I've been here a few times for their lunch buffet. It's well priced and you get what you pay for. For photos, please visit my blog: http://frugalinsingapore.com/budget-friendly-buffets-in-singapore-part-1-chinese-vegetarian/
My family went to Irvin's and had the dinner buffet - sounded promising, but turned out to be the worst buffet we've ever tried. Firstly, the food was very oily and salty, and items which should have been crispy (e.g. salt & pepper squid, salted egg silver fish) were soggy.
Although the restaurant promotes its salted egg dishes, there was no real flavour to it except for oil and salt. Many tze char stalls can do this much better. The pumpkin prawns also tasted like the salted egg prawns; salty and oily (no pumpkin taste).
The salted egg chips sounded interesting (and was actually crispy - wow!) but was dripping with oil. The beehoon was also very oily.
The mushroom soup was like murky water with random slices of mushroom, while the "abalone" porridge was simply too salty to be eaten.
Steamboat items were primarily prawn/vege balls and a few kinds of vegetables. Strangely, one of the vegetables were very salty. There were also prawns and (really really tiny) scallops. It was quite disconcerting that everyone had to use the same two steamboat pots to cook their food - not sure if this is hygenic since the soup is constantly reused and in the open (vulnerable to e.g. sneezes). The two pots had many remnants from people's previous cooking, looking pretty unappetising.
The service was also lacking despite the fact we were at first one of the few groups of customers that were there. We had to clear our own plates (!), call for someone to refill the soup in the steamboat pots, and gave up when we realised the yu zhar kway for the porridge had run out (not replenished during the 45 min we were there).
Not to say that they didn't have any decent items (e.g. curry fish, teriyaki beef) but these were simply edible and not fantabulous.
They also mentioned 'desserts' to be included in the buffet, but there were none.
This is really not worth the price of $19.80 + 10% service charge (where's the service?). Never going back.
http://poohlovesfood.wordpress.com/2014/12/22/irvins-live-seafood-house/ for full review
Tried google-ing a few recommended places for crabs where i can bring some of my international friends to. As its their last few days in Singapore and they told me they have yet to tried our famous chilli crab, so decided to bring them to Irvins located at Jalan Leban. When i first step in, i was kind of taken aback as it’s pretty empty, and i’m wondering, oh no, did the standard drop and so no one is around! Luckily when we tried the crabs, we are quite pleased with it! We ordered the following dishes for trying.
Pumpkin prawn: Pumpkin taste isnt too raw and sauce is a lil creamy. Even someone for me who doesn’t eat pumpkin find it good! Prawns used were big and fresh and deep fried to crispy!
Generally their crab prices are seasonal and vary accordingly to their sizes. But the ones at Irvins’ are quite reasonable. The big ones cause about probably around $50 odd, and sometimes they have promotional prices for crabs which can be as cheap as $18.
Salted Egg Crab: This is one of the promotional crab we ordered and chose to have it the salted egg style. Although, it’s small and i did not expect much from it, but to my surprise, it’s rather meaty! And the golden yellow sauce is amazing! When you think that dipping man tou into the usual chilli crab sauce is good, dipping it into this golden salted egg sauce is equally awesome! Definitely a good alternative for someone who prefer the non-spicy way. Their man tou is good too! Crispy on the outside, and soft in the inside!
Singapore Signature Chilli Crab: The meat of the Sri Lanka crab is fresh, meaty and jie s***. Definitely feeling shiok when eating it! The gravy is needless to say, a little spicy and well thicken with eggs.
Black Pepper Crab: The black pepper flavor may be a lil overwhelming and choking due to the nature of black pepper. So if you are not someone who enjoys taking spicy food, you may choose other alternatives. But other than being a lil overwhelm by the black pepper, it taste pretty good too!
Irvins’ prices are quite decent and food served are fresh. It’s quite spacious and air-conditioned. So beside it being a little ulu, i find it a good place for a family dinner!
Used to be a regular of Irvin's when it was at RV because of its $18 crabs and pork ribs. Prices were reasonable and the restaurant was air-conditioned. After it moved to Sembawang I was surprised to see that the crabs are more expensive despite off prime location. The quality of the food seemed to have dropped.
The buffet on the surface seemed good value, but the fare/quality was mediocre. On the day we went, the menu did not have crabs but only the salted egg sauce. The veg was oily and there were a number of fried food which I didn't like. The choice was limited. Parking was hard.
The restaurant was packed with PRCs talking loudly and 'contributed' to the Chi-na ambience.
Prices of ala carte menu have shot up compared to the old location which was definitely way above normal zhi char stall prices (eg. braised claypot tofu $15.90, baby kailan $12.90). A bowl of white rice costs $1.20 and plus tax. I have never come across such expensive bowl of rice!
For the long distance I have to drive from town and for this ex ala carte menu, it was not worth it. 2 persons cost us $80. way too costly!
See full review with pictures here.
We brought my parents to Irvin’s Live Seafood – didn’t make a reservation until the day itself. It was nearly the only place left that wasn’t packed to the gills. Irvin’s Live Seafood is known for their salted egg yolk crab, which we tried - I’m not a real big fan of salted egg yolk, so the cholesterol boost is not really justified for me. Still, everyone really liked it and it’s better than chilli crab in that my nose/eyes are not watering while eating it and my tongue is not completely numbed by the spices so as to be unable to taste the crab meat.
We also had their five spice prawns (not from five spice powder, but I have no idea what the five spices are.) They offered it deshelled, which was a plus, but they battered it after, and it was overcooked.
Deep fried enoki seems to be becoming a trend in zhi char stalls here. It was very nice with thai sweet chilli, although there was more batter than there was mushroom :S
The yam ring was really tasty, but the yam was cold! Think they were counting on the filling to warm the dish up, bit like how they expect the rice in vegetable rice to warm up the vegetables. :S Still, I wouldn’t mind coming back here to try this if they perform better with fewer customers.
The service was really bad, and the homemade water chestnut and grass jelly were really dilute. My brother was quite upset at the time lag between each course (could be 15-20 minutes) cause it was Mother’s day and the kitchen was unable to keep up with the custom.
They have a $9.90 tapas type menu which I wouldn’t mind trying.. if I come back here again, which doesn’t seem super likely.