This cafe was my regular place when it was part of Westin, but I kinda forgot about it for a while. Re-discovered it recently and how much it has changed, quantity of food and price too. Dine only when you get 50% off.
Ambience: It's set up like a high class air conditioned kopitiam. It was unique in the earlier days, but many coffee shops have now dolled up their premises and service counters to look like this. Comfortable tables, but all rectangular.
Food: I shall start from the left counter, moving up and then doing a U turn to the right. Cold starters: oysters, prawns, flower crabs. The flower crabs were delicious, so long as you've the patience to peel it open, these small sized crabs. Then the salad counter with fresh salmon sashimi which I ate a lot, fatty stomach part and all. There was a lamb counter but it was pretty tough, ate the seafood selection: chili sting ray (not fresh), BBQed prawns - tasty, Satay (chicken n beef), freshly prepared with a tasty satay sauce, a mountain of chili crab, was good quality, fleshy and fresh, not powdery to the touch. The dessert counter is at the top of the U service counters, One dish I recall from before is the creamed durian "pengat" or paste. It was outstanding and it is still outstanding. Before I talk about the dessert, let me walk you through the right side of the food service - there were three stalls there, serving chicken rice, laksa (very delicious, highly recommended) and lastly Indian food. The prata was v good for hotel standard. Onto the dessert, I only managed to try the pineapple crumble, jelly in soy bean and fresh fruits - plus the durian I mentioned above. Very full after that.
Value: Reasonable, $55 ++ is a lot to pay for most of the stuff you cannot eat unless you're a glutton.
Service: Good but staff kept very busy.
As a group of 11, we were impressed with the wide spread of dishes laid out (and continual replenishment) for an Asian buffet. Don’t typically have high expectations of food freshness and quality at a buffet (especially marketed as an Asian one) but I would say the food I had was decent though I am fencing on a hit-and-miss on some. Misses: dim sum (i.e. yam cake, har gow, chicken siew mai – being a halal restaurant) Hits: Clams, Salad bar, fried rice, sashimi (not the freshest, but kudos on the continual replenishment), durian puree Now for the following 2 bad experiences one after another: 1) Bill payment – we were aware of the AMEX/DBS promo (15% off for max 8 diners) which was why we decided to give this place a shot. We were not told upfront of the caveat that promotion is applicable per reservation and hence unable to split the bill into 2. Fine, I accept that the restaurant R&R/policies go by the book in all true local culture. Bill came out to ~80 per pax, and honestly I rather top up a little more and head to The Line at Shangri-La for the same if not better buffet spread and good service. 2) Poor attitude of restaurant manager (Shankar) – for a restaurant in a 5-star hotel, I would expect much better service and attentiveness to customers rather than some mickey mouse attitude rendered by the restaurant manager. To be fair the service staff (i.e. waitresses/waiters) displayed humility which in my opinion is very important in service industry and enhances the overall experience. After the boo-boo and slight commotion from the bill payment, we asked for the birthday cake to be brought out along with some side plates. We were then served with styrofoam plates and plastic forks - SERIOUSLY??!!! That was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Forget all the talk of being environmental friendly, was it difficult to extend courtesy to an already irritated group of customers by serving up proper glass/pyrex plates which you already serve at the restaurant? Not sure for the rest, but sure was humiliating to be served with disposable ware. Confronted the restaurant manager to be given proper ware, he failed to properly address/acknowledge the issue (customer service 101!!) and replied with – “I went to this movie screening….”. I had to interrupt him because I was not going to hear his experience which I suspect is related on the same account and probably inspired his attitude. I do know that service line is tough and sure hope service staff especially if you face off directly with the customers are taught the basics on handling customers. In this case, the restaurant manager could have acknowledged the issue, apologized before going on with his movie screening explanation though I would still think is a weak explanation. Give a better reason, mate. Pushing the blame onto other establishments just do not cut out.
One of those days where my ugly side was shown. The first part of this review is about my complaints. So be prepared.
After hearing a positive review from one of my friends, my partner and I decided to try this place out. Since we didn't make any reservations, we had to wait about half an hour...which we did.
Whatever eager anticipation we had before reaching the place quickly died down after our first trip to the buffet spread. We found that 4 dishes had run out and none of the chefs seemed to be preparing replenishments. The grills and stoves just behind the buffet counter was emptier than my plate. So I walked on, only to find a queue of at least 4 diners waiting for one chef to carve out some chicken kebab (and yes, the kebab looked like it was finishing very soon).
