I was recently invited to a tasting session at TODAI, an international all-you-can-eat buffet chain restaurant located at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, and totally jumped at the chance. You see, I love buffets, and the many types of food that come with it. Variety is the spice of life, right. And oh, did this place have variety. From fresh seafood, to Korean, Chinese, Italian, Western, TODAI had these and more.
Personally, I felt that the highlight of the buffet was definitely the Alaskan snow crab station. Piled high on a bed of ice, these goodies disappeared at the blink of an eye but were replenished quite quickly by the staff. Biting into the big fat leg of the crab resulted in sweet, delicious juice bursting into song in my mouth, seriously making me swoon. Dry is definitely not a word that exists in the realm of this dish – each and every piece was so juicy (I had about 4 or 5 pieces), tender and sweet in a fresh seafood sort of way (not in the dessert or processed sugar kind of way). So. Good.
The freshly shucked oysters were of pretty good quality and taste as well – they tasted fresh, were fairly plump and juicy, and weren’t grainy or sandy. They only allowed people to take 2 pieces at a time; which actually if you think about it, is quite a good system, not only to prevent hoggers and allow more people to enjoy them, but also to help ensure that you get a positive experience which won’t happen if you leave them on the table for too long. Also tried the fresh mussels and prawns – the mussels were good too, nice and firm and fresh; the prawns were okay, fresh too but I felt were a bit bland, not sweet enough for me.
This two-each-time rule also applied to the chilli crabs – but they were so popular and had an insanely long queue that I didn’t try them in the end. The sauce was not bad though, had quite a kick and wasn’t too sweet.
TODAI had sashimi and also a very wide selection of sushi as well – but unfortunately although the variety and innovativeness (quite unusual flavours of sushi) for the latter was there, the rice and general presentation of garnishes piled onto them looked kind of messy and unappealing (and plus, the dish is really very carb loaded), so I just had three for taste – and they were just okay. As for the sashimi, there were only salmon and tuna available, and were also so-so as well – I’d say save the space for the other fresh seafood items.
Or even for the oven baked / grilled / fried items (all around the same station) or Chinese dishes – these were actually surprisingly good as well. In particular I liked the baked salmon, garlic chicken wing, beef shortrib, steamed fish, yam and red bean ball, and the caramel and fig duck (in the pictures below). From the Korean station, the thick glass noodles were yummy – light and savoury and the pan-fried fish coated in egg, delightful. The seafood pancake was a bit doughy though.
From the appetizers station, I really enjoyed the cold preserved seaweed, curry tuna mashed potatoes that were really tasty – and the rest were not too bad as well – sautéed mushrooms and garlic, smoked duck, and roast beef carpaccio. And from the churrasco section, the steak, roast pork and grilled mushrooms were pretty good, juicy and flavourful – but it seemed like a matter of luck as to whether you are able to get any of these; only if you happen to be there when the chef is cooking up a batch. But I didn’t really try asking though, as someone from our table was in luck and got a plate of each of the two earlier mentioned meats, so perhaps asking would yield some results.
So much food right? And there’s more – an Italian counter, which I never got around to trying. A small dim sum corner, which I took a token siew mai from – tasted alright. A Japanese zaru soba counter, a salad counter. There was also a comprehensive drink counter with a wide selection including soft drinks, water, green tea, flavoured teas and yes, you read it right, Milo. I think they were trying to add some local flavour – well, the drink was a hit at our table. Crazy amount of food displayed at this place – pretty much able to provide something for almost everyone, I believe.
And of course, we can’t forget about dessert! The spread for this was pretty impressive as well, with an entire macaron tower, a soft serve ice cream machine (that allows you to do the vanilla and chocolate twist, I’m sold), and also little plates and glasses of sweet treats. By this time I had really little space left, so I just had a small banana chocolate mousse and some tiramisu ganache looking cake, as well as a twist of soft serve smothered with lots of nuts. The little cakes were quite nice, smooth and lightly sweet, though I didn’t quite fancy the very cake-y base. The soft serve well… tasted like regular soft serve, but the nuts made it awesome – though some chocolate sauce would’ve improved it a bit further – it was a pleasant finish to a rather large, satisfying meal.
Overall I was really quite happy with the quality and variety of the food, the ambience, service (I heard most of the staff are Koreans, and while they may not understand English that well, they were all pretty friendly and efficient), and feel that it is good value for the price. My only gripe is that I spotted one or two flies hovering about in the restaurant – which is something I don’t quite like. However I also found out that the management is aware of the issue (which apparently came with the premises) and has been actively working on this and spending a lot of time and money on solving it, so that’s good enough for me. One or two flies are fine to me as long as they don’t get too near the food and the place is in the midst of getting rid of them.
Also, some items are seasonal and they try to refresh their menu once in a while to keep regulars interested, and they have a monthly theme as well – when I went last week there was a ‘kimchi’ theme and so there was an extended selection of various kimchi types available for diners to sample. They also stated on their placemat that no MSG is used in their food, which is great, actually. I was kind of thirsty after the dinner though; perhaps the food did have a bit more of other types of seasoning instead.
Comparable to and I feel, even better than some international hotel buffets.
