Stellar @ 1-Altitude – Wine Lust Sunday Brunches

19 03 2014

Following its popularity since its debut in December 2013, Stellar @ 1-Altitude has decided to continue hosting its Wine Lust Sunday Brunches into 2014. This is pleasant news because from what I have seen so far, they seem to be doing it right. The brunch buffet features a good mix of International cuisines, ranging from Japanese Sushi, a meat carving station, cold cuts, western brunch items and most importantly, a free flow of red/white/sparking wine. Adding to that, wine aficionados will also be glad to know that a tasting table of up to 10 wines (different from those on free-flow) will also be set up by a different wine supplier each week, allowing for wine tastings and bottle sales during the course of the brunch. And if you didn’t already know, at 62 floors above ground level, the view from Stellar is simply breathtaking too. How many restaurants can actually boost looking down towards Ku De Ta @ Marina Bay Sands?

At $110++ per pax, Wine Lust is competitively priced against other Sunday alcoholic brunch buffets such as The Line @ Shangri-La Hotel ($138++), Equinox @ Swissotel ($148++) and Clifford @ Fullerton Bay Hotel ($148++). Two reasons might explain this price discount. Firstly, Wine Lust does not offer Champagne but personally, a good non-Champagne sparkling wine offers equal, if not higher utility. Secondly, Wine Lust offers less variety in menu options, doing away with the ubiquitous raw seafood lineup. What Wine Lust offers however, is something unique and what I find to be the key differentiating factor going for it; a larger proportion of live cooking stations and made to order items.

Do not make the fatal mistake of underestimating the menu. While the entire list of food items is categorically displayed on a single page, by the end of the meal, it is likely that you will still end up having trouble standing up, as the individual items listed can become pretty substantial when summed and secondly, since many of the items are made to order, the quality and taste follows that of ala carte and you will likely finish up the entire serving because wasting good food is a sin.

Wine Tasting Table

According to the retailer, the wines were “boutique” Western Australian wines, with prices in the general range of $30-$40

One of the items I found particularly good was the made to order Salmon Benedict. The saltiness of the smoked salmon was controlled and perfect for my tastes. The poached yolk was flowy and the hollandaise as rich and creamy as it gets.

Salami & Salad Bar

Another brunch item worth getting is the French Toast with Caramelized Bananas. It might potentially be one of the best renditions you ever laid your taste buds on with its crisp exterior and airy interior that doesn’t fill you up too badly.

Omelette & French Toast cooking station

I had no complaints with the Sushi section either and found it quite a few notches higher than the usual hotel buffet, possibly because the sushi is made in small batches to ensure that the stock of sushi displayed is always fresh.

One of the highlights of the buffet was the Claypot Chicken Rice. Just like how they do it in traditional dim sum restaurants where you see the staff pushing a cart of fresh dim sum up and down the restaurant for diners to order, the same thing is done with the Claypot Chicken Rice here, where it is pushed around on a trolley whenever a fresh batch is made. To give it a little twist, the rice is served in a piece of lettuce with Tomato Belacan and Cucumber Relish on the side. I was advised to pair it with the Sauvignon Blanc and man did it make a difference. The Claypot Rice tasted a whole lot more fragrant with a hint of sweetness that I did not get in the absence of the white wine.

The mini tacos were also made to order, so they arrived crisp but both CJ and myself found it a little too sourish from the sauce used.

The biggest disappointment for the brunch was the carving station. While the meats (Spatchcock Chicken aka Roast Chicken, Roasted Pork Belly, Rosemary Roast Lamb Leg, Roast Duck) scored high aesthetically with the meats and duck skin glistening from the lighting, they were awfully dry and lacked flavor.

Hopes that the made to order Wagyu Rump would redeem the meat section were quickly dashed as I found the beef extremely sinewy and difficult to cut. Of the two options of sauces (mushroom or red wine), I much preferred the red wine sauce since it complemented the beef way better than the bland mushroom sauce.

