Today’s Sunday Times Lifestyle section ran an article on the numerous buffet brunches in Singapore and how it was catching up as an icon of the generation. Mum spotted the little box on the who’s who’s brunches in the country till her eye became fixated on the the offering from Hai Tien Lo. The fantasy of Bird’s Nest Egg Tarts and Lobster Dumplings were simply stomach cravers that were too tempting to simply pass by.
We first called the restaurant at 1045 to see if we could make a reservation at 1130, but unbeknown to us, the establishment was already full and seats were pre-“choped” (reserved) in true Singaporean fashion. Yet, my mum left her name to the manager with hope and crossed fingers, just in case if there were patrons who finished early. True enough, we managed to get some decent seats at 1pm to a view that was simply breathtaking and marvelous.
One of the two main reasons that caught my mum’s eye – the Lobster Dumpling. Juicy, sweet, succulent and crunchy lobster is prepared Har Kao style. A very large dumpling that is served only once.
The next big demand on the platter that is served only once. Simple, crusty egg tarts with a slightly sweet custard topped with a generous portion of cooling bird’s nest.
One of the appetizers from the already laid out buffet table is the Marinated Knuckles. Braised in a fine dark sweet sauce, the gelatinous skin and soft cartilage turns out to be very savoury and appetizing.
The Deep Fried Vietnamese Prawn Rolls were crispy, not too oily and full flavour focused on the prawns itself. Quick bites while waiting for the mains to be served.
The serving of Smoked Duck Rolls were simply fabulous. Light, slightly chewy yet tender and sweet duck meat wrapped in a thin layer of gelatinous fat. Yummy =)
From Top Left : Steamed Chicken Feat with Black Bean Sauce, Pan Fried Rice Flour Rolls with Crispy Conpoy with Homemade X.O
Chilli Sauce, Steamed Pork Dumplings with Fish Roe, Deep Fried Bean Curd Skin Stuffed with Chives & Prawn Paste, Steamed Shrimp Dumplings
Some of the Dim Sum I ordered. Very nice and fresh, and that Siew Mai was soft yet crunchy.
The Poached Beijing Dumplings stuffed with Chicken & Prawn in Chilli Vinegar Sauce were very nicely done. Contrasting flavours of tart vinegar, spicy chillies and savoury chicken fused into a wrapped delight that provides a hearty bite.
Mixed Platter of 3 Barbecued Meats : Roast Pork, Char Siew and Soy Sauce Chicken
Crispy roast pork that is not too salty but instead mild mannered flavours of meatiness and heartiness. Good dish that needs little to describe. Char Siew was also good with parts of each piece having a thin layer of fat for that sultry texture. Though the soy sauce chicken is a little much to be desired for its toughness.
Buddha Jumps Over The Wall
The soups from the Chef’s Specialties section are limited to only one choice of soup per guest. Mum took the Buddha Jumps Over The Wall. Judging that this is a brunch buffet, I never did come to expect a generous serving of Shark’s Fin, Abalone and Mushrooms all in a very calm, clear and tasty herbal broth.
For me, I called for the Shark’s Cartilage Broth with Seafood & Bamboo Piths. I enjoyed the slightly rich, creamy texture of the white coloured soup. There was a huge serving of a gigantic prawn in it and fine piece of white fish. Nice, though I would still prefer a heavier taste.
Fried Prawns Tossed In Wasabi Mayonnaise Sauce is perhaps one of the most common dishes found in many Chinese restaurant. Hai Tien Lo’s own creation would be a slightly more light tasting wasabi mayonnaise that is not too rich in flavour or hearty spiciness. The addition of caramelized walnuts only added more to the sweetness of the dish. More sweet than savoury. Though I must agree that the prawns were very crunchy. Hmm I wonder how many times I mentioned that the prawns were crunchy. 4? 5?
The Claypot Beef Brisket with Turnips is one of the must tries for the avid Beef eater. Very nice tendons that are so soft and jelly like. The brown sauce is also not too strong in flavour yet it complements well with the tastiness of the red meat.
Now this is an interesting dish that deserves to be called up. Wasabi Mayonnaise Monkey-head Mushrooms with Fresh Fruit Salad. Yes its mushrooms, but the restaurant has chosen to coat each piece in batter, deep frying it and than tossing it in the light flavoured wasabi mayonnaise sauce. Surprisingly meaty in taste, and the fruit salad lightens the palate, making this a refreshing dish.
Steamed Cod Fish with Preserved Vegetables blends the flavours of the fatty white cod with the ideals of the saltish preserved veggies.
I would say that the portion of Stewed Beancurd & Sea Cucumber with Spicy Szechuan Sauce is a bit much for two people. Not really spicy, not really my liking.
The “Country Style” Steamed Sea Perch Fillet with Spicy Sauce takes a new rendition on the firm, rough white meat. A bit of sambal thrown in would make it better. I preferred the one at Peach Garden.
Strawberries, Strawberries, Strawberries. Plenty of Strawberries.
I must say that Hai Tien Lo’s cakes were pretty decent though limited in variety. Not too bad for all the food that I’ve eaten so far.
The Fried Sesame Lotus Bun is still not my liking. But the Mango Pudding was oh so fabulous. Creamy, firm and littered with bite sized pieces of nato de cocoa at the bottom. Nice for more than 1 serving.
Hai Tien Lo serves up an exquisite buffet of varied Chinese culinary cuisines with a touch of its own style and flavour. The pricing of $48.00 ++ (adult), $28.00 ++ (child 12 years and below) is considerable as “value for money” as the spread and the finesse placed into each dish is worth it.
From the restaurant’s location on the 37th floor, a good view is also promised. Scenes of the esplanade, the Singapore Flyer, Old Parliament house, the upcoming Integrated Resort and the Towering skyscrapers are just some subjects that can catch your eye. Once night, the lights of the city will be even more breathtaking.
Delicacies and cuisines aplenty, all in an excellent serving of a Chinese A La Carte Buffet.
|Hai Tien Lo
7 Raffles Boulevard
37/F Pan Pacific Hotel
Tel : 6826 8338
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