For more details and pictures, please visit my food blog Ingredients Of Happiness at: http://bit.ly/IOH_TodaiSG.
went on the fourth of july to celebrate my wife's birthday as she loved fresh oysters. Upon arrival i was seated at a small table for two, and the crowd was not much , so i had 2 empty tables for four beside me, so i asked the staff if i could swap to that table instead and the staff replied to me in a rude way saying" NO , that table is for customers of at least 3, and your only two person" so i was like okayyyy nvm. my wife's birthday so dont wanna get angry , IT GETS WORSE.
1ST the food choices are not as much as you think it is. they refill the food slow as well. Fresh (NOT AT ALL) oysters sucked, as it was the main reason we chose that restaurant . Salmon Sashimi had this chewy and hard parts i do not know why. Alaskan crab was okay . after finishing first rounds we decided to take a walk around again. this time we were after chinese cuisines and no complaints it was delicious especially the steamed fish . so we went over to request for some lamb and i asked the staff if i could have some for 2 person, he nodded and cut one small chunk for me and i was a bit angry at that time, i asked if i can have some more and he had this furious face and cuts the lamb with a lot of strenght trying to show that his angry . I myself works in retail line and i understand that some customers are quite demanding and i always prevent myself from being those kind of customers and i always requested politely, nvm that . we went back to our table , seeing that our empty plates were still there , and we had no place left to leave our food. so i put those plates on the table next to me which was empty , then probably around 4 minutes later a staff came over and kept those plates as if the plates had insulted her , bang bang bang there. and continued to keep our empty plates on our table.i was furious . i was thinking i don't owe her anything or dint do anything to have deserved this treatment. then okay nvm i wanted to enjoy more foods as i was paying 160$+ for two person. then i went over to the italian section and tried their pasta and pizza . on my way back i saw a queue of around 6-7 person. and saw them queuing up for chilli crab. so i decided to join the queue and waited around 10 minutes and it was my turn and the staff there giving out the crabs told me sorry finish already , it will take around 15 minutes later to refill so i went back to my seat and finished up my third round. and 15 minutes passed, happily i went over to queue for the crabs and got it finally and walked a last quick round to look for some nice foods i missed out. so went back to my seat and again tables are not cleared. so i stacked them together in the middle of the table. so finishing my crabs. went for deserts and fruits. again table not cleared. so hard to clear it? if they dont wanna clear the tables for us at least let us have the table for four , so i could leave my empty plates on the side. Experience was really bad for 160 dollars. sorry for my bad english.
First time patronizing Todai in late April 2014, since it is at MBS I expected better ambience. I have the same reviews as most of the reviewers here, the food was really average, portions were tiny. Not to mention the tables were situated very closely to each other, there was no space to walk and not enough space for my plates. My friend tried calling for a waitress to clear our plates but she walked by twice without noticing us.
In the end we had no choice but to put our used plates on the table next to us and when the same staff saw she immediately looked annoyed. We saw 2 other waitresses carrying up to 6 to 8 plates of used plates at one time coming from the very end of the restaurant but no one was attending to our area at that time.
The only other waitress I saw around was the one we called for twice but she did not see us. At this point it was getting very frustrating because our plates (and the other customers near us) were piling up and all she did was stand at the counter. (In front of a room labelled Chicago if I don't remember wrongly). Also her expression was completely irritated as if she didn't want to be there at all. Just to highlight in case any of the managers see this, I presume she is not a Singaporean, most probably a Filipino. She had the same uniform as both of the other waitresses (black shirt, red apron) but only the other 2 waitresses were busy clearing plates, yet they still could smile at customers.
This particular waitress had no initiative at all I even felt bad when I called over 1 of the other 2 waitresses to help with my used plates.
Please improve the service of your staff, especially the (presumed) Filipino waitress. The staff in pants, a vest and tie did not seem to care that she was not helping in clearing plates at all, I presume that they are of a higher position than the waiting staff in black shirt and red apron.
Also, it is upsetting to see such a sour/annoyed expression by a waitress when my friend and I were trying to have a enjoyable night.
Clearly, I am not the only one that is disappointed with the service. (photos attached)
Was @ Todai last night (11 Oct 12-Thu), paid Special Days price S$68++ per head. It was Gangnam Style @ TodaiThe ambience & the layout looks good at Todai. They played K-pop MV @ Todai.Honestly, we like the chilli crab (though there were some setback). My only praise for the Nice and unique dish ..... "Fried Ginseng". The Yam Ring was good with generous filling, but replenishment was long.Disappointment :-1)Food presentation was bad. Big plate, miserable portion of food placed. Could understand if avoid wastage, at least change the plate. It spoil appetite, like left over portion.2) No show of Magician walking around the floor performing, during our stay there for close to 2 hrs. We even check w the staff, they were speechless.3) Food items served not worth the value paid for S$80 per head4) The chilli crab shell was hard and not much knock on the shell by the cook. It was hard & difficult for us to break open to eat even with the scissors for crab.Without deny, the picture at Todai website were very well taken. A pity that the range, theme & food were not worth the value paid. Should have done my homework earlier to search thru' HungryGoWhere engine before making our way there. Deceived
I m not pleased with the service. The female staffs were bitchy and rude. Food wise sushi was so small. Snow crab legs were tiny compared to the advertisements on the website. Servings for oysters were served 2 each time. Not good as other buffets for example Goodwood park served out a bunch of oysters at a time. Cooked food was soso. Pricey at $65++. The tiny macroons were cute though....