Pastas are also made to order, with the option of Carbonara and Aglio Olio. We chose to share the latter since we were pretty stuffed and found it pretty mediocre. Would have loved a stronger garlic flavor and more olive oil, since it came across as a little dry. That said, I was pretty surprised when the chef came over and asked if we would like to have truffle shavings with our pasta, which may cost in the range of $10-$20 per gram in local restaurants. No points for guessing our answer nor our enthusiasm.

The dessert lineup was decent as well, featuring Lamingtons Drive (a type of sponge cake dipped in chocolate and rolled over coconut), Lemon Coconut Cake, Orange Carrot Cake, Chocolate Tartlets, Hazelnut Praline Cake, White Chocolate Raspberry Cake, Strawberry Crumble and Anzac Cookies (an oat cookie). My favourites were the Strawberry Crumble, which is served warm and the Hazelnut Praline Cake (which looks like a chocolate cake in the middle of the dish).

No wine brunch is complete without a cheese platter.

With more hits than misses, I thoroughly enjoyed myself with the entire brunch experience. Service was great and so was the food and ambience. Unbuckling my belt upon reaching home never felt better…

Special thanks to Shasi and Stellar @ 1-Altitude for the invitation.

Stellar @ 1-Altitude

1 Raffles Place, Level 62, Singapore 048616

Tel: +65 6438 0410

Website: www.1-altitude.com





Barnacles @ Rasa Sentosa – In the Running for Best Sunday Lunch Buffet

9 02 2013

Short of doing a staycation to enjoy beach resort treatment, Barnacles @ Rasa Sentosa has come up with a fantastic idea. Diners at Barnacles’ Sunday Garden Party Lunch buffet will be allowed access to the pool facilities at Rasa Sentosa, where one can just relax and enjoy the end of the week after the meal. It’s a day to be enjoyed by the whole family as activities are also organized for kids just outside the restaurant where a performer does stuff like balloon sculpting, juggling and a magic show to entertain the children, while the adults can continue indulging in the buffet spread and immerse into their conversations without any distractions.

Priced at $138++ per pax, diners get to indulge in an array of seafood (hence the name Barnacles), charcoal grilled meats, cooked dishes, an impressive French cheese platter and desserts. The buffet is made more affordable for diners who come with their kids, as one child under the age of 12 gets to dine for free with each paying adult (subsequent children will be charged $38++).

It might be a little warm in the afternoon but if it’s a cloudy day, you should definitely try sitting outdoors, which boasts a tranquil waterfront view.

The assortment of food here isn’t varied as some other buffets but they make up for it with quality.

Singapore lacks an oyster culture. Most of us harbour myopic views on what raw oysters should taste and look like, derived from our multiple experiences at the various International buffets we have been to. So when we stumble across an oyster that tastes unfamiliar, we tend to think that something is wrong with that oyster. That was my view not long ago too but it all changed after I visited Blue Water Café & Raw Bar, one of the best seafood restaurants in Vancouver. There was a selection of about 20 different species of oysters to choose from, leaving me totally lost. From the province of British Columbia alone, there were already more than 12 types of oysters on the menu, and the oyster descriptions on the menu (eg “small cup, firm flesh, light brine, lettuce-like finish”) sounded like wine notes more than anything else.

For Barnacles’ Sunday buffet, French Fine de Claire Oysters are served, which will appeal to folks who love briny, less fleshy oysters. It was fresh but I’m definitely one who prefers my oysters sweet and creamy.

Apart from oysters, there’s also Lobsters, Alaskan King Crab, poached Prawns, Periwinkle (a type of small sea snail) & Bulot (large sea snail) for seafood lovers.

Most of the cooked food are placed outdoors. Apart from the cooked lamp chops, grilled chicken and roast beef, there’s also a live BBQ station which grills your Chicken Steak, Sausages, Salmon, Prawns, Beef and Lamb ala minute.

I piled up my plate full of grilled meats and seafood, of which the ready cooked lamb was frigging awesome. Possibly one of the most tender lamb chops I have had to date, unexpected that I would experience it at a buffet. The salmon and sausage were good too, whose meat was moist. Different sauces such as the Mushroom Sauce, Brown Sauce of caramelized onions, Mint Sauce, Mustard was also provided to complement the meats.

