Singapore is a buffet-crazy nation. How else would you explain the crowds in restaurants offering international buffet spreads?
Value-for-money buffets in Singapore are a dime a dozen. If quality, not just variety, is what you’re after, zoom in on our pick of the best Singapore buffets that we busted our waistlines to round up.
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Royal Plaza on Scotts, 25 Scotts Road, 65897799. Available: 12pm-2pm (lunch); 6.30pm-10.30pm (dinner)
The buzz This buffet gets crowded. Hugely popular with many self-professed buffetarians, the interior is divided into three tastefully spruced up spaces (the Terrace, Living Room and Verandah) – even then, a meal here can get noisy.
What’s special An eye-popping array of seafood, the crustacean station is one of the buffet’s highlights (lunch $43; dinner $58). Prawns, shellfish and a whole steamed salmon – sweet and tender, and good enough on its own - are the highlights. The appetiser section has a small mezze selection that has perennial Greek-Middle Eastern favourites such as baba ghanoush (mashed eggplant with seasonings), hummus, tzatziki (cucumber with yogurt) and pita bread.
The mains feature an exotic array of Mediterranean-inspired dishes ranging from spiced potatoes with coriander and garlic to green mussels with walnut sauce and meat from a shawarma rotisserie. There’s also an Asian kitchen offering Malay, Chinese, Indian and Thai dishes. But it's Carousel's pasta selection that impresses - the pasta is cooked al dente and doused in well-balanced sauces. The addictively spicy aglio olio is one of the best we’ve had.
Also tuck into: Across the road at the Grand Hyatt's Straits Kitchen is a daily spread of halal Chinese, Malay and Indian dishes (lunch $44++; dinner $52++) like satay, Hainanese chicken rice and tandoori chicken. Further out at the Asian Market Cafe at Fairmont, 'live' - and equally halal - action stations are fired up for pan-Asian plates; We can never resist the thick but not gloopy durian pengat (lunch $45++; dinner $55++).
Read also: Best 5 Indian buffets
Mandarin Oriental Singapore, 5 Raffles Avenue, 68853082. Available: 12pm-2.30pm (lunch); 6.30pm-10.30pm (dinner)
The buzz One of the few Singapore buffet restaurants in town to bring a “fine-dining” touch to its all-you-can-eat spread. Be it the starters, sashimi, Indian, Thai or Chinese lineup, each section is artfully arranged and presented. Small portions of food are dished up each time to make the lineup look exclusive and enticing. Melt’s stylish surrounds also ensure an elegant buffet dining experience. Partitions made from intricate woven rattan divide the different seating zones and lend a sense of “exclusivity”.
What’s special The sashimi come straight from the hotel’s Japanese eatery, Wasabi Bistro, the naan and tandoori meats get churned out fresh before your eyes from the tandoor (traditional clay oven) and the fat, glossy crustaceans gleam from the seafood counter. And did we mention the dainty desserts that line the sleek glass showcases? But the “star” among the sweet temptations has got to be the Belgian waffles, made on the spot and served with your choice of homemade ice creams (chocolate, vanilla and pistachio to name a few).
The lunch buffet ($56) features no pork and lard, and the dinner buffet (Thu to Sun, $78) is a carnivore’s dream with barbecued meats and suckling pig and pork knuckles from the spit roast oven.
Also tuck into: Small and dainty is also the theme of the spread at Marina Bay Sand's Rise Buffet Restaurant (lunch $57; dinner $80) - the selection ranges from sushi and oysters to cheese and mini cream puffs. For traditional and originally mini dishes, Jing's Saturday and Sunday brunch-only dim sum buffet ($48++) satisfies, if solely on its translucent har gow (shrimp dumplings) alone.
Shangri-La Hotel, Orange Grove Road, 6213 4275. Available: 12pm-2.30pm (lunch); 6.30pm-10.30pm (dinner)
The buzz This sprawling 1,350 buffet restaurant is a pioneer in offering a theatrical dining buffet concept. For $47 (lunch) and $68 (dinner), you get 16 open-style cooking stations where diners can see their food being prepped à la minute.
