I was on a mission given by my mum to find a restaurant offering a delectable buffet spread but yet at a wallet friendly price point… and guess what… on a Saturday evening. Foodies in Singapore would understand that this is a highly tough mission since all prices of buffets will go up at least 20% on weekends.
I was on the verge of pulling out my hair till I found this place via a fellow food blogger who offered 20% discount for reservations by mentioning the blog name.
Located within the 2 years old Mercure Bugis hotel in middle road, the restaurant is fairly new and very well maintained. Although, there is available parking on-site, lots are limited so be sure to go early to secure a lot. With every $50 ( or $100 do double check when you call in for a reservation) spent, 1 complimentary parking ticket is issued by the restaurant.
This grand corridor greets you once you exit from the lift coming from the carpark. There is another set of lifts that bring you to the rooms and hotel lobby. Looking very much like an Italian inspired marbled palace, the place was done up in style and lavishness.
The seating capacity of the restaurant is probably about 50 pax as they chose to use huge comfortable dining chairs which took up quite a fair bit of space. Surprisingly, the restaurant was pretty empty even though it was a Saturday evening. I have read some bad reviews about this restaurant but for a different buffet offering. This period they are offering the Rasa Sayang buffet which is very much local delights so I decided to give it a chance.
The spread is not huge with about 2 rows of cooked food served in the typical buffet styled warmers with dishes like prawn paste chicken wings, curry fish, fried rice, fried kway teow, laksa baked chicken, kong bak pau and more. Another area with salads, sushi, chilled prawns, yabbies and clams. There was a live bbq area serving local delights like satay, grilled sambal stingray, grilled sotong ( squid ) and chicken wings. Unfortunately, the bbq station had to close and shift to a standard warmer as it started to rain and the meats had to be barbequed from the kitchen. The more interesting items included the fully self help rojak station and ice kachang stations. I will review in detail only the dishes which left an impression with me and my family.
This Kong Bak Pau was quite unforgettable. The pau is very soft and sweet and the main star of this dish, the kong bak ( braised pork belly ) is juicy and cooked to the point it melts in your mouth. The fats is so well cooked that it melts together with the meat and is not greasy at all. Even the soft bone of the meat is so well stewed that it is crunchy to the bite and can be eaten together. This I would say is better than the West lake ones.
For years, I never found another Har Jiong Gai ( Shrimp paste prawn ) being sold outside nice as my mum makes one of the best in Singapore. I am sure my friends who had eaten them agrees with me as they waited for those precious wings every Chinese New Year. I had the first bite here with a certain level of scepticism and wow was my mind blown away. These ones tasted so much like my mum ones that if she was not sitting next to me, I would have believed she was in the kitchen. At this point, my sister who was as much a skeptic as me refused to try it until even my mum endorsed the wings and from then the flood gates were opened.. I can’t recall the number of wings we had at our table.
This is an easy choice since I am a die-hard seafood lover. Chilled prawns are always the first on my plate at any buffet. The prawns were huge, fresh and juicy which is superior to the yabbies which were slightly dry. The prawns were topped up pretty fast so the supply was never ending and the quality maintained throughout the refills.
I loved this station since I generally loved loads of salty prawn paste with my rojak. It is a plus point that the station provided guava and dried shrimps as toppings for the rojak. The paste was thick and fragrant unlike some other buffet where the paste are diluted and tasteless.
The dessert spread is placed right at the front of the restaurant with a chocolate fountain where children could dip their marshmallow skewers. A variety of nonya ( Peranakan ) desserts like ondeh ondeh, kueh kosui and ang gu kueh, western dessets like mango cheesecake, chocolate spiced cake, durian crème brulee as well as fresh fruits and iced almond longan sweet soup were provided. There is also an ice-cream corner with 4 flavours; matcha, vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. The best thing to wash down all the food you have gobbled is with a hot cup of coffee or any of the 4 flavours of tea offered.
My final verdict of this buffet: At the original price of $38, I would say this is mediocre but at the price after 20% discount, this is generally an ok place to have a weekend buffet if your expectations are not that high and your pockets are not deep with a large family to host. Certain dishes do make the mark although others fall short but the dining atmosphere and the good service of the staff made the dinner rather enjoyable.
Rasa Sayang BBQ Buffet Details
1 June – 26 August 2018
Daily Dinner: 6pm – 10pm
Price: Adults—S$38++, S$68++*, Children—S$19++
*Inclusive of free flow wines and beer
Level 3, Mercure Singapore Bugis
122 Middle Road
Tel: +65 6521 6030 / or email HA0D7-FB1@accor.com
Buffet Dinner: 6pm – 10pm
Nearest Station: Bugis