An institutional buffet for chocolate lovers
The Courtyardat The Fullerton Hotel (Buffet hours: Fri & Sat 8-11pm) has a legendary chocolate buffet that has been around for 11 years, so it’s no one-hit wonder. Why is it worth the calories? Served with unlimited coffee and tea, the buffet menu includes both classic and experimental dishes. There is wasabi lime chocolate jelly, a salted chocolate caramel tart and gourmet chocolate creations such as cakes, tarts, brownies and pralines. The highlight is the hot chocolate connoisseurs’ bar, where chefs whip up bespoke cups of premium hot chocolate à la minute for guests, who choose from eight different percentages of cocoa.
Prices: adult $44.46, $53.92 with a glass of dessert wine, child $22.23
A buffet of Korean home-cooked fare
The Corner Place Korean BBQ (Buffet hours: Mon-Thu 6-10pm, Fri-Sun 3-10pm), true to its name, is indeed a cosy, no frills family-style diner. Help yourself to beer and bottled drinks from the fridge at an extra charge, or stick to the included teas and drinks. Pick and grill your own beef bulgogi (marinated beef), marinated galbi (short ribs in Korean soy sauce), different parts of pork and squid, alongside fresh vegetables to make your own wrap. Kimchi fried rice and pancakes round out the hot food selection. Though other buffets offer more variety, the quality and cleanliness here makes for a more than satisfactory outing.
Prices: Mon-Thu $25.74, Fri-Sun $27.95
Porridge, just like grandma makes
Orchard Grand Court’s Crystal Café (Buffet hours: noon-2.30pm, 6pm-10pm) Taiwan buffet porridge spread proves that you can find cheap eats in a hotel in the heart of town. Dig into standard braised items such as pork trotters, pork belly, chicken wings, chicken feet, tau pok (tofu cakes) and tau kee (beancurd skin). The dishes have a homemade flavour – tastes the way a doting grandma might make it. Lunchtime on weekdays sees an office crowd; on weekends, the place is incredibly popular with families.
Prices: Lunch: Mon-Fri adult $16.14, child $13.80, Sat & Sun adult $18.99, child $16.14; Dinner: Daily adult $18.99, child $16.14
Dine on Raffles tradition
Operating since 1899, Raffles Hotel’s historic Tiffin Room (Buffet hours: Daily noon-2pm; 7-10pm) continues dishing up its famous curries to celebrities and politicians. The ‘tiffin’ in colonial times referred to a light meal, but today, the buffet spread offers refined North Indian specialties including piping hot, fluffy naans (baked flat bread) delivered to your table. Why splurge? Think silver service, colonial style decor and white-gloved waiters, alongside ten kinds of chutneys and pickles, ample curries for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians, and hot and cold desserts galore. This is for the serious curry-lover – casual diners may find the spread a bit of overkill after the first few curries.
Prices: Lunch $70.20, Dinner $87.75
An old favourite with 'Women Only' specials
The Dining Room (Buffet hours: Lunch: Mon-Fri noon-2.30pm, Sat & Sun noon-3pm; Dinner Wed-Sun 7-10pm) is a firm favourite with at least three generations of foodies in Singapore. The breath-taking space features tall glass windows facing a scenic waterfall, while the classic buffet spread features seafood platters on ice, Japanese sashimi, prime rib roast, the famous Dining Room laksa and durian pengat (mousse). Look out for ‘Women Only Wednesdays’ when ladies enjoy 50 per cent off the Mediterranean dinner spread. Also, these guys seem to be the only ones whose (lunch) buffet prices go down on the weekends, the spread however, remains just as exhaustive.
