Singapore loves buffets, no surprise there. For lunch, brunch and even in the wee hours - there are few things that excite us more than piling our plates high with 'all you can grab' grub. From seafood on ice to Indonesian rice plates, sushi and sashimi to ice-cream and steamboat, we help you navigate the city's smorgasbord of buffet spreads to bring you only the best (all 52 of them) on offer. Loosen those belts, and dive straight in - with unlimited champagne on hand, of course.
Über-luxurious international buffet
Be bowled over by the sheer volume and variety of the buffets (breakfast, lunch and dinner) at The Line(Buffet hours: Daily 6-10.30am, noon-1.30pm, 6-10.30pm). A modern, minimalist 400-seater restaurant at Shangri-La, their buffet has 16 stations that offer worldly fare, from pesto spaghetti cooked on the spot to satay skewers aplenty, sashimi, Indian curry and a carvery. Get some creamery style ice-cream with the toppings mashed up, and finish with a freshly-brewed flavoured cappuccino at the barista bar. If you’re a diehard seafood fan, go for the marine harvest special on Tuesday and Thursday nights. All 16 kitchens will transform into seafood stations serving up a mix of traditional and new creations featuring fresh catches like Boston lobsters, king prawns and crabs. Desserts are also a dream with choices such as ice cream teppanyaki (iron-griddle cooked food) and piping-hot soufflés. The Line also does a great Sunday brunch, but if you're brunching at the Shangri-la, give The Waterfall café a try.
Prices: Dinner: Tue & Thu $102.64 with unlimited sparkling wine; Mon, Wed, Sun $84.24 with unlimited non-alcoholic drinks; Fri-Sat $91.26 with unlimited non-alcoholic drinks.
Halal, international buffet that requires stamina
This one is for the serious ‘buffetarian’. Carousel at Royal Plaza on Scotts (Buffet hours: 6.30-10.30pm) has a big buffet spread for every meal, but their dinner is the biggest and baddest. There is an eye-popping array of seafood – prawns, shellfish, lobsters and a whole Atlantic salmon; sushi, sashimi, a live teppanyaki (iron-griddle cooked food) station and shabu-shabu (thinly sliced beef dipped in broth/sauce). There is a small mezze selection and a large salad bar, a rotisserie and Middle-Eastern chicken kebabs. Have your pasta cooked à la minute and paired with their freshly baked bread and halal cheese. The European selection has a decent beef bourguignon and carrot au gratin. There is Asian and Indian fare and separate stations for noodles, dim sum and even one for Hainanese chicken rice with all the condiments. We recommend coming on a (very) empty stomach to get through this.
Prices: Mon-Thu adult $72.54, child $44.46; Fri-Sun adult $87.75, child $49.14
Laksa lovers' buffet
Take it from us – the laksa base is really lemak (rich) and spicy, just the way everyone likes it. King’s Laksa Steamboat (Buffet hours: Daily 11am-11pm) lives up to its name, serving more than 80 steamboat ingredients in its buffet as well as cooked food such as prawn paste chicken wings. Choose two soups for your steamboat: the signature laksa broth is the most popular, followed by herbal soup, Szechuan mala chilli, and a hearty chicken and seafood soup rounding out the choices. The ingredients are decently fresh for the price, but don’t expect any frills from this simple shophouse space.
Prices: Lunch: $19.80 per person, dinner: $26.18 per person
Affordable seafood buffet at Marina Bay Sands
The dining options at MBS come with sky-high prices, but you get the most bang for your buck at Todai (Buffet hours: Mon-Sat 11.30am-3pm, 5.30-10pm; Sun 11.30am-4pm, 5-10pm). This all you can eat spot's forte is their cold seafood counter. Piled high with snow crabs, oysters, clams and shrimp (depending on seasonal availability); this counter alone makes this buffet worth it. The sashimi selection is fresh and regularly refilled as are the sushi, nigiri and maki rolls. Among the hot food counters, there’s a good rendition of Singapore chili crab, garlic steamed fish and local favorite – laksa. Wait, there’s more; dim sum, noodles, salad, Korean and Chinese food, so pile those plates high and make multiple rounds. We had little room for desserts but the tower of macarons could not be ignored.
Prices: Lunch: Tue, Thu & Fri child $30.42, adult $53.82; Mon & Wed child $30.42, adult $67.86; Sat, Sun, eve of public holidays and public holidays child $30.42, adult $74.88 | Dinner: Tue, Thu & Fri child $30.42, adult $79.56; Mon & Wed child $30.42, adult $66.86; Sat, Sun, eve of public holidays and public holidays child $30.42, adult $79.88.