Most buffets leave their cooked food out in the open for hours on end but Barnacles employs a different strategy. A tray might hold as little food as 6 scallops but refilled with fresh ones often, ensuring that diners always get food that is fresh and just out of the kitchen. The gesture is much appreciated and the Seared Hokkaido Scallops wrapped in Bacon was certainly one of the highlights for this buffet, worth having seconds for which I did.

The Crab cooked in Chinese Herbs was great as well and the crab meat was really sweet and delicate.

Instead of the ready cooked Bee Hoon, I would recommend going for the Risotto (choice of mushroom, shrimp or salmon but as kiasu Singaporeans, an “everything” risotto seems more likely) instead, which is made to order. I found it more delicious than most of the risottos I have had in ala carte restaurants.

The quality of the desserts on the dessert line was the most impressive one I have encountered so far at a buffet. Special mention has to go to the Apple Pie, Pavlova and Macarons. I’m sure there are other noteworthy desserts as well but I was far too stuffed by this juncture to try everything.

Warm Chocolate Cakes (no lava included)

The Pavlova (bottom of pic) is a meringue-based dessert that has a marshmellow-like core

What we see here are Macarons and not macaroons. I used to think that it was just a UK vs US spelling difference but they actually refer to different types of pastries.

The spread of 8 different types of French Cheese was simply amazing. I’m no cheese connoisseur (most of my cheese knowledge comes from Mousehunt, a Facebook game I used to play) but I guess my favourites were the milder tasting ones and one that was rum & raisin flavoured, which had a subtle saccharine flavor that goes well with the crackers.

Kids being entertained while parents go wild at the buffet line

Parents need entertainment too

For a buffet, one usually finds one or two dishes that are worth going for seconds. At Barnacles, every other item was deserving of such honour, especially the lamb chops, seared scallops, chilled seafood, dessert & cheese line.

I dislike buffets in general because I tend to overeat, crappy food at that. This time, I was glad to have overeaten yet disappointed that there wasn’t any room in me for more. It’s one of the few times I have felt this way about a buffet, so Barnacles definitely has my stamp of approval. The premium paid for this buffet…justified.

Special thanks to Rasa Sentosa and Barnacles for hosting the tasting.

Barnacles

101 Siloso Road, Rasa Sentosa

Tel: +65 6371 1966





Good Ol’ Days @ Silver Shell Cafe, Rasa Sentosa Resort

16 08 2012

On National Day evening, while most Singaporeans were glued onto their tv screens, I was at a buffet hosted by Silver Shell Cafe at Rasa Sentosa, together with Melissa from Melicacy and Derrick from SG Food on Foot.

The theme of the buffet is entitled “Good Ol Days” and features a wide range of local culinary delights, cultural performances for entertainment and games from yesteryear, which I found rather apt for this occasion. No effort has been spared into conceptualizing the theme, with cafe staff donning on traditional hawker attire, and Chinese, Malay and Indian crockeries and utensils have been specially purchased to add a more authentic feel for the meal.

Good Ol Days is priced at $58++ per adult and $25++ per child and runs every Thursday for the month of August but due to the overwhelming response, Rasa Sentosa has decided to continuing running it into September as well.

1) Chinese Food

One aspect that sets Silver Shell Cafe apart from most other locally themed buffets is the extensiveness of the live cooking stations. You can get oyster omelette, carrot cake, hokkien mee, laksa and lor mee, all of which are prepared ala minute.

Oyster Omelette

Carrot Cake

Hokkien Mee

Laksa

Lor Mee

Of course, there is pre-prepared food as well, ranging from bak kut teh, dim sum and chili crabs. Would have loved to have some fried man tou to dip the chili crab sauce with!

Chili Crab

One of the hits from the chinese food section was the kueh pie tee, which diners prepare themselves and can overload with whatever ingredients they like best. The kueh pie tee cups are replaced frequently due to the high turnover of this dish, so the cups were always fresh and crisp to my delight.

Kueh Pie Tee

There’s also a roast meat section, which serves steamed white chicken, roast chicken, roast duck, char siew and roast pork. There’s chicken rice available as well with all necessary condiments like ginger, dark sauce and chili. Would have been great if they included innards as well, as some tourists might not get the chance to try this back home.

