Exhaustive Japanese spread that is one of the most affordable in town
Kiseki’s (Buffet hours: Daily 11.30am-3pm; 6-10.30pm) buffet spread spans 29 categories and 200 items. If you need variety, this is where you head to. Although they call themselves a Japanese buffet, they’ve included pasta, pizzas, and western grills (dinner only). What should you eat first? The sashimi, Sri Lankan blue swimmer crabs, ribeye steak, grilled salmon belly, teppanyaki (iron-griddle cooked food) and tempura. Not enough? Fill up on the zosui (Japanese porridge with chicken) and kimchi hotpot. Not Japanese, but still good are the freshly made waffles topped with gelato. This is one of the most affordable buffets in town.
Prices: Lunch: Mon-Fri $23.16; Sat, Sun & public holidays $32.56; Dinner Mon-Fri $37.20; Sat, Sun & public holidays $40.70
Decadent buffet that demands a dress code
If nothing will sate you but the choicest of spreads, in the most luxurious of settings, Greenhouse (Buffet hours: Daily 6am-10.30am, noon-2.30pm, 6-10.30pm) at the Ritz Carlton’s daily buffets and vintage Champagne Sunday brunch is for you. Over 50 (15 on weekdays) international cheeses are ready to melt on your tongue, complemented by slivers of salmon, ham and other meats. Sure, the arsenal of oysters, Boston lobsters and prawns are on display, but it's okay to practice prudence and skip to desserts, especially when it's a slew that includes six flavours of freshly-made ice-cream, chocolate mousse topped with caramel and chopped nuts, strawberries in chocolate fondue and an assortment of gummies, M&M’s and other candy. Here on a Sunday? After a couple of flutes move onto their Sunday bar to sample a few (or several) muddled cocktails like mojitos and caiprinhas. Friday and Saturday’s dinner spread has a kicker chilli crab with steamed man tou (Chinese soft wheat bun), charcuterie spread, seafood on ice and a live noodle station. The Greenhouse demands an ‘appropriate’ dress code, so swap those shorts and slippers for pants and closed shoes.
Prices: Lunch: Mon-Sat $67.86, Sun $198.56 with free-flow champagne, wine and cocktails; Dinner: Mon-Thu $79.56, Fri & Sat $93.94
Japanese buffet with roasts and grills
Kuishin Bo's (Buffet hours: Daily 11.30am-3pm, 5-10pm) buffets are so popular the restaurant chain has spawned two other outlets (Jurong Point and Great World City) since it first opened at Suntec City in 2001. The buffet spread features fresh seafood, sushi and sashimi, salads, appetisers, tempura and desserts. Those in the know come here for the ultra-fresh and sweet Zuwaikani snow crabs, which are either served au naturel or marinated in sweet vinegar. Try the tobanyaki (roast on a ceramic plate) – take your pick of salmon, beef, chicken or gindara (cod fish) and they will be roasted up for you a la minute. Also great is the charcoal grill that serves up a perfectly smoked rack of lamb.
Prices: Lunch: Mon-Fri adult $38.50, child $22.10; Sat & Sun adult $40.80, child $22.10; Dinner: Mon-Thu adult $53.07, child $22.10; Fri-Sun adult $58.40, child $22.10
Best Singapore high tea buffet
Town Restaurant (Buffet hours: Sat & public holidays noon-3pm) at The Fullerton Hotel’s Singaporean high tea spread will thrill those with even a stubborn local and Asian palate. If you’re going to be away from Singapore for some time and need to fill up on local fare, this will be an excellent place to have a gathering with friends and family. Savour dishes such as the signature Town laksa, freshly made prata, kueh pie tee, rojak, chicken curry and satay among other local faves. Desserts are also as local as it gets, what with treats such as pandan chiffon cake, chendol (shaved ice dessert with coconut milk, red bean and pandan jelly) and tau suan (split bean dessert).
