My first encounter with Chef Melvin Lim's creation of Ah Hood Burger was during the Ultimate Hawker Festival 2014. It was a combination of Savoury Kong Ba Bao and Salted Egg Yolk Lobster Crab Cake with Curry Mayonnaise. I was impressed by its creativity and the tastiness of its creation.
So when we were looking for a place for a friends' gathering, we decided to give Flavours of Zhongshan a try. The Chef had just recently came out with a Semi Buffet Zichar. In case you are confused, it is a combination of buffet spread with some ala minute zichar dishes. It is also a fusion style of cooking where the some of the dishes are the meeting between East and West style of cooking.
For starters, we decided to attack the buffet counter. The cold seafood selection have salmon sashimi, prawns, scallops and mussels. The sashimi are fresh and decent. Although the sashimi are not the top of the line, it is good enough. The scallops, mussels and prawns are fresh as well. For the papaya salad and glass noodle salad, Little Devil (LD) feels that it has been toned down to suit the common folks. Unlike the original Thai version.
In the mix salad sections you can choose from the local version of DIY Rojak or the Ceasar Salad, the western version. We tried the local version, we find the Rojak paste is quite tasty. There was even an oven to toast the you tiao. On that day, they have western version of suckling pig. Although the meat is tender, the skin was very disappointing. It has become 'lembek' (Indonesian word soft, chewy and tough).
The pre-cooked dishes are combination of local flavours such as beef rendang, babi pongteh, Bak Kut Teh, steam pork ribs, scallops dumpling and kueh paitee. The one that impressed me the most is the Beef Rendang. It basically melts in your mouth and rich in flavour. So far it is the best dish for the night. The BKT is not far behind, the peppery broth provide a good wake up call for the appetite.
For the review of the Zi Char dishes & desserts, click here.
The décor of the place is bright with a combination of modern with Peranakan flair. Lots of flower were used to decorate the table or divider between seats.
Service was very good. The service staff was friendly and attentive. Although we have a bit of mix up during the reservation, the restaurant gracefully corrected the mistake.
Overall, Flavours at Zhongsan Park provide a good spread for its ZiChar semi buffet. While it is good trying to impress customer with ZiChar dishes, but most of the dishes are ordinary and lacks a 'ohm' taste. With the exception for the beef rendang, baked cod fish from amuse bouche and durian pengat shots, the only other memorable thing for me are the friendliness of the service staff. There are lots of room for improvements, I do hope it can be done soon. Cheers!!