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.
Visited 14Oct2012. Its my wife's birthday. We didn't managed to book another restaurant and ended up going to this one. Me, my wife, mother-in-law and 2yr 10month toddler.Food. All lousy. This is what I'm haven't been able to erase from my memory... Chilli crab is not bad but you have to wait for the chef to cook and its rationed by the chef (like the army) 2 pieces per pax. Cold Crab leg...no big deal. Oysters small and not fresh...taste soggy, drown it with tabasco before you down it please. Grill stuff, the shishamo was already cold and taste like rubber. The pasta, carbonara was miserable noodle with 1frozen prawn and 1 piece of frozen squid.Variety of food is limited.Presentation is like what other reviewers mentioned. Big plates, little food. Makes you feel miserable taking that last piece under the watchful eyes of the chefs.Worst experience was my kid was sleepy and I signed the bill without checking. We realised we were charged SGD26++ for child. We called the next day and staff Romel interrogated us if our child was above 80cm to 130cm bec they have this policy. I visited their website and told his there is no mention of 80cm (see below). In any case, how much can my less than 3 year toddler eat up in your restaurant? I ask he get his manager to call me tomorrow. 15Oct12. Next day, this staff Romel called again and said his manager wants to review the CCTV cameras to check. I ask what is he checking and he replied he will be checking the height of my child and if my child ate anything in the restaurant! Absolutely Ridiculous!!! Later in the day, the manager finally called and he insisted he had to do further Investigations...and will call back.I would really really tell my friends and fellow diners here that there are alot better buffet restaurants out there....the line, carousel that you can go and enjoy dinner....don't not bother by such petty charges.Dinner MON, WED Adult: S$58++ Child (below 1m 30cm): S$26++ TUE, THU (SPECIAL DAYS) Adult: S$68++ Child (below 1m 30cm): S$26++ FRI Adult: S$68++ Child (below 1m 30cm): S$26++ SAT, SUN, PH, PH EVE Adult: S$68++ Child (below 1m 30cm): S$26++Today 17Oct, the manager Azmi called to confirmed the refund of additional charged amount for my kid. The follow up by Azmi is pretty decent. Lets hope I actually get the refund into my credit card soon.
I would strongly not recommend this restaurant for the Lunch buffet. The variety is not impressive with simple cheapskate food which you can easily get from those S$15.00 buffet.
I was also mislead to the restaurant on seeing the website which they displayed chili crabs, oyster and snow crab, which they did not state that this critical items are not available for lunch. It's no different from those slimming ads previously.
There are much better buffet around like the Shangri-la which is cheaper.
OK, just got back home from MBS, and the buffet lunch at Todai was really disappointed.
I tried most of the dishes, and frankly the food is on average level, but feel not worth the $45 price. On the good side the smoke duck, grilled beef, lamb stick, and the pork at Korean corner are generally good taste. While other food are just so so. I am a sashimi lover, but the sashimi here is awful.. the cut is very weird, sometime it is like a stick, sometime it is very thin, and sometime it comes very thick.. and believe they use all parts of the salmon to make sashimi, so you have to check the sashimi corner regularly to be lucky enough to get a belly portion. or else you just get thick skin chewy ones.. (Check my photo taken today.) Btw there is no Oyster for lunch buffet, which they didn't state on the website.
Other than the food quality, to my surprise I saw flies sitting on the sushi for more than 5 mins (when I went to get food, I saw it stopped on the sushi, I then took a few photos of it, and then when I came back with food it was still there.), the staff never noticed it. You can check the pics I uploaded below. really surprised how could this happen in such level restaurant.
Another disaster is the mosquito! there are a huge number of mosquito inside the restaurant! Come on this is in MBS, I paid $45 per person to feed the mosquito with my fresh blood! How could this happen?! Initially we sit near the entrance, and within half an hour I got bitten on the leg, then we noticed the mosquito and managed to kill one, but still having a few flying around. so we have no choice but to ask to change our sit to the inside area. But it was getting worse.. at the end of the lunch, my wife got bitten 3 times on both arms, and I got bitten 5 times on arms and legs. Oh I took a photo when I killed the 2nd mosquito, you can check out the pics below... So avoid getting here if you don't want to get Dengue!
In short, in this price range, you have many many better choices for international buffet, such like Triple Three, The Line, Element, and other hotel buffets. Even cheaper ones like buffet town and even Sakura provides similar or better food quality. Most importantly, you don't get bitten by mosquito inside other restaurants while watching flies walking on your sushi!
For full review and photos, please visit
We visited Todai last Thursday night (March 22, 2012) for a dinner date. My boyfriend and I was curious to try it out because of its reputation in being the first international seafood buffet in Southeast Asia.
For $54++, the buffet spread had value for money. They were very generous on snow crab legs, the sushi was so extensive, there was escargot with cream on the table, the kalbi was well seasoned and the desserts were such a joy to see and taste! As for the beverage, we never expected Milo to be on free flow apart from the usual sodas, coffee and tea.
But there were a lot of drawbacks. They serve oysters but they limit 2 pcs per person. If this is the strategy of the management to control the cost or basically concerned about food safety (as a precaution to the recent food poisoning issue that Todai faced), well they could actually look at the oyster section of Shangri La‘s The Line where the chef would shuck the oysters a la minute as per order of the guest (regardless of how many they want). Todai’s oysters were small, already shucked and swimming in a tub of iced water with the left over lemon slices from the buffet. There goes the fresh briny taste that I love about oysters.
The salmon sashimi wasn’t impressive either. It wasn’t the best cut of the fish and I think the chef don’t know how to slice the fish too! Although it’s nice that he cuts the meat a la minute but his show plate is so small that it looks funny that he puts out 4 to 5 slices only each time.
I also have an issue with the chilli “slipper crabs”. They limit the portion 2 pcs per person each time. When my boyfriend asked to put my share on his plate (since I was just behind him and so that we don’t take MORE plates) the guy serving flatly rejects and says “2 pcs per person!”.
Anyway, Todai is nice to experience once but soon after you'll realize that there are other buffets in Singapore that has the same quality of buffet spread but at a cheaper price.
I was there for lunch with my family yesterday. Indeed, TODAI does have lots of food variety. But so what when the food is not so delicious after all. And worse of all, when it comes to sashimi and oyster, you are literally at the mercy of the food server, only four slices of any sort of sashimi and two skinny oysters at a time. I noticed that if you are not a regular at the counter, then you will be given the bigger ones but if the server notices that you are constantly there, he will be giving you only the very very small oysters. For the hot food, the barbecued beef and the fried brocolli is nice. The crayfish was rather tasteless. Not very good value for money at all. Would not recommend any of my friends to go there at all. Another thing that irks us was how the waitress cleared the dishes from our table: she actually put the dirty dishes that she was holding on our table and piled our plates on it before carrying away the entire load. How unhygenic!