2) Malay Food

While less extensive than the Chinese food section, the Malay section features signatures like otak, satay, begedil (fried potato cutlets) and mee rebus. Something I would love to have added to the mix as well is BBQ Stingray!

Mee Rebus

3) Indian Food

There’s an Indian chef that makes the roti prata from scratch at the Indian food section, and it was fortunate that I manage to snag a fresh batch to go with my curry chicken, vegetable dal and Assam fish curry. I thought the curry chicken was fantastic, with a thick creamy consistency from the coconut milk that goes well with the prata.

4) Appetizers & Seafood

There’s a section for appetizers and seafood as well, where you can get fresh prawns, bamboo clams, crabs, scallops and mussels, cold dishes and sushi.

5) Drinks

In tune with the theme, diners get to sip on local favourites like soy bean milk, grass jelly, bandung  (rose syrup drink), longan red date drink and coke off vintage glass bottles.

6) Desserts & Fruits

What I loved most from the dessert line was the Durian Pancake which was prepared ala minute as well, so it comes to you crisp and piping hot. It can be improved upon though, as the pancakes are on the thick side.

For this special occasion, in addition to the standard buffet fruits such as watermelons, oranges, lychees, bananas and rambutans, durians and mangosteens were also available just outside the cafe.

Tau Suan

Durian Pancake

During the course of the meal, we were also entertained by Malay and acrobatic Bhangra dances. There’s also a chance for audience participation if you feel up for it!

There are game stations which showcase games from yesteryear like five stones, chapteh, zero point and many other trinkets for the kids to have a go at.

In conclusion, if you are looking for the best carrot cakes and laksa in town, you will not find it here. What you will find though, is a great introduction to Singapore cuisine and culture, to reminisce the good old days.

Special Thanks to Rasa Sentosa for the invitation!

Silver Shell Cafe

101 Siloso Road, Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort Level 3

Tel: +65 6371 1966





The Square @ Novotel Clarke Quay – What’s The Big Deal? Promotion

10 06 2012

Just an update on what this foodie has been up to recently:

It’s currently university holidays now so I’m interning at a private equity firm for 10 weeks and I’m currently in my 6th week now. I would say that the firm I am at is quite unconventional. While most private equity firms function with a high degree of corporate culture (since most of the partners and founders of such firms tend to come from an investment banking or consultancy background), the firm I’m at is pretty “creative”. I go to work in casual attire (tho a polo-t with jeans is the minimum I would tread) unless I have have a nice restaurant dinner scheduled that night (I hypothesize that service staff tend to treat me better in working attire than when I’m in casual attire). There’s a drum set, guitar, keyboard and amps in the meeting room where my colleagues sometimes jam (everyone is musically gifted except me), and sometimes we project youtube using the projector, where my colleagues will play to the beat and I will just sing along. I will be traveling with my colleagues to Korea in July for 5 days (which intern gets to travel overseas during their internship?!) so I’m quite excited as well, and since the trip falls on the last week of my internship, I’m considering extending my stay over there to travel around Korea a bit more since the last time I was there was a decade ago. After that, I will be heading down to Hong Kong, Macau and Hainan Island for a long relaxing 11 day trip till end July before I start school in mid-August.

Apart from internship, there are a few other reasons why my blog posts are coming out in a tad slower than expected. I just started taking up golf lessons with some friends. I’m finding it pretty fun but it takes up quite a bit of time since I try to go twice a week. I also pre-ordered Diablo 3 and am slowing making my way through the game as well. Overall, think summer hols is gg great for me so far 😀

Anyway, I visited The Square on 2 separate tastings as coincidentally, a tasting was also extended to SMU Gourmet Club (that I’m a part of) and I went a second time on behalf of the club, playing the role of the meal photographer, so I guess I have a pretty good idea of what’s good here. The buffet is priced at $38++ for Lunch (Everyday), $48++ for Dinner (Sun-Thurs) and $58++ for Dinner (BBQ nite, Fri-Sat).

