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Reviews for Todai

2.9

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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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Todai MBS

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....
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some thots from my second food tasting

This is my 2nd food tasting at Todai, the 1st one was about 2 years ago. Drawing from some insights from a few design week talks I attended, here’s some of my thoughts on what will bringing me back to Todai as a paying customer.

I was surprised that the layout and most of the food selection have remained unchanged. Maybe a review of the food items and change/rotate 10-20% of the less popular ones every 3-6 mths will keep the buffet interesting. The strawberry promotion is one good idea and there should be more of it.

Most people get their value (and Todai incur bulk of their cost) on the main seafood items: Salmon Sashimi/Tuna Sashimi, Alaskan crab, oyster. Based on some of the reviews, the supply delay/disruption of these premium items draws strong emotions. So these items should be managed properly i.e. ensure no stock out at anytime but place a manager to regulate the supply tactfully.

There are rows of empty tables and chairs outside the restaurant meant to accommodate more people but can give passer-bys the impression that the restaurant is empty.

Todai is sandwiched between cheaper seafood buffets options like Vienna International Seafood & Teppanyaki Restaurant (HGW rating of 43%) and hotel buffets like The Line (HGW rating of 71%). Its rating of 51% shows that. Browsing through some of the seafood buffet reviews, I noticed that people have a love-hate relationship with buffets. Some love it and some hate it with not much of an in between. One thing that draws people to buffets is promotions which reinforces the value-for-money draw of buffets. Maybe Todai can offer 1 for 1 coupons to customers to draw them for repeat visits with their friends. The current pricing for weekday dinner is Adult: S$58++ Child (below 1m 30cm): S$26++. I know that kids love the selection at buffets but they don’t eat much, especially not much of the premium seafood items. How about a kid below 1.3m eat free with an accompanying adult? I am sure my kids will beg/blackmail me to bring them to Todai.

Kitchen stations and food display are arranged to methodically, I mean you will never find a hotel buffet with food stations called …..Seafood, Pastries, Italian, Korean, Deep Fried, Chinese, Oven Baked probably carried over from the US design to orientate clueless Ang Mohs. How about doing away with the food groupings and make the signage for the individual food items more prominent? The open kitchen concepts also means that the food smell will linger on your clothes after your meal.

One will not expect much service from a buffet since it is largely self-service but I noticed that the predominantly Korean staff may not be fluent in English to handle any customer queries that arises and this will influence one’s decision to return. The English proficiency is also shown in the prompt but could-be-improved-English in sentences like “We will do a feedback to our Kitchen”

 

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Spring is the season, so is Strawberry!

Kudos to the kind folks @hungrygowhere for inviting me to the table

I don’t know if you already know by now, but there’s good reason to revisit TODAI these days. I’m pretty pleased that the management at TODAI has taken painstaking effort to improve & innovate on the variety of their buffet spread constantly.

As my title of this entry suggests, Strawberry is painting the town red!

TODAI brings to us freshly picked air-flown Korean Strawberries, and has made it a main event in the spread they display for your picking. I dare say that there were some pretty interesting recipes to raise some brows, and for the gastronomic machinery pining for more.

For the less adventurous eaters, I’d say “life’s too short to be living the tried & tested way, you only live once, you should try everything once!” (If it ain’t good, they wouldn’t dare put it in the buffet spread)

Meat is what I’d consider a 1st love for me, and grills can never go wrong. Not consuming beef in a Korean owned joint is like not seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Meanwhile, the management has heard yawns from past reviews that patrons have grown jaded of Alaskan snow crabs. Lo & behold, they now bring to us fresh stocks of air-flown Golden Crabs direct from the Atlantic! Probably the only joint on the island that has been bold enough to put this rare find in the buffet spread.

This breed of crustacean is a distanced cousin of the typical Alaskan snow crabs. I have to say, they are a lot meatier, much juicier, and the flesh is sweeter. The meat is not as tough as typical Sri Lankan ones, the shell is easy to manage, the treasure within is good as gold!

Above all, their fresh oysters are of good size, shucked on the spot… if I had the liberty of having things my way. I wouldn’t bother returning to my seat to down the succulent pearl makers.

For full review & photos, please visit here
Management response from Todai, published 21 Apr 2014
Dear caniggia, Thank you for taking time to review on TODAI. We are pleased to know you love the Korea strawberries and Golden Crabs that were air-flown in to Singapore! Also, we are glad to know you appreciated our efforts to improve on the buffet spread. We look forward to have you dining with us again soon. Best Regards, The Management TODAI
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Very disappointed

Very disappointed on 2 counts. First, the food. The food was ordinary as international buffets go. The main disappointment that a lot of dishes were left empty as early as at 7.30 pm! We waited 1.5 hours for the chawanmushi to appear, and it only did after we asked for it almost 2 hours later. The chili crab dish had chili but no crab for a long time.


Second, the service was not good. The lady at the reseravation desk was not helpful and made very effort to help us find a table.

Management response from Todai, published 20 Mar 2014
Dear Kiddy Doctor, Thank you for dining with us at TODAI. We would like to apologize for the poor experience which you encountered. We take your feedback seriously and will emphasize on the importance of timeline at the next meeting. We hope to have you dining with us at TODAI again. Best Regards, TODAI The Management
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Todai - to die for!

ve been meaning to try Todai for two years literally, having heard good reviews about its international seafood buffet spread. Finally, today I managed to go with two close friends   Not called the "Mother of all Seafood Buffets" for nothing - Todai is an upscale 'all you can eat' buffet concept with quality food of different cuisine and freshest quality, plus creative, fusion desserts. It also offers an ambience that is comfortable, relaxing and non-pretentious. The variety is good as well, and I like the neatness and how they categorize all different sections clearly, for instance "Seafood", "Pastries", "Italian", "Korean", "Deep Fried", "Chinese" and "Oven Baked" etc.   We did not know where to start, really, as everything looked tempting. The service crew were friendly and efficient - very quick to clear unwanted plates in an unintrusive manner, and also very quick to get us things that we wanted, such as serviettes.   I started with very fresh and tender, slender pieces of Salmon Sashimi and Tuna Sashimi, baby squid (boiled so they were very soft), green mussels and scallops. All the shelled items were finely-textured and cooked to soft perfection with tinges of chewiness.    The next indulgence was Escargots - lots and lots of the chewy, "ashy" escargots cooked with mushrooms in a delicious cream sauce.    In the upper photo, there are also some Shisamos (pregnant fish), grilled to perfection and filled with the bursting, sandy goodness of the roe - though Celine* commented it was somewhat cruel to eat a pregnant fish and hence she abstained from it. It made sense to me too, as tasty as it was - so I probably would not be eating this dish again.   The Korean Pancake (savoury version - with flour and green beans chopped into fine dices) was rather nice - lightly flavored and easy on the tongue.   For more detailed information and photos, do drop by: http://thearcticstar.blogspot.sg/2014/02/dinner-at-todai-marina-bay-sands.html