What’s special Making a stop at each station is like visiting a mini restaurant in itself: The Italian counter serves up a good range of pasta with homemade sauces and pizzas; The sashimi station beckons with supremely fresh raw fish, sliced upon ordering; and there are stacks of steamy bamboo baskets with dim sum, roast meat noodles and local delights such as satay and fishball noodles. The Northern Indian spread is also not to be missed.
The dessert department is also just as elaborate. Apart from cakes, there’s a chocolate fountain and an ice cream teppanyaki station where your favourite flavour and toppings are mixed together on the chilled marble slab - the original Cold Stone Creamery? The Line is also probably the only buffet restaurant where its coffee counter is manned by a trained barista who can brew a gourmet cuppa to end your meal on a lovely note.
The buffet dinner on certain days of the week comes with special themes - oyster night's on Tuesdays, grilled meats and seafood on Wednesdays and a crustacean feast on Thursdays.
Also tuck into: The Olive Tree Restaurant at Hotel InterContinental (lunch $45++; dinner $55++) serves an array of Asian and Western favourites that borrow touches from cuisines from all over the world. At The Ritz Carlton's Greenhouse, East meets West on Friday and Saturday nights ($82++) with dishes drunken prawn hot pot, glazed unagi and truffle potato salad and mushroom and crab roe tart.
Read also: Top 5 Sunday brunch buffets
Mandarin Orchard Singapore, 333 Orchard Road, 6831 6288/6831 6271. Available: 12pm-2.30pm (lunch); 6.30pm-10pm (dinner)
The buzz Following Mandarin Orchard’s grand refurbishment, Triple Three was revamped into a smart, contemporary-looking restaurant with ten "live” cooking stations offering a luxurious lunch (Mon to Thu $65; Fri & Sat $72) and dinner ($85) buffets.
What’s special The main highlight has to be the Japanese offerings: Chefs manning the tempura and teppanyaki stations whip up their dishes à la minute while the tempura counter pairs a green tea sea salt dip with their crisp golden morsels. Don’t miss the divinely smooth chawanmushi. If Japanese isn't your idea of a bargain, there are also roast prime rib of beef, fresh seafood on ice to wok-fried favourites and local dishes.
Don't forget dessert: We love the rich blackforest cake generously laden with liqueur-soaked cherries, the warm sticky date pudding with toffee sauce and homemade saffron pistachio ice cream that hits you with its exotic, creamy taste and texture.
Also tuck into: For an spread much more affordable - and a whole other traditional - 200-seat Chiso Zanmai offers a massive selection of up to 100 dishes for a mere $14.90 per person.
Sheraton Towers Singapore, 39 Scotts Road, 6839 5621. Available: Wed-Sat: 12pm-2.30pm (lunch); 7pm-10.30pm (dinner)
The buzz Probably one of the most tranquil lunchtime - yes, lunchtime - spots in town because of its picturesque landscaped outdoor garden that surrounds the restaurant's floor-to-ceiling windows. Think waterfall and rock pools.
What’s special Desserts. The hotel’s signature crunchy chocolate praline cake, served in bite-sized portions, is part of the spread. We also love the warm chocolate pudding with pistachio sauce and pandan creme brulee. You also get the usual sushi and sashimi selection, roast meat from the carvery and a selection of mains for the all-you-can-eat lunch ($37.80). There’s also a small meatless selection featuring South Asian and Western vegetarian delights.
Its W.O.W (Women Only Wednesdays) dinner promotion ($58++) is valid for, uh, ladies only, appealing to the fairer sex's Mediterranean sensibilities.
Also tuck into:The Knolls at Capella is a tranquil spot to spend an afternoon with tea (three replenishable sets of high-tea, $38-$44 per set) or the grill-dominated Sunday brunch buffet ($148++ to $188++). Alternatively, stay among the city dwellers at the Dolce Vita at the Mandarin Oriental with a Sundays-only à la carte Italian brunch buffet ($108++) by Michelin-starred chef Marco Pedrelli.