Unlike The Line from Shangri la, Carousel at Royal Plaza on Scotts or Triple Three from Meritus Mandarin, admittedly The Square @ Novotel Clarke Quay isn’t very well known for their buffet and most of the patrons here are hotel guests. But with newly appointed Head Chef Jean-Philippe Couturier at the helm, has the buffet spread at The Square been rejuvenated?

I’m not a buffet person per-se. I used to be when I was younger, when the appeal of having free-flow sashimi was still there but now, the elements of authenticity and having freshly prepared dishes seems to take precedence so I have been slowing moving away from buffets. As such, dishes that I find decent here are in my mind, really laudable for buffet standards.

Currently, they are having the What’s the BIG Deal? promotion, where 3-4 BIG dishes are featured every night during dinner such as a variety of risottos cooked a la minute. This promotion lasts till the end of June. They also have an upcoming Father’s Day Special every weekend, where fathers get to dine for free with every 4 dining persons.

On the buffet line, there’s a selection of appetizers to choose from, such as assorted sushi, salmon and tuna sashimi, potato and pasta salad, oysters, chilled prawns & shellfish, brie cheese, club sandwiches, seaweed, golden coin bak kua, ham and parma ham just to name a few.

The Roast Beef at the carving station is pretty good but it requires diners to carve it themselves. Although the intention might have been good, to ensure that the beef does not dry up when left in the open for too long, few people actually take the effort to carve the meat themselves and end up missing out on this splendid roast.

As mentioned above, some of the “big dishes” will be prepared a la minute, with the risottos being one of them. On my first visit, I tucked into the Seafood Risotto which I found rather pedestrian. If only there was a pure-scallop risotto (I’m sure they can whip it up), scallops are my favourite!

However, on my second visit, I received a Vegetable Risotto which came with a side of Parma Ham. I thought this was much better executed than the seafood risotto and something I might consider ordering again. The cheesiness was balanced well with the the hint of tomatoes puree and basil pesto and if the parma ham served with the risotto isn’t enough, just head down to the buffet line to get a refill.

Ironically, my favourite main here is only available from the ala carte menu, the Poached Cod Fillet in Spicy Coconut and Prawn Broth, served with Sauteed Vegetables and Chicken Rice ($34++). The gravy tastes like a creamy sweet laksa sauce with a little more concentration and richness than the usual laksa gravy. This is fusion done right.

The Laksa prepared at their live cooking station falls short when compared to the cod dish. The gravy is a tad too spicy and not as smooth as what you can get from the reputable hawker like Katong Laksa.

The buffet line also features a vast array of other international and local dishes. Other dishes that I found palatable were the Fried Kuey Teow which had a nice “wok hei” character and the Curry Mutton.

As for desserts, the Chocolate Mousse with Mint Chocolate (left of bottom pic) is clearly unrivaled. It is so darn good and chocolatey that it was the only dessert I took that I left none for the ants. Seriously, save stomach space for at least 2 of this, or maybe 3 because it’s the star of the buffet. I would even come back specifically for this if it was served ala-carte. The Green Tea Panna Cotta (bottom left of bottom pic) is not bad as well.

Overall, I would say that the buffet is priced at fair value. The selection and quality might not be as good as some of the more renowned buffet restaurants in Singapore, justifying the more affordable buffet prices at The Square but there are definitely a few gems here that are waiting to be discovered. Coupled with the current What’s the Big Deal promotion, it might just be worth dropping by.

On a random note, guests who stay in the “executive rooms” of Novotel Clarke Quay also get access to their premier lounge, where they get complimentary food and booze (wine included), plus a great view (bottom) from the private balconies in the lounge. I believe the executive rooms are around $60/night more expensive than the standard rooms, so I think its quite a good deal to just upgrade since you get a larger room and I’m pretty sure most of us can guzzle $60 worth of booze a night easily.

Special thanks to Novotel and John for hosting an enjoyable evening.

The Square

177A River Valley Road, Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay Level 7

Tel: +65 6433 8790





Stellar @ 1-Altitude – A New Star?

29 08 2011

*This dinner was sponsored by Stellar @ 1-Altitude

I was pleasantly surprised when I received an invitation to a tasting session to Stellar @ 1-Altitude last week. This was my first time dining there and I was glad that several other food bloggers were invited as well. It’s always interesting to find out what makes food bloggers tick and their impetus for starting their food blogs in the first place.

