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Reviews for Todai

2.9

Eatability rating

157 reviews

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AsianFusionInternationalJapaneseKorean
Address: #B2-01A, Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Avenue, 018956
03 Aug 2012
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Worth it – even if only for the fresh, sweet, juicy Alaskan snow crabs

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.

Must Tries
crabs, oysters, baked salmon
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Back for more of the new dishes!

I went to Todai again yesterday since I did not manage to try all the new dishes that they have the other time I was here. This time I tried the whole salmon steak, the beef steak, the lamb chop steak (I guess I was craving steak) and the various rolls they had. The names of the rolls were interesting and they were quite delicious. If I recall, there was a Black Hole, Dragon Roll and Lion King. My friend enjoyed their new Korean dishes and tried the Pork Belly, which we heard was a new addition.

I think we managed to try out all the dishes by now. I might come back to go over it one more time ;)
Management response from Todai, published 09 May 2014
Dear NishaHeallmy, Thank you for dining at TODAI again. We are glad to have you back and pleased to know you enjoyed our new additions. Do come back soon! Yours faithfully, The Management TODAI
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In terms of pricing, not Family Oriented....

Variety of Food - Good. Alaska Crab is wonderful, sashimi is good too
Service is below average. Waitress are expressionless & slow in clearing the plates.

Surprisingly, only kids of height 130cm & below will be charge at kid pricing.. A 9 year only kid would mostly be above 130cm already & would have to pay the adult price, which is really hefty for a kid. Todai's reply to my query on this was -

TODAI has been practicing the policy since its establishment in 1985.
The management feels that it would be fair to judge by height instead of the age as the taller kids will consume more foods in general.
Thank you.

Still, am not convince. Policy since 1985! Shldnt Todai do some research & see if their research justify their 1985 policy?? If most hotels can use age as a guideline on charging kids buffet, I do not see how Todai's rationale of charging based on height stands............. Perhaps, Todai is not a family oriented restaurant
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Terrible service, average food.

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)
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New menu is good!

I went there last week and really enjoyed the new menu. I have been to TODAI a few times and was quite familiar with the spread they usually have, but when I went there last week, almost everything had been changed. The crab festival was back so I got my fix of King Crab. They had snow crab, red crab and golden crab too. 

The Carpaccio, beef steak and the whole salmon steak were some of the new favourite dishes for me, but I know my friend enjoyed the new Korean dishes and some of the new rolls as well.

Even if you've been to TODAI before (like I have), you should go again to check out their new menu.
Management response from Todai, published 07 May 2014
Dear LorenzoF, We appreciate your continuous support for TODAI. We are delighted to know you enjoyed yourself with the crab festival, Carpaccio, beef steak and whole salmon steak. Do visit us again soon. Anyway, thank you for recommending us! Best Regards, The Management TODAI
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Surprise new menu!

I went for dinner there with my fiancé yesterday! The new spread was a delightful surprise!

My favourite was the Alaskan Crab Festival because there were 4 types of crabs to choose from; snow, golden, red and King Crab! They changed most of the food items in the buffet line so we got to try a lot of new things last night. The Carpaccio and Gravlax was really good, and we kept topping up on the half-shell scallop. Can't wait to go back there to try the rest of the items since we could not try all the new dishes in one meal. Nonetheless, it was a very fulfilling dinner date.
Management response from Todai, published 07 May 2014
Dear NishaHeallmy, Thank you for dining with us at TODAI. We are glad to know you and your fiancé like the Carpaccio and Gravlax. Be sure to be back soon for the other new items. We look forward to have both of you dining with us again. Yours faithfully, The Management TODAI