Prices: adult $37.12, child $18.72
A vegetarian spread even meat eaters will love
Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant (Buffet hours: Daily 11.30am-3pm, 6-10pm) from Taiwan makes even carnivores happy with its spread of quality Taiwanese dim sum and buffet specialty items. From Mondays to Thursdays, diners feast on steamboat items – choosing from the herbal or spicy soup base; while from Fridays to Sundays, the spread is Asian and international. Think Taiwanese dishes, Japanese sushi, salad and fruits, western soups and local chicken rice and curries – not always of the mock meat variety.
Prices: Lunch: Mon-Thu adult $21.99, child $12.60, Fri-Sun adult $24.30, child $12.60; Dinner: Daily adult $24.30, child $12.60
Singapore cuisine, halal buffet
Straits Kitchen (Buffet hours: Daily noon-2.30pm, 6.30-10.30pm) is a one-stop buffet for the best of Singapore cuisine under one roof - but at five-star prices. This food is halal and you can watch the chefs toss your roti prata or grill you some satay through the theatre kitchens. All the local favorites make an appearance; Hainanese chicken rice, beef rendang, biryani and desserts like durian ice cream and almond cream. This is a good spot to bring out-of-town guests – they get to sample a smorgasbord of local fare, in a posh and sanitised environment.
Prices: Lunch: $51.48, dinner: $63.18
Healthy eaters' buffet spread
Breaking away from the usual ‘all you can eat till you burst’ hotel buffets is One-Ninety (Buffet hours: Mon-Fri noon-2.30pm, Sat noon-3pm) at The Four Seasons. The appetisers and desserts-only spread includes cold seafood, an exhaustive salad bar, cold cuts and meats like ox tongue, duck rilette (cured meat paste) and roast beef with parmesan and fresh rocket. There’s also a selection of cheese with nuts and dried fruit and pre-made vegetarian salad platters. Weight watchers, take nibbles of their baked macarons, assorted éclairs and cookies. Slightly bigger eaters can opt to add an entrée to their meal (for an additional $11.70) – options include a roasted baby chicken or their signature apple wood Angus tenderloin.
Prices: $44.46 per person
Curry in a colonial bungalow
The Song of India (Buffet hours: Mon-Sun noon-3pm) on Scotts Road is housed in a black and white heritage bungalow we would all love to live in. The food does match up to the opulent setting; the buffet is laid out but warm breads are served fresh and fluffy to the table. They do a well-seasoned and perfectly charred tandoori chicken and the vegetable curries and dal (lentils) do not disappoint either. There are two options for dessert and we tried a sweet and sinful carrot halwa (carrots cooked into a pudding with milk and cashews) and the kheer (rice pudding). For all that grandeur, the prices are surprisingly affordable.
Prices: Mon-Sat $23.40, Sun $34.90
Weekday a la carte dim sum buffet
Peony Jade (Buffet hours: Daily 11am-2.15pm) makes the cut for being one of the few Chinese restaurants to serve an a la carte dim sum buffet on weekdays. Their weekend line-up adds in a buffet line of roast meats, seasonal greens, noodles and rice, plus desserts. Look for the adorable handcrafted animal-shaped dim sum, which look almost too cute to eat (but they're too delicious). Order the steamed custard buns, the steamed meat dumplings in hot and sour sauce and the carrot cake.
Prices: Mon-Fri $31.35, Sat & Sun $39.55
North-Indian buffet in an elegant setting
Yantra (Buffet hours: Daily noon-3pm) at Tanglin Mall exudes a ‘fine dining meets date night’ vibe; the décor spells muted elegance and the a la carte prices are high. So the affordable buffet lunch is a pleasant (and welcome) surprise. Expect an array of North Indian style curries, kebabs (yoghurt-marinated and grilled meat and vegetables) and tandoori items. Mind you, there is more here than just a dal makhani (curried lentils) and chicken curry. We liked the Ab-e-Hayat, a vegetable soup cooked in coconut water and tandoori chaat (a melange of veggies and fresh fruit such as apples, guava, bell peppers and tomatoes marinated and roasted). Our favourite however was their aromatic dum biryani - think biryani, but steam cooked in an earthen pot.
Prices: Mon-Thu $19, Fri & Sat $25, Sun $49 with unlimited non-alcoholic beverages