A bay side brunch buffet
Forlino (Buffet hours: Sat-Sun noon-2.30pm) weekend à la carte buffet features three appetisers, three pasta dishes, two mains, three desserts and unlimited refills. Chef Kentaro Torii rotates the dishes regularly, but past menus have included a cream of mushroom soup, straccetti with beef ragout, white tuna with lemon butter sauce, homemade ice cream and sorbet. The buffet is available at a hard-to-beat one-for-one offer until June 2013. Bay views and fine Italian cuisine is how we want to spend our next weekend.
Prices: $102.96 for two
Elegant, all-you-can-eat dim sum
Cherry Garden (Buffet hours: Sat-Sun 11am-1pm, 1.30-3.30pm) with its dark wood decor and intimate Oriental courtyard ambience is the most desirable setting for a dim sum buffet. The main dining hall overlooks the Marina Bay and can accommodate only 70 people at a time, making this weekends-only lunch experience cosy and exclusive. What to eat? The gold dusted (yes – edible, powdered gold) steamed bamboo pith and prawn dumplings or the poached garlic pork and mushroom dumplings in spicy Thai sauce. Move on to the meats and try the flawlessly glazed Kurobuta char siew and silky-skinned braised soy chicken. For dessert, we recommend the cream of avocado with walnut ice cream and the exotic watermelon chutney with aloe vera, crystal pears and lemongrass jelly.
Prices: adult $79.56, child $46.80
Celebrity chef Wan's big buffet
Helmed by Malaysian (although, did you know, he was born in Singapore) celebrity chef, Chef Wan, 1 Market (Buffet hours: Daily 11.30am–2.30pm, 6–10pm) at Plaza Singapura almost needs no introduction with the hype around it since its opening in November 2012. On a daily basis, makcik (Malay aunty) fangirls of Chef Wan’s queue up for a dining spot in the 450-seater halal buffet restaurant. We ate our way through the big buffet and brought you our detailed verdict here..
Sweet 'Marketplace' hotel buffet
The experience MELT – The World Café (Buffet hours: Daily 6.30–10.30am, noon–2.30pm, 6.30–10pm; Sun noon–3pm) would like you to take away is that of a high-end market place. Of the live and prepared buffet stations, you can find Indian, Italian, Thai, Chinese and Mediterranean sections. Our strategy through this 300-seater is always to get in on the made-to-order handmade angel hair pasta (three types every day) swirled up in a light, not-so-tart tomato and basil sauce; then the neighbouring station for tandoor-cooked meats in their specially-built oven – the lamb is the best where the meat is cooked just right and not dried out. After which, head straight for the packed patisserie counter – from freshly-made Belgian waffles, a chocolate fountain and chocolate mousse in cups (when eaten with the mint ice cream this harkens to Andes mint chocolates), to a display case of sweet treats in shot glasses and tiers of indulgent full-sized cakes. Yes, you do get to determine the size of your slice, but why should it be less than generous?
Prices: Lunch: Mon-Sat $79.56, Sun $128.38 & $184.86 with unlimited Champagne; Dinner: Sun-Wed $91.26, Thu-Sat $102.96.
A semi-buffet lunch with a view
The view from the 70th floor of Swissotel The Stamford is one of the island's best – so enjoy it while tucking into a semi-buffet lunch spread at Equinox Restaurant (Buffet hours: Mon-Sat noon-2.30pm). Gorge on unlimited servings of soup, salad, cold seafood and desserts but keep room for the main courses (you can order one from a selection of six). It’s hard to pick between the ballotine of Sakura chicken breast and the half-grilled Maine lobster (additional top-up of $15), but try. It would be unfair to enjoy this view and not have a drink at hand; thankfully the buffet includes a glass of Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc or Merlot. On Sundays, the restaurant offers a full international buffet ($173 with unlimited champagne, $149.76 with unlimited non-alcoholic drinks).
Prices: Mon-Sat adult $69, child $34.50
Wholesome and healthy international selection
Cafebiz (Buffet hours: Mon-Fri noon-2.30pm; Sat & Sun noon-3pm) at Traders Hotel nods to spring in their popular lunchtime International buffet. The menu is actually inspired by flowers, fruit and tea (for the months of March and April) and the food is infused with their goodness. Savour creations such as scallops ceviche infused with jasmine tea and yuzu vinaigrette, poached seafood in spicy roselle broth and a glazed Lapsang Souchang chicken – all delightfully light on the palate. Other mainstays of the buffet are the roasted meat corner, laksa and fresh seafood on ice.
Prices: Mon-Fri $52.65; Sat & Sun $65.52