1-Altitude is the latest venture by the One Rochester Group, which also operates its flagship gastrobar One Rochester, Coast @ 1-TwentySix and patisserie 1 Caramel (if you haven’t already found out, I hate to break the sad news to you but the outlet between Cathay and Plaza Singapura has relocated to One Rochester quite recently). Perched on level 62 of OUB Centre, be astounded by the panoramic and breathtaking 360 degree view of the Singapore CBD/Marina Bay skyline.

1-Altitude actually manages levels 61 to 63 of OUB centre, with each level catering for different functions and crowds. On level 61, 1-Altitude runs 282 and Citygolf, a sports bar and indoor golf simulator. On level 62 is the fine dining restaurant arm of 1-Altitude, Stellar. Lastly located on the top level is 1-Altitude Gallery and Bar, which is the World’s highest rooftop bar at 282m.

Stellar is helmed by Group Executive Chef Christopher Miller, who in addition to being Stellar’s head chef, also runs his own Thai eatery Sweet Salty Spicy around the Bukit Timah area. He tells us that while Stellar’s modern cuisine carries with it a high level of sophistication, Stellar aims at providing diners with a fun dining experience rather than evoking stifling and rigid fine dining rules.

While Chef Miller specializes in Modern European cuisine, Stellar’s menu isn’t limited as such. There’s food here that caters to most palates, from Japanese, fresh seafood like Sashimi and Oysters, Grilled meats, and even a Charcuterie section (cured meats) but Chef Miller made it clear that Stellar doesn’t serve fusion food.

Our tasting session started off with Stellar’s Twice Baked Gruyere Souffle. For traditionalists who believe that souffles should only be left for dessert, I bid them to try this rendition. The gruyere souffle is served alongside additional servings of 2 different melted cheese sauces (gruyere and blue cheese), meant for those who want an extra cheesy kick. The cheese sauces complemented the souffle as much, if not more, than the typical vanilla sauce to a chocolate souffle. I believe that I would have no qualms eating this for breakfast, brunch, lunch, high tea, dinner or supper 😀

The Seared Hokkaido Scallops and Octopus was a pretty sight. The octopus is cooked in a sous vide style, adding a softer texture to the normally elastic rubbery bite.

The Sashimi: Omakase Taster is an assorted tray of fresh Tuna Belly, Salmon, Tai, Hamachi, Swordfish, Scallops, Ikura, Caviar, and Surf Clams. Typically, “omakase” means entrusting your meal in the chef’s hands such that he would normally bring out the freshest or seasonal ingredients to whip up your meal. Therefore, its probable that one might not get the same types of sashimi everytime, but that’s just my guess. I found the quality and freshness of the seafood laudable given that Stellar isn’t a full fledged Japanese restaurant. After all, who can complain about Tuna Belly?

The Sushi(Spicy Tuna, Swordfish, Lobster and Salmon) was done delightfully well too. I especially liked the Swordfish Sushi (2nd row from top). In addition to the inner sushi fillings of diced swordfish, the sushi was also topped with a slice of creamy swordfish smeared with a rich mayo sauce which was subsequently seared. Really yummy.

There was a small side of lightly seared Ocean Trout and Swordfish Tataki which I found so-so.

There’s so much variety within the Charcuterie Taster that it’s hard to keep track. Apart from the 2 different types of Jamon hams (can’t remember their exact names though), there’s also a fowl terrine which I found too bitter and strong-tasting for my liking, cured sausages of duck and pork which were so-so, and a creamy foie gras parfait which was my favourite mini-item of this Charcuterie Taster.

Transiting to Mains, I harboured ambivalent feelings towards the Truffled Risotto with Poached Maine Lobster. While I liked the texture of the risotto and fresh sweetness of the lobster, I found the use of Truffle oil excessive which threatened to overwhelm the dish’s naturally mild flavours.

The Slow Roasted Suckling Pig with Iberico jamon and Fig Stuffing was pretty decent but objectively speaking, I’m just too much a fan of fat meats to be that reliable.