Not wanting to commit my appetite without further exploration, I walked on to the other counters. I chanced upon the laksa counter and couldn't find any staff to help me out. I couldn't find the noodles so I moved on to the prata counter. After deciding that empty flour wouldn't be my first course, so I moved straight to the cold food counter.
I picked a couple of oysters, rounded back to the main courses and grabbed some teriyaki chicken, mutton mysore and some chicken kebab. Starting with the oysters, I found the first one lightly seasoned with sand and accompanied by some shell fragments. Brilliant stuff! I flagged the manager who was unfortunate enough to be nearby.
I immediately landed a barrage of complaints, gesturing almost wildly about the empty dishes, lack of replenishments and dangerous oysters. The manager, just like the buffet spread, looked very sorry. So he immediately asked what I wanted to have and had the dishes prepared fresh and delivered to my table.
After a few minutes, my table was filled with the requested dishes. All of them piping hot, and ready for me to devour. So I did...but stopped short for almost every dish. Things like the chicken, sashimi, kebab, prata, oyster omelette, chili crab, beef, mutton mysore, satay, grilled prawns and so on were at the most...forgettable.
The only dishes worth remembering included laksa and...well, I liked the juices too. Waterchestnut juice was pretty good. Guess that was their signature dish for the buffet.
We moved on to dessert pretty quickly and had some ice-cream, a couple of cakes and some self-made chendol. These weren't too bad but definitely not worth the price.
I want to go on but retelling this catastrophe is causing my blood to boil and a blood vessel might be close to rupturing. So I'll stop here.
On the overall...dissatisfying and anger-triggering.
Wah I tell you har…this “peranakan” buffet is just exactly like the show “little nonya”. At first we go there expecting the spread to be mainly peranakan…but then the food is just like the story of “little nonya”, got one japanese man marry peranakan woman, so give birth to half nonya half jap little girl. little girl grows up and gets involve with another chinese-peranakan boy but they cannot marry so girl becomes SPG and marries the ang moh but they cannot have eurasian children etc. then the nonya boy went on the marry Chinese girl who is adopted by another ang moh man. the story of one peranakan family become one big international family liao. the food at his place also like dat si beh international. I wonder whether can classify the type of cusine at this restaurant bo? Maybe can have “double barrel” like race like dat hor?
the Japanese side of the family bring sashimi (salmon and sea bream or bass cannot remember) and assorted sushi. The ang moh side bring fresh oysters, chilled flower crabs and prawns. The Indian neighbour brought briani, dhall (2 types), tandori chicken and prata. The noyna auntie brought babi ponteh, ayam bua keluak, rojak (DIY) and laksa (DIY). The chinese ancestors of the nonya brought roast duck, pork, char siew and fatty lap cheong. Also they brought black pepper lobster claws (shiok siah). The anglo ang moh’s norman cousins got bring cheese cake and other pastries. and ah meng’s (the orangutan) cousins brought fruits, a lot siah, got passion fruit, mangosteen, melons etc. I think somewhere they also got swiss relatives cos got chocolate fountain and movenpick ice cream parlour.
Start with sashimi and oyster cos must eat fresh like subway mah. The salmon is very fresh and nice. The restaurant provides sliver chopstick to pick out the fish slices…heh heh I think the ang mohs got problems so maybe use chopsticks to spear the fish. Wah some more the chopsticks are silver one, make me feel like emperor in imperial china checking for poison in food. Luckily silver chopstick didn’t change colour… heng ah. The sea bream or bass I dun like cos a bit too chewy. Maybe for this fish they can slice it thinner so won’t become too much of a mouthful. Oysters, prawns and crabs are fresh.
The nonya food is quite good got one uncle pile his plate with ALL the buah keluaks and left nothing for all the other diners except for the chicken. Wah piang dun like dat leh! he must be nuts…erh I mean nutz over the keluak nuts lah. The babi ponteh is nice very tender and the radish complemented the dish well. The ayam in the bua keluak is a bit dry but got interesting taste from the lime leaves. The laksa is DIY and the gravy is very coconuty and nice.
I like the black pepper lobster claws. The meat is very thick but I wonder why cannot find the rest of the lobster body anywhere in the restaurant leh. if u go to a chinese live seafood restaurant and the lobsters in the tanks have no claws, you know why liao.
Wah the bestest dessert is the durian pudding, damn power…you go there must try.
My friend said he saw one ang moh bring his own box of doughnuts to the chocolate fountain to coat them with the stuff. Wah piang like dat also can meh? Next time I bring my own box of ham cheem pang and yu cha kuey to do same thing eh sai bo?
All I can say is that it wasn't worth the money. The management should improve on the variety and the standard. I was disappointed.