Mon to Sun: 12.00pm - 02.30pm (Lunch), 06.00pm - 09.30pm (Dinner)
[Closed] Despite its name, this buffet restaurant serves not only Japanese cuisine but Western and Asian dishes too. The spread includes all the Japanese standards like sushi, sashimi, tempura and teppanyaki, complemented by dim sum, lobster salad, grilled meats, among others.
Date of Visit: 21 Dec 2008 (Sat)
Time: 12.00pm - 3.00pm
I was here with a friend for lunch. This was my very first visit to a Sakura Restaurant though my friend has visited the restaurant before.
When we reached there, there were already many people queuing to go in. However, all customers will need to pay first before they can proceed to the 2nd floor. There was only one counter there with one staff collecting the payment. It happened that there was a big group of NS guys (about 8 of them) queuing infront of us and they all paid individually using NETS. So we had to wait quite a while before our turn. An improvement is to increase the number of counters so that it could facilitate the speed of making payments. We waited for closed to 10 mins before our turn! (within the next 30-45 mins, we realised that the restaurant was almost fulled!)
After we had made our payment, we proceeded to the 2nd floor via the escalator. Upon arriving, a staff was already there to greet us and showed us to our seat. It was table 88, a window seat, which both of us were delighted as we could have a good view on Orchard Road!
The variety of food was not bad, ranging from the traditional Japanese dishes like salmon, sashimi, quite a wide spread of sushi, soba, lobster and crab salad, fresh prawns tempura etc; Chinese dishes included sweet and sour fish, roast duck, vegeatables, sambal prawns, claypot laksa, fried popiah and crabstick, shark fins soup, black chicken soup, herbal prawns and dim sum like prawn dumplings and paos, fried rice etc; Western BBQ dishes included various kinds of meat such as black pepper chicken, beef, lamb, squid, satay and eel while others included pasta, pizzas (hawaiian and mushroom flavour) and baked oysters, scallops and mussells and a section of pastries, desserts, ice cream, fruits and a free flow of hot and cold drinks!
The western BBQ food impressed me most and it was on the spot cooking based on your order and they would serve you when the food was ready. The portion served was big too and among all, I liked the lamb and satay most as they were very well marinated and tender with good black pepper and satay sauce. The only issue is that the chef have dipped the satay into the sauce and unlike the traditional serving where you have to dip it yourself (maybe that was part of their good service but no all people like to have their satay dipped into the sauce) and there were also no cucumber or onions to come along. Despite this, they still taste good!
Unfortunately, there were no crabs served today but lobster and crab salad. The lobster was cut into small cube bits which you can't see and were mixed with mixed canned and fresh fruits. You would never feel you are eating lobster as it was too small to chew! The crab salad was made up by crabstick and mixed fruits and vegetables! Nothing special or worth mentioning. You can forget the pasta (as it was cold and hard) and the soba was normal.
The variety of sushi was impressive and salmon was quite ok. However,
the fresh prawns and squid were not that fresh as their flesh were quite sloggy when you bite unlike fresh ones which will be chewy and tasty, which I suspect these fresh seafood could have been stored up for some time! The same thing applied to the sambal prawns which were sloggy too but the roast duck and sweet and sour fish were fine.
As for the soup, they were really good! The shark fins soup and black chicken soup were hot and well done and definitely worth trying for. For the former, it was not too liquid but thick and you could taste the ingredients (which I had 4 bowls) and the latter was sweet and simple although it consisted of some chinese herbs, which I only drank the soup and not eaten the black chicken as it was quite hard for the flesh!
The pastry was ok with some good variety and that also went for the desserts (lychee fruit cocktail, yam paste and tapioca with coconut cream, mango and orange pudding etc), fresh fruits of water melon, kiwi, oranges, papayas, dragon fruit and honey dew, 6 flavours of ice cream. One good thing was that you could have free flow of drinks that included lemonade, peach tea, blackcurrent and orange juices or milo, hot tea to cuppucino to expresso etc!
Overall, we were quite satisfied with the food variety and quality.
As for service wise, the clearing of used plates was quite fast and staff also served the ordered food quite fast without the need to wait too long. If the staff could put up some smiles when they were performing their jobs, it could make the dining experience more pleasant and enjoyable. For the BBQ food, some were served very fast (within 5 mins) while at other times, we could have waited for more than 25 mins and when the staff brought the food over, they were expressionless which should apologize for letting the customers waited too long which they didn't! In addition, when we left, the staff also did not greet us goodbye or wish us have a nice day which we felt they should do so as part of the customer service!
Ambience was normal but if you are thinking of seeing some Japanese pictures or decorations, you will be disappointed. There was a water fountain near the escalator, some small Christmas tress with decorations. But it was quite brightly lighted but if they could play some music or songs, it would be great! Furthermore, tables were arranged quite close to one another which make walking difficult and in fact, there were quite a number of big group diners, it could be noisy due to their laughter and sharing of jokes etc. Because we were seated at the window at the side away from the main dinning hall with a good Orchard Road view, it was ok for us!
The price? It was $26 per person, we felt it was ok and quite value for money, taking into consideration of the variety of food served.
If they could improve on its services and the quality of the seafood (like freshness of prawns and squids), it will be able to let us change our status on revisit to ‘Definitely will revisit’ again!
The price at this outlet (now closed) is higher than the other outlets. I have been to Sakura International Buffet Restaurant (Orchard) once and gotta admit the variety is up to my expectation! The service is fast but I would not totally agree all the food are 100% fresh. So I ate more of the cooked food over here.
Please note that this restaurant have already closed down and they opened a new one at:
Dhoby Ghaut Green
10 Penang Road #01-02
But when it was still opened, the food was REALLY nice, the food variety there was a little wider than the other Sakura Buffet outlets, but though you have to pay a little more, since it's in Orchard.