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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Buffet bounty

Buffet restaurants are drawing Singaporeans with a huge variety of food at reasonable prices
The Straits Times - September 4, 2011
By: Eunice Quek
| More
Buffet bounty Pile up your plate from the seafood-based spread at the 10,000-sq ft Fisherman's Market at The Central in Clarke Quay. -- PHOTOS: CHEW SENG KIM, DELON HO, KUISHIN BO, MARINA BAY SANDS, MEDZS

Singaporeans, it seems, cannot get their fill of buffets. Several buffet restaurants have opened over the past year.

These include Buffet Town at Raffles City, Fisherman's Market at The Central in Clarke Quay, Tarafuku Japanese Fish Market and Restaurant at 313@Somerset and The Chocolate Bar in Marina Bay Sands' SkyPark.

They are giving hotel buffets a run for their money, with prices from $23.80++ for an adult lunch buffet. Most hotel buffet prices start from $50.

Buffet Town took over the former Shokudo Japanese Food Bazaar in Raffles City's basement. It is still run by the same company, Thai Express Concepts. The other Shokudo outlet in The Heeren's basement was revamped last year and is called Kiseki Japanese Buffet Restaurant.

Thai Express Concepts general manager Chi Pin Han, 48, says: 'There are many new Japanese restaurants and consumers prefer to go there for Japanese cuisine. So we kept Kiseki as a Japanese buffet but revamped Shokudo into an international buffet. It is important that we have local food, that's why I included the chicken rice and laksa stations.'

Another local fix in Buffet Town is the coffee and tea section which serves kopi or teh coffee shop-style.

Mr Chi says: 'After lunch time, local coffee outlets are always crowded with people. So I thought this would be something that customers would enjoy.'

Over at Clarke Quay, the 10,000-sq ft Fisherman's Market has made its way from Kobe and Yokohama to Singapore.

Costing $1.78 million, the seafood- based buffet opened in July and it is the first eatery opened here by Create Restaurants, a Japanese F&B company with a portfolio of over 110 food concepts.

Managing director Naoki Takahashi, 52, says: 'We focus on crab and oysters in the Singapore outlet. I've also noticed that Singaporeans love to pile their plates with food while in Japan, they take small portions of the dishes to taste everything. So we make sure we cater to everyone.'

Tarafuku is run by Creative Food Concept, the management behind ramen chain Tampopo and opened in January. At this Japanese buffet, you can have your fill of ramen, sushi and sashimi.

If you prefer a sweeter buffet, go to The Chocolate Bar in Marina Bay Sands for a sinful indulgence of 57 chocolate-themed desserts hand-crafted by executive pastry chef Alejandro Luna and his team.

Other buffet outlets include international buffet outlet Pariss and individual hotpot and porridge buffet Hotpot Culture in Marina Square, seafood buffet Todai in Marina Bay Sands and dessert- based buffet Let's Sweets at Bugis Junction and Plaza Singapura.

Old-timer international buffet outlet Kuishin Bo, which has branches in Suntec City, Jurong Point and Great World City, first opened in 2001.

Marketing communications manager Winnie Loo for RE&S Enterprise, which owns Kuishin Bo, says: 'It's good that customers have more choices. While hotel buffets may be pricier, they are not necessarily better in taste. Kuishin Bo is very popular among Japanese foodies.'

In July this year, it introduced a healthier corner in the Great World City outlet offering 20 low-calorie Japanese dishes ranging from salad to multi-grain rice.

Hotpot Culture managing director Wilson Lim does not see hotel buffets as competition. He says: 'They are targeted at a more mature crowd with more spending power. We are targeting a more casual crowd and so we need to offer value-for-money deals to our customers.'

The year-old outlet in Marina Square offers lunch porridge buffets and hotpot sets for dinner from $7.90++ a person.

If you are not into the incessant eating at buffets but still want a smorgasbord of choices, go to Mediterranean restaurant Medzs in Orchard Central, which adopts the same payment system as Marche in VivoCity and 313@Somerset.

Medzs, which can seat 200 diners, opened in April this year and is run by Food Junction, partnered by Far East Organization. The kitchen is helmed by Moroccan-born chef Mus Anesrif.

Food Junction's Ms Claudia Tay says: 'Our menu is seasonal so as to present the freshest produce. In keeping with the Mediterranean fishing season, our Catch of the Season promotion includes giant marlin and swordfish, fresh from the Mediterranean Sea.'

After the meal, you can kick back with booze from the beer piazza with 120 types of international beers to choose from.

For buffet fans, property agent Jasmine Chua and her husband Duanne Ong, 40, a condominium manager, it will take some time for them to eat their way through this buffet bounty.

Ms Chua, 47, who was dining at Buffet Town on Wednesday, says: 'We love buffets because of the variety of food and reasonable prices. We don't eat too much but like to try different kinds of food. With more places opening, the owners will have to make sure they keep their food fresh, then customers will return.'

Where to eat your fill

BUFFET TOWN

Highlights: Fresh seafood section, teppanyaki, yakitori and pasta stations and local favourites such as chicken rice and laksa. For dinner, oysters are available, as well as chilli or black pepper crab

Where: Raffles City, B1-44E, 252 North Bridge Road

Price: $23.80++ (adult for weekday lunch), $28.80++ (adult for weekend lunch), $16.80++ (child for lunch daily), $33.80++ (adult for dinner from Mondays to Thursdays), $38.80++ (adult for dinner from Fridays to Sundays), $19.80++ (child for dinner daily). Free for children under six years old

Open: 11.30am to 3pm (lunch), 6 to 10.30pm (dinner) daily

Info: Call 6837-3793

FISHERMAN'S MARKET

Highlights: Fresh oyster, sashimi and sushi bar, chilli and black pepper crab, and teppanyaki pork and beef. Chilled appetisers include scallop and zucchini in balsamic marinade. Desserts include chocolate fondue, cakes and puffs

Where: The Central, 01-15 & 02-17, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street

Price: $29.90++ (adult for weekday lunch), $39.90++ (adult for weekend lunch and dinner from Mondays to Thursdays), $44.90++ (adult for dinner from Fridays to Sundays), $22.90++ (child from five to 11) for lunch and dinner buffet daily

Open: 11am to 11pm (first floor), 5 to 11pm (second floor) daily

Info: Go to www.createrestaurants. com/en or call 6221-3177

THE CHOCOLATE BAR

Highlights: Indulge in 57 chocolate- themed desserts which include rosemary milk-chocolate cappuccino with rosemary-flavoured foam and milk chocolate mousse, warm marbled chocolate brioche, chocolate cream with ginger- green tea gel and brown sugar-poached pineapple. Also serves salted caramel fondant and churros with chocolate

Where: Sands SkyPark, The Club, Marina Bay Sands, Hotel Tower 2, 10 Bayfront Avenue

Price: $38++ or $54++ (with a glass of champagne)

Open: 8pm to midnight daily

Info: Call 6688-8858 for reservations

MEDZS

Highlights: Serves Mediterranean delights at various stations with dishes prepared a la minute. Favourites include the charcuterie board of meats, Turkish beyti with grilled beef or lamb wrapped in a flatbread, duck confit and Moroccan vegetable tajines. About $30 a person, as prices vary for the dishes

Where: Orchard Central, B2-01/03, 181 Orchard Road

Open: 11am to 11pm daily

Info: Call 6238-9028

 

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