The Grain Fed ‘Tomahawk’ Rib Eye served with Bone Marrow is sourced from Australian cattle, which according to Chef Miller is what Australian cattle are good for (US cattle are better for their sirloin according to him). If I recall correctly, this Rib Eye was dry aged for 120 days, which is quite long. Just to recap on the similarities and differences between wet aging and dry aging, both types of aging carries with it the same purpose; to allow the beef to become more tender by allowing its natural enzymes to break down the proteins within the beef. The main difference is that for dry aging, the beef (usually of higher quality) is hung and allowed to air while for wet aging, the beef is sealed in a vacuumed plastic bag (hence retaining more water and tasting a bit more bloody). Another tidbit of info regarding food aging that I found out from Chef Miller is that aging of egg whites (for 2 weeks!) is crucial in making a light and airy souffle!

Utterly seduced by the Chocoloate Seduction, I loved every aspect of this creation, from the velvety chocolate ganache to the crunchy praline base, not to mention the Moist Chocolate Cake (much like a chocolate lava cake) at the background. I just think that while 1 chocolate cake is good, 2 is always better.

Topped with Coconut Ice Cream, I’m not an ardent fan of the Tropical Vodka Trifle, which while still passable by usual standards, was dwarfed by the other desserts.

Whenever I used to visit 1-Caramel, I never fail to order the Strawberry Shortcake which is airy and not too cloying. I was simply beaming when I saw it present among the Trio Fraise, which also comprised of Champagne Jelly and Chocolate Dipped Strawberries.

The Tropical Teaser comprised of a citrus cheesecake and Lemon Sorbet, effective as a last dessert for cleansing the palate after such a heavy meal.

While there was a mix of hits and misses, I generally enjoyed my dining experience at Stellar. After our dinner, we took a short stroll up to the rooftop bar and gallery. Having been to a few rooftop bars in Singapore like Helipad, Orgo and New Asia Bar, I believe that 1-Altitude’s ambience and view is the best of these few. Of course, I won’t be as hasty to say that it’s the best rooftop bar in Singapore, as I haven’t been to LeVel 33 or Ku De Ta etc yet.

Many thanks to the One-Rochester Group and Stellar @ 1-Altitude for their kind and gracious invitation.

Bon Appetit!

Stellar @ 1-Altitude

1 Raffles Place, Level 62 OUB Centre

Tel: +65 6438 0410





The Dining Room @ Sheraton Hotel – Good Dessert Section

23 01 2011

Ever since joining SMU Gourmet Club, I have always desired to attend their heavily subsidized makan sessions to restaurants such as Shin Yuu, Gattopardo, Paulaner Brauhaus and Royal China etc and mingle with fellow like-minded foodies, but somehow my schedule clashed every time single time for the past 6 months, till now…

Today’s dinner at The Dining Room at Sheraton Hotel marks my first actual involvement in the SMU Gourmet Club. Coincidentally, I also had the honour of meeting a fellow ex-food blogger, Zaylene of This Is Yummy, who has been on my blogroll all this while! Interestingly, she came across my blog before too and thought it belonged to some old guy because Peter is such an old-school classic name…

The Dining Room does away with appetizers that simply clutter up the buffet line and focuses mainly on the Raw and chilled Seafood. Can’t say that most Singaporeans would be happy with this allocation of resources. My first plate of sashimi was a little fishy but on seeing the old tray being replaced, I scrambled to the buffet line once more and found the sashimi much better this time. My first time having seen shrimp sashimi at a local buffet and I thought it was pretty decent, relatively better than Sushi Tei’s.

Wasn’t terribly impressed by the variety of the heated food section, thought I thought the Roast Duck was not bad as the skin was still slightly crispy.

There’s live cooking stations for pasta, and a carving station as well.

My favourite part of this buffet was the Desserts! Awesome Chocolate Praline with Crunchy Layer and other assorted cakes, not so commonly seen tray of Chocolate Praline (white, dark and orange chocs), Durian Pengat (raved by my friends though I didn’t try), Ice Cream Station and a live Waffle Station with over 10 types of toppings ranging from the usual Chocolate Sauce, Vanilla Sauce, Maple Syrup to the unusual Aloe Vera and Sea Coconut.

