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Weekend High Tea Buffet, Ritz-Carlton Millenia

No.

Surprise surprise. I left Ritz-Carlton feeling full, but very unsatisfied and unimpressed. Their Avant-garde high tea buffet just did not hit the correct flavours and balance.

Grand entrance to the place. Just wished they could have made better use of the layout as the tables were all rather close to each other.

Refreshing welcome drink to get your taste buds going.

Varied choice of tea and coffee with some unique flavours like Pai Mu Tan & Melon. Unfortunately, they limit their selection to one flavour per person. Erm, choose wisely?

From top right clockwise: Chicken Mayonnaise with Chestnut in Cranberry Roll, Egg and Cheese Sandwich with Forest Mushroom Mayonnaise and Garden Cress, Smoked Salmon with Sauerkraut in Carrot Bread.

From top, clockwise: Pan-fried Wagyu Beef Patty with Melted Cheese and Tomato Salsa, Pan-fried Vegetarian Gyoza, Filo Prawn Roll with Thai Mayonnaise Chilli Sauce.

Egg Cocotte with Mushroom Ragout in Onion Marmalade.

Hmm I had a bit of the expectation versus reality moment here. Egg cocotte sounds really sophisticated and I was all looking forward to trying this jar, but on first slurp, I wished they had used onsen eggs instead. Just didn’t get that full on creamy texture.

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Chicken with Orange Basil Sauce.

This is hands down the best item at the high tea fare. Juicy, flavourful and saporific.

From top, clockwise: Seared Tuna with Cauliflower Mousse, Quail Egg with Cocktail Sauce, Poached Pear with Roquefort Cheese, Goose Liver Parfait with Port Wine Jelly.

There was nothing particularly outstanding in any of the above bites, but the Goose Liver Parfait with Port Wine Jelly was the worst! Here’s a good example of Avant-garde gone wrong. Either that, or my poor man’s taste buds are to blame. Come on, foie gras should remain in its patty form, served warm. Not cold, and certainly not in a super dense mousse form. Urgh.

From top, clockwise: Olive Oil Biscuit with Rhubarb Moouse, Strawberry and White Chocolate Tartlet, Carrot Cake Verrine.

The Carrot Cake Verrine is a must try item here at the high tea. Who can resist something with a pretty little flower on top?

Assorted chocolate truffles.

The truffles were one of the best bites at this high tea I kid you not.

Ice cream and sorbet counter. They have Baked Alaska Flambe too.

I tried the Baked Alaska Flambe which was quite unpleasant tasting. They lighted the baked Alaska right at the counter, meaning you gotta carry the scorching hot plate all the way back to your table. Almost burnt my finger doing so. The sorbet that accompanied the dish had a super bitter taste. We couldn’t figure out what sorbet it was, but it definitely deterred us from taking a second bite.

From top left, clockwise: Dark Chocolate Mousse with White Coffee Chantilly, Pistachio Cream Citrus Tartlet, Mango and Raspberry Clafoutis, Banana Cream Pie with Milk Chocolate Chantilly.

There were also a couple of tarts that I didn’t get to try because I was too full and unmotivated based on track record, but my guests who tried them didn’t rave over them too.

I get that the food at Ritz Carlton’s weekend high tea may not resonate well with me, but when my party of 5 other guests feel the same, something is not quite there, right? The buffet costs $68 after taxes, not worth it in my opinion.

7 Raffles Avenue, S(039799)

Weekend high tea buffet: 230pm to 5pm

+65 6337 8888

Website with menu here

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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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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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Kuro Izakaya, Suntec City Tower 3

Worth a try.

Everybody loves to chill over bar bites and beer after work. Bonus points added if a place that has this combi is situated at the heart of town. Located at Suntec Tower 3, Kuro Izakaya easily attracts the working crowd when the sun goes down.

To find Kuro Izakaya, you’ll have to walk to Suntec Tower 3 (where Oppo, Harvey Norman, Timberland, GV movie are situated) and exit towards the taxi stand. It’s located outside of the building.

They have a huge range of Japanese whiskeys and beer, perfect for pairing with your bar bites (well they do have staples such as ramen and Japanese curry, but it’s really out of the place to be having those items here).

Pork Jowl, $5. Scallops wrapped in Bacon (Tare and Shio versions), $6. Pork Belly (Tare and Shio versions), $4. Enoki wrapped in Bacon, $4.

Chicken Breast with Mentaiko, $4.

The best kushiyaki? Pork Jowl, followed by Scallops wrapped in Bacon (Tare version). I tried both the tare (sweet sauce) and shio (salted) versions and I very much preferred the tare one. The scallops were huge and juicy, which I really appreciated. As for the pork jowl, I do think that it’s quite difficult to go wrong with it as the texture of the meat is excellent to begin with.

I thought I would like the Chicken Breast with Mentaiko, but unfortunately the breast meat was way too tough. Wrong choice of meat, Kuro Izakaya. Chicken thighs would have been much, much better. Either that, or you make sure you cook your breast meat well.

Kuro Izakaya is a nice and cozy place to chill, but I don’t think I’ll be back again as their kushiyakis aren’t well executed, and the place is seriously lacking in variety. Once is enough for me.

