29 Jan 2011 • 1 review • 0 follower
This is the first time I am having Thai Steamboat, and also the first for a steamboat with my ex-classmates. The restaurant offers both air-conditionered and alfresco dining, but the optional BBQ steamboat is only available for alfresco.
To be fair for the restaurant owners, we have mutually acknowledged that this is a Thai Style Steamboat, in which we'll be expecting the type of soup bases to be spicy and sour. While a typical steamboat buffet allows you to choose from a few type of soup bases, Fatfish restrict customers to only 2 types of soup. You can have either Tom Yam or Chicken or a combination of both, thus no complaint as it's quite understood that this is a Thai Steamboat Buffet.
Soup Base: This is one of the best Tom Yam soup that I've tasted so far. They have added the right mix of ingredients to give that authentic Thai Tom Yam experience. Just like the Tom Yam, the chicken soup also has the right blend and it's still not too salty for consumption even after absorbing the flavour and sweetness from all the items you've thrown in.
Food: Similar to many other steamboat restaurants that are operating at large, they serve an array of selections to suit a hungry stomach. The menu has 2 different sections: a page for buffet and the other for a la carte dishes which can be ordered at a chargeable fee.
What makes this steamboat restaurant so different from others is their 'serve only fresh food' to complement the 'no to food wastage' philosophy. Some dining outlets would simply just charge you for the amount of food you've wasted by weight. In addition to implementing the same policy, they have also ensured that raw/processed food is served fresh from the fridge. When I mention from the fridge, it does not mean that the food is cold or frozen, but rather stored in the right temperature to maintain it's freshness.
Some of the items are marinated to give the extra flavour while the shabu-shabu is shrinked-wrapped in styrofoam plates for maximum freshness. The portion is also served according to the number of diners at the respective tables, which gives us ample time to finish and digest before ordering again.
Beverage: All drinks are payable at a rate that I won't call it reasonable, but when you need to quench your thirst, who cares? Perhaps, that's the only downside of the restaurant.
Service: I have to compliment them for their professionalism and commitment in providing the best for their customers. During this maiden trip there, we were not only ushered to our seats, but also given a thorough introduction to the menu, which includes the price and other additional cost which may be incurred. Fatfish's promotion of transparency and the attention to details has earned themselves a positive first impression.
For first timers, on top of the introduction as mentioned above, we were served an initial mixture set, which includes their more popular items that are recommended by most diners. This is their customary practice, though not a must, I would say it's quite a unique experience. Not only is the food promptly served, the crockery were also frequently cleared to provide space for the new orders.
Ambience/Setting: Our group has unanimously voted for air-conditionered area, apart from the noise level depending on the type of crowd on that day, the table is big enough to accommodate all the crockeries as they are stackable - another winning concept for the restaurant. Warning: If you cannot tolerate high amplitude, go for alfresco as the air-con area is not very huge, thus can be really noisy on a crowded evening.
Value: At an initial price of $21.80 and $23.80 for a weekday and weekend buffet respectively, exclusive of the mandatory fee of $5 per stove, before a further 10% service charge (no GST), I won't say it's money well spent, but at least money worth spending.
Overall: I would say for the price you are paying - that's about a few dollars more than the typical steamboat buffet that you'll find at Beach Road/Chinatown/Geylang - you are not just benefiting from the freshness, but also the excellent service attitude and philosophy towards food.
Bottom Line: If you want your food to be served fresh, jolly well finish it after being served ('serve only fresh food' + 'no to food wastage' philosophy). If the food is not fresh, you may not even want to eat it, let alone finishing ('self-service/pick your own item' + 'free to waste food' concept).
Disclaimer: From the medical point of view, any discomfort (e.g. diarrhea, etc) is not necessarily due to the lack of freshness in the food consumed but rather can be subjected to your stomach's acceptance/reaction to certain types of food (e.g. spicy, sour, etc.)