Prices: Lunch: Mon-Fri $48.90, Sat & Sun $45.66; Dinner: Wed-Sun $67.86
Just don't call it a buffet
Pan Pacific Singapore’s Edge (Buffet hours: Daily noon-2.30pm, 6-10pm) features cuisine from the Pacific edge (get it?) – open concept kitchens serve Chinese, Malay, Indian, Singaporean, Thai, Japanese and Australian cuisines. Despite the all-you-can-eat price, the restaurant steers away from being called a buffet, instead asking diners to focus on the a la minute offerings, from fresh crab at the chilli crab station and satay at the charcoal grill, to pasta and noodle prepared on the spot. They call themselves a food theatre, and rightfully so. Be spoilt for choice at the elaborate dessert station, with two chocolate fondue fountains, ice cream counter and live crepe and waffle station. Edge ups their game on Sundays with a live foie gras station, a whole suckling pig and carving stations featuring home-cured Norwegian salmon and a whole Parma ham, and we’ve spotted a sugarcane juice machine in a corner – nice touch!
Price: Lunch: Mon-Sat adult $56.16, child $28, Sun adult $114.66, child $57.33; Dinner: Sun-Thu adult $67.86, child $28, Fri & Sat adult $79.59, child $39.78
All-you-can-drink and an Okinawan buffet
The ambience at En Japanese Dining Bar (Buffet hours: Mon-Thu 6-11pm; Fri-Sun noon-3pm, 6-11pm) is light, though the buffet is anything but: a menu of tako harumaki (deep-fried beef and cheese spring rolls), hot soupy udon (thick wheat noodles) and sushi, sashimi, and yakitori provide a full-on Japanese binge. You will need it to soak up the free-flowing Japanese beer ($35 surcharge for two hours). If you are still standing after, grab a scoop of matcha (green tea) ice cream to go.
Prices: Lunch: Mon-Thu adult $56.76; Fri-Sun adult $60.84, child $21; Dinner: Fri-Sun adult $56.76, child $21; $35 for two hours of free-flow beer
Dim sum buffet for special occasions
On the 35th storey of the Mandarin Orchard is the elegant Mandarin Court (Buffet hours: Sat & Sun 11am–12.30pm, 1–3pm), this restaurant has a stunning view and supposedly boasts great feng shui. Suitable for extended family gatherings and lunch with the ladies, chef Sunny Leong pairs time-tested cooking methods with the freshest ingredients. The result is a huge spread of 80 types of dim sum. We like the fish maw dumplings with century egg and XO sauce; and the braised goose web with shiitake mushrooms. The fluffy, steamed pork buns do live up to their reputation, and the siew mai with mushrooms don’t disappoint either. We like the desserts, with the lemon jelly and aloe vera in calamansi lime juice complementing the main dishes perfectly. Price: adult $56.16, child $28.08
High quality Japanese buffet
Himawari (Buffet hours: Daily 11.30am-2.15pm, 6-9.15pm) is as good as it gets when it comes to Japanese food done buffet style. The food won't win any excellence awards but the standards are better than most, and with over 80 dishes to choose from, there is something for everyone. The sashimi is thick-cut and the hand rolls come chock full of ingredients. More unusual offerings include natto (fermented soybeans) with tuna or squid, grilled salmon head, Japanese salads and generous portions of grilled meat. The service however, leaves much to be desired. Opt for the premium buffet, and you get a one-time order of uni (sea urchin), otoro (tuna belly), oysters and other premium morsels. The oldest (and most reliable) outlet is the one at Alexandra Road. Price: Lunch: Mon-Fri $41.80, Sat & Sun $44; Dinner: Mon-Fri $43.90, Sat-Sun $48.90. Premium buffet $102.96
Waterfront buffet, with award-winning cheese
Clifford (Buffet hours: Sat-Sun noon-3pm) at The Fullerton Bay with its chic, contemporary decor, 10-metre high floor to ceiling windows and waterfront views make it a desirable spot for a weekend brunch buffet. Luckily, the food does not disappoint either. Here's a hearty spread – eggs Benedict, Belgian waffles, burgers and fries and a truffle omelette There is also the usual: mixed salads, cold seafood, a carving station and mini cakes, but do linger at the cheese bar. Clifford imports their cheese from the award-winning Philippe Olivier cheese shop in Northern France. The Champagne flows freely on Sundays, and Saturdays are devoted to hangover cures, so wash down those eggs and waffles with as many Bloody Marys as you can stomach.
Price: Sat adult $102.96 with unlimited house wine, beer and Bloody Mary, child $51.48; Sun adult $149.76 with unlimited champagne, child $74.88