20.

Meat Festival, $24.

I giggled at the name of the dish. At one point the service at Rendezous was so slow that I had to ask the staff “is my Meat Festival coming soon?” Apart from that, good quality slices of beef, mutton and pork. The beef was really fatty though.

Fish Egg Ball (half portion), $6.

Ordered this in lieu of fancy pastes. Unlike HDL and BITP, Shang Pin’s pastes are rather ordinary and common. This was the most interesting fresh paste ball out of the entire selection.

(L) Mushroom Platter (half portion), $7. (R) Cabbage (full portion), $4.

I thought the mushroom platter was value for money. 5 different types of mushrooms for $7! The mushrooms here are about $5 to $6 for full portions so the amount you pay for variety is well spent.

Fried Beancurd Skin (full portion), $6.

I ordered this dish at both outlets but somehow it seems like ordering the half portion is more worth it. The above picture has 6 rolls (Rendezvous Hotel) but when I ordered the half portion for $3 (Marina Square), I got 4 rolls! So I should be getting 8 rolls at Rendezvous but somehow only got 6. Hmm.

Shrimp Paste (half portion), $7.

This is a must order when you’re here. The shrimp paste was crunchy and fresh.

Shang Pin Beef, $16.

The Rendezous Hotel one came rather frozen, causing its texture to be a little rough after cooking. The Marina Square (above) came thawed and fresh looking.

US Beef (half portion), $7.

My advice is to skip this and go straight for the Shang Pin Beef. The difference is only $2 for the full portion but the quality is so, so different.

US Black Pork (half portion), $6.50.

Look at the balance of fats to lean meat! I only thought it was slightly unsightly that the meat was cut in half. Doesn’t have that shiok feeling if you know what I mean.

Chinese Dumplings (half portion), $2.50.

The dumplings were normal tasting. What caught my attention writing this part was that I realised I had 6 dumplings for $2.50. Not sure if they had mistakenly given me the full portion but if not, $2.50 for 6 dumplings is so worth it!

Overall, you can expect the price per pax to be about $40. It’s still not really within the budget of an everyday hotpot meal, but it’s slightly cheaper than HDL and much cheaper than BITP. There’s no fancy waitressing or gifts at all, but the amount of food you get here is definitely more than the other two places. The variety at Shang Pin honestly is not as great, but it suffices. Best of all, NO LONG QUEUES!

Marina Square

6 Raffles Boulevard, #02-102, S(039594)

+65 6565 7666

Daily: 11am to 12am

Rendezvous Hotel

9 Bras Basah Road, #02-02, S(189559)

+65 6238 7666

Daily: 12 noon to 12am

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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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OTC Cafe, National Library

Worth a try.

This cafe at a little corner of the library is perfect for people watching. It’s next to full length windows on level 3 of the National Library Building, which makes it a nice spot to settle down for a couple of hours as you watch the world go by.

I visited on a weekday noon for brunch and the place was really quiet and peaceful.

Special Truffle Mushroom Pizza.

Not exactly sure what’s so special about this truffle pizza. The crust of the pizza has a doughy texture, so towards the end of my meal it felt more like eating mushroom bread. The pizza isn’t cut so you get to have a little “action” with your food. Not the most fun though, because the plate holding the pizza isn’t flat and is smaller than the pizza itself so you can’t fully cut through.

Papa Jo’s Burger.

Besides the pepper sauce which was a nice touch, not much else to comment about the burger except for the plate which was way too small. Mind you, the fries weren’t even here because they needed more time to fry them and the contents of my burger were already falling out of the plate when cut into bite sized pieces. Seems like OTC has problems with their plates haha.

OTC doesn’t have service charge, and you are expected to return your plates to the counter after you’re done.

OTC’s food is average at best, and highly forgettable. The draw of this place is really it’s high ceiling, naturally lit seatings and quiet atmosphere. Perfect for me time or that long overdue catch up.

100 Victoria Street, S(188064)

National Library Building Level 3

Daily: 11am to 9pm

+65 6333 0181

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