Overall, service was very attentive and my plates were swiftly cleared as soon as I put down my cutlery. Buffet items were refilled frequently as well for which I’m very grateful, especially since sashimi turns stale rather quickly. While the range of the buffet items was not as extensive as The Line or Triple Three, I felt that the dishes were above average for a buffet, especially the Shrimp Sashimi which is rarely seen in buffets, the Chocolate Praline with Crunchy Layer, Walnut Cheesecake and the Waffles which were prepared ala minute.

Towards the end of the meal, we also participated in some games organised by the SMU Gourmet Club which added spice to an already fun-filled night.

It’s a pity that we weren’t able to have a glimpse of the lush outdoor greenery and waterfall, which is a salient feature of The Dining Room in the day but I guess I’m more than content with the good food and company.

Bon Appetit!

THE DINING ROOM

39 SCOTTS ROAD, SHERATON TOWERS

TEL: +65 6839 5621





Triple 3 – $88 Weekday Buffet Dinner, Auspicious or just plain Ostentatious?

20 12 2010

I usually get comments from friends that SMU girls are hotter and prettier than girls from NUS and NTU, and on hearing this I always give them the same reply, “With quantity comes quality”. With only around 900 female students per cohort in SMU in contrast to the respective 3500 and 4000 female students per cohort in NTU and NUS, I believe that by the sheer overwhelming absolute numbers, there definitely has to be more chio bus in NUS and NTU, albeit much spread out over the large campus so you don’t get to see them as much as in SMU.

Well does this analogy of “with quantity comes quality” apply to buffets as well?

Personally, I don’t think so. I’m no fan of buffets and I’m perplexed as to why it has grown so popular in Singapore. Perhaps it’s due to our multi-racial and multi-cultural society where we like to pinch a bit of Indian here and there, nibble on some Chinese and move on to sample Japanese and European cuisines. After all, we Singaporeans pride ourselves as a global people, don’t we?

Still, I don’t see how buffet quality food justifies the hefty pricetag that comes along with it. That’s where Triple’s 3’s 1-for-1 buffet deal comes in (for DBS Cardholders which lasts till 28 Feb 2011). (Citibank has a separate promotion where 1 dines for free for every 3 paying adults for Sunday Brunch).

Triple 3 has been touted as one of Singapore’s more extensive and pricy buffets, going for $88++/pax for weekday dinners.

The buffet starts with the usual Salad and Seafood Bar. Not a bad selection of seafood, ranging from raw oysters, scallops, clams, mussels, hokkaido crab legs and chilled prawns, all of which were adequately fresh.

Next up, the Sashimi Bar. More than usual buffet variety with Salmon, Salmon Belly, Tuna, Swordfish, Octopus and a type of Clam.

There’s also a section for nibblers. Japanese Fried Chicken and Chilean Seabass are just such crowd pleasers.

There’s also a station for Roast Duck and Soba, as well as a Grill station. I really loved the beef, probably the most enjoyable roast beef I have had in a buffet.

For the pasta station, the Tomato-based pasta is worth mention while the cream Cream-based pastas were lackluster and bland.

Decent Chawanmushi and an overly salted Black Chicken Soup.

Most of the heated dishes were Indian Cuisine so I decided to give most of them a miss as spice doesn’t do you any favours in a buffet setting, especially when there’s sashimi and other raw seafoods involved.

Hokkien Mee was pretty good.

A queue would form at the teppanyaki station whenever the prawns, beef or salmon was about to be done. I didn’t think much of these assorted teppanyaki though.

Finally it was time for desserts. Delightful cakes here and there but nothing good enough to leave a deep impression.

I would say Triple 3 offers a pretty good spread and while there’s nothing awesome enough to rave about, most of the food was above average.

So, if you are a buffet fan, I think Triple 3 deserves a visit, especially with the ongoing 1-for-1 promotion.

Bon Appetit!

Triple 3

333 Orchard Road, Level 5 Meritus Mandarin

Tel: +65 6831 6271








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