Spending time feasting at buffets is one of the national past-time of Singaporeans and there are endless deals monthly to attract diners to different restaurants. There are various types of buffet from International, dim sum, Chinese, Indian, Japanese cuisines for choice and one of the local favourites include the Peranakan buffet. Not many hotels actually offer this kind of buffet as the preparation of the dishes can be more complex than usual buffet dishes.
Located within the Katong V Hotel, Katong Kitchen is one such restaurant that offers an authentic Peranakan buffet for both lunch and dinner. Katong is an area rich Peranakan history evident in its colourful heritage buildings and restaurants so by naming itself Katong Kitchen, I had high expectations of the food. The restaurant is set in a typical hotel buffet style with rows of tables and chairs and can seat approximately 80 – 100 people.
First up is the cold section of the buffet which offers fresh cold seafood like scallops, prawns, clams, mussels and flower crabs. The seafood is replenished pretty fast and there is a couple of different dipping sauces available at the side like lime and Tabasco, Thai chilli sauce and sambal.
Next to the seafood area is a special of the day which was Nasi lemak, a Malay dish where fried chicken is paired with coconut fragrance rice and sambal chilli, peanuts, fried anchovies.
Next to the daily specials is 2 huge steamer with dim sum, soup of the day and also a live cooking station where laksa and noodles soup is served. The day I visited, the soup of the day was pork ribs with lotus root soup.
The next few stations are the DIY stations where you can make fruit rojak, kueh pie tee. Fruit rojak is a mixed fruit salad topped with savoury prawn sauce and peanut shavings as the salad sauce while kueh pie tee is a crispy biscuit cup where you can include fried shredded radish and dried shrimps. Both are traditional and representative Peranakan snacks which are well-loved by locals.
The next area is the cooked food area which has items like herbal chicken, fried rice, nonya vegetables, sambal stingray, beef rendang, mutton curry and fried noodles. The items change daily so you might get different dishes.
This next station is actually one of my favourite which is actually prawn crackers with a variety of sambal belachan sauces for you to dip the crackers into. This is a typical Peranakan habit for prawn crackers where sambal chilli is used as the dipping sauce. It is my favourite as the belachan chilli is extremely legit and very fragrant. It is spicy enough with a kick and has the savoury pungent fragrant and flavours of the dried shrimp paste.
For desserts, they have the usual ice cream cart, DIY ice-kacang station, western cakes and more uniquely this local Peranakan desserts area. You can find durian mousse, Indonesian layered cake ( Kueh lapis) and a wide choice of Peranakan desserts as featured in the basket in the picture.
The few things I wish to point out is the iced prawns which were huge in size and extremely fresh and succulent. The prawns were naturally sweet and the size was satisfyingly huge for a prawn lover like me to have many helpings.
For the rest of the dishes, I had small portions to taste all the available choices. Personally, the items that really hit the spot for me was the nonya vegetables which were braised till soft and flavourful, the fried chicken from the nasi lemak station which was crispy yet tender, the mutton curry which was very flavourful and spicy but had a slight gamey smell. The rojak fruit salad was good since we could determine the amount of sauce we want and the prawn sauce was thick and flavourful. The laksa was ok but not fantastic and the rest of the items were just quite normal. They were not bad but not extremely outstanding.
One item which really very addictive was the fried banana station which can be fried jackfruit on some days. The fruit is fried in a savoury batter and the dip provided is a dark soy sauce with cut chilli padi. The combination is quite da bomb as the sweet fruit meets the salty batter skin and concludes with a spicy punch from the dip. Not many people like to eat it with the dip so even when you have it without the dip, it is perfectly crunchy and sweet.
Overall, the service at Katong Kitchen is very friendly and attentive as plates are cleared almost immediately after you have finished and I like that the food is replenished regularly. The quality of the food is also good although some dishes were better than others.
Address: 5 Marine Parade, Village Hotel Katong, Level 4, 449536
Operating hours: 12 pm to 12.30 pm and 6.30 pm to 10 pm
Mondays to Fridays, 12pm – 2.30pm
$40++ (Adult) | $20++ (Child – aged 6-12)
Saturdays & Sundays, 12pm – 3pm
$50++ (Adult) | $25++ (Child – aged 6-12)
Children aged 5 and under dine free with every paying guest