6 Temasek Boulevard, #01-604, S(038986)

Mondays to Thursdays: 1130am to 230pm, 5pm to 11pm

Fridays: 1130am to 230pm, 5pm to 1130pm

Saturdays and Sundays: 1130am to 230pm, 5pm to 10pm

+65 6235 1066

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Edge, Pan Pacific Singapore

Go!

Edge at Pan Pacific has always been my favourite buffet restaurant and this year I’m semi-glad (reasons later) to be back for their festive lunch (because dinner is just too expensive).

It’s my partner’s first time here and after an introductory walk around the place he was mind blown by the sheer variety of food available.

Cold cuts.

Very disappointed at this station. The prawns were not as plump as I recalled them to be, and the crabs were disappointing – its meat did not come off as one piece when the shell was cracked open. This usually happens when the crabs are not fresh. The biggest disappointment for me was the fact that there were no oysters for such an expansive meal.

Sushi counter. No picture because… it was empty by the time I got there. Sashimi? There were only salmon, tuna and octopus sashimi. Erm, yellowtail? Sword fish? These are pretty common sashimi that any reputable hotel buffet would have. So shame on you, Edge Pan Pacific.

Roasted duck and chicken.

Noodle station. They can actually run out of laksa soup and the replenish took some time.

Steamed fish in teochew style, braised broccoli and salted egg chicken.

Sambal quail eggs and chap chye.

Pasta station.

Ayam panggang.

Cooked food was way better. You must try their roasted duck and salted egg chicken. A tip for the salted egg chicken: get yours when a new batch is replenished. The chicken is crispier and juicier that way. The ayam panggang, which nice smelling, was super dry and hard.

Seafood chowder and Cream of mushroom.

The cream of mushroom was too finely blended. No bits of mushroom at all, rendering the texture to be really flat. I liked how they had charcoal bread though.

Typical roast turkey and honey glazed ham.

Both tasted delicious, but the cranberry sauce for the ham went dry within the first hour, and no replenish was made.

Roasted lamb leg.

Edge’s buffet is well known for their extensive desserts, and true enough, the variety was impressive. Pro tip: grab your desserts as early in the meal as possible. They run out quickly, and either take too long to replenish, or another dessert is served.

The cake selection was leaning more towards Christmas themed, so you’ll get the usual fruit cakes and whatnot. By the time I went for the desserts, the bread pudding dish was left with just remnants of the crumbs. I returned later to find that they had cleared the dish, never to replenish nor replace it. All this with about half an hour more to go? Not acceptable.

If you see the mixed fruit salsa in orange maple syrup (to the left of the picture), skip it!! This dessert does not taste as good as it sounds.

Here are my must tries for the buffet:

  • Herbal chicken soup
  • Sambal quail
  • Roasted duck
  • Salted egg chicken
  • Yuzu sorbet
  • Mango Sorbet
  • Chocolate mint ice cream
  • Durian pengat
  • Chendol log cake

Overall, I like how they incorporated the festive elements in both the decorations and dishes which were a feast for both the eyes and tummy. My only qualms were the poor variety and quality of the cold cut station as well as the slow replenish rate of many of the dishes. To top it off, I do feel that for a meal worth $80, the lack of oysters is unjustifiable.

Pan Pacific Singapore

Level 3, 7 Raffles Boulevard, S(039595)

+65 6826 8240

Lunch

Mondays to Saturdays: 12noon to 230pm

Sunday’s champagne brunch: 12noon to 4pm

Dinner

Daily: 630pm to 1030pm

Website here

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Llaollao frozen yogurt, Marina Square (Marina Link) and Somerset 313

I have always been a fan of frozen yogurts since young, whether it is topped simply with granola or gummy bears.  Many such yogurt stalls have propped up around Singapore in recent years, offering different toppings and activities (I say this because some yoghurt stalls allow you to “personally design your own” and pay accordingly to the weight of your creation so rather than the sales girl spam a handful of gumny bears for you, you can actually determine how many gummy bears you want in your cup of yogurt). The latest one (for now) is located at Marina Square and is currently my favourite. I hereby introduce you to Llaollao frozen yogurt!

image

It’s actually from Spain, hence the funny shop name. The smallest cup + one topping goes at $4.50 so I would suggest you get the medium cup + three toppings at $5.50! What’s the big deal about having more toppings?

#1 The choices of toppings are displayed logically. Fruits -> dry ingredients -> sauces. You have to pick your toppings in this sequence. I like such orderliness.

#2 They have white chocolate as one of their sauces!!!!!

White chocolate, friends! One can’t simply resist white chocolate, especially when complemented with juicy strawberries.

edit: seems like they would change one or two sauces every 6 months. the last time they changed, they mixed the white chocolate with biscuits and coconut. because of that, I haven’t eaten llao llao for half a year! 😦

In the picture above, I had strawberries, muesli and white chocolate. Could be the nature of where this shop was from, but the muesli doesn’t look like the normal type you would get outside. This has larger chunks and it somewhat has a tinge of chocolate (nothing to do with the white chocolate I swear).

Where: Marina Square, Marina Link #B1-04
Somerset 313 #B3

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