The 21st celebration of a person is a significant milestone marked by his passage into adulthood. While it is true that time passes by very quickly, I guess it has shifted a little too fast for me. I remembered 9 years ago when I was 12, I said that National Service was a long way ahead. And then after passing through the phases of O Levels, A Levels, and serving the country for two fulfilling years, I have now hit the magic 21. It perhaps marks the end of the childhood I have lived in, but also it signifies a new beginning into this world. A moment of double celebration, this is one night to remember for that very special moment.
Last year for my 20th birthday, I had the pleasure of the company of both my grandmothers with me in celebrating this day at Jade. This year, only my paternal grandmother joined in on the day itself with my family and Godparents. My maternal grandmother was very ill and recently discharged from hospital the day before my birthday, but that didn’t stop me from lifting her spirits by having a birthday cake and song to celebrate the occasion with her first at home. The years passed by very quickly, and suddenly it seems like everyone is aging, though finely in the way of shimmering lights and crystals.
For my 21st Birthday this year, I chose to visit The Line Restaurant at the Shangri-La Hotel. Located amidst the elaborate decor of a mystical ambience, with warm wood brown colours and rich lights aplenty, The Line was my place of choice to celebrate my big day with a galore of gourmet varieties and to leave a lasting memory of an experience to remember. I last visited The Line two years ago in December 2009 to celebrate my mum’s 49th Birthday and it was through the well thought spread of delectable goodies such as Honey Baked Ham, freshly shucked oysters, oodles of fresh sashimi, a decent cheese spread and sweet tantalizing delights coupled with the good service that brought me back.
The Line is probably the only buffet restaurant I have visited with freshly shucked oysters to order. Just name your desired quantity and be treated to the rough and hardy mollusc being pried open to serve on your plate. The seafood section also features crabs, fresh prawns and mussels with servings of lemon wedges and tabasco sauce.
This Sunday night, Middle Eastern cuisine takes center stage as one of the features being served for guests. The roast rack of lamb looks extermely appetizing.
And if something hot would suit the palate, Middle Eastern Chef Khaled Elelimi treated my table to a spread of Fried Kibbih, Sambousk Jebanh and Sambousk Laham. The Fried Kibbih was exceptionally delicious due to its serving being made of deep fried ground lamb with crushed wheat, onions and pine nuts.
A Mezze spread of Hoummous, Baba Ghannoush, Labneh and Muhammara are available as dips to go with choice Mediterranean breads. I especially adored the Hoummous which was a Puree of Chickpeas with tahina and lemon juice, topped with olive oil as the warm nutty flavour and texture was refreshingly sparkled with an acidic touch of citrus and made smooth and silky with the oil.
And for a more European collection, there were the classics of Fish Pie in Puff Pastry, French Snow Peas, Lobster bisque and Snow Fish with Tomato sauce. Imagine the Snow Fish with Tomato sauce to be extremely smooth and silky matched with the rich umaminess of the tomato and cream.
The Red Wine Braised Lamb Cheek was well marbled in fat with a firm yet melt in the mouth texture. The sauce was also well constructed in savoury flavours in delicate fashion to bring out the beauty of the meat while retaining a robust creamy taste.
And for the classics, there were traditional Roast Beef served with Yorkshire pudding in a smooth savoury brown sauce, roast potatoes, pesto raviolli and pasta with either cream,tomato and beef sauce prepared live.
The Japanese counter was also well presented with fine cuts of Salmon, Tuna, Yellowtail, Octopus and Squid. Smooth, creamy and fresh with a crisp clear taste, this is very good sashimi.
Sushis were decently varied with choices from Inari, Pickled Lettuce, Sweet Prawn, Hamachi, and various makis.
This is one wasabi block that certainly got my attention.
I have always enjoyed the Salad and Greek section at The Line. Witness freshly shaved parma ham being served or even a spread of cheeses to start, or end the meal.
While the spread is good, I found the festive salads like the Pomelo Salad to be a little bitter, and goodness why have I not tried the Pasta and Vegetable salad. Truth to be said, I was too full to try every single item on the menu.
Its hard to go wrong with the Parma Ham with Rockmelon, a classic in salty sweet flavours combined in a refreshing way.
And yes there is the good ol’ Chinese cuisine section where dishes of crowd favourites like Cereal Prawns, Coffee Pork Ribs, Curry Chicken and Dim Sum are whipped up for the feast.
The Line is one of the few buffet restaurants in Singapore which features a fixed Indian/Asian Cuisine section. Various curries are up to savour, together with freshly flipped prata and barbecued sticks of satay! And if there is a crave for Roast Duck, Char Siew or even Wanton Mee, there is a Chinese live station catering to hungry tummies. Thumbs up for the variety though the portrayal of dishes needs a louder shout out by the restaurant.
The dessert section this time round is of choice variety with select cakes and tarts but with a few pieces which could do with better interest. The chocolate eclairs were cutely adorned with little flowers, and the Mango Sago Puree with smooth and velvety sweet.
The cakes were very appealing and tempting especially with pieces like the Strawberry Shortcake with layers of strawberry, cream, sponge, cream, strawberry and sponge to top it all off.
Assorted Sponges and Chocolate Classics are a must have to any buffet.
While 7 different varieties of cakes and an assortment of cocktail desserts are available, there is also a fixed Crepe making station, an ice cream booth with toppings of nuts, berries and other dried condiments together with an irresistible chocolate fondue that would make many go chocolate crazy.
The Line at Shangri-La in all has a very decent spread of delicacies and classics served out for its guests. Service, ambience, and quality are still very good, though the restaurant could perhaps do more in bringing out the varieties or spicing up its choices on the menu. The selections could do with that much needed sparkle. This visit to The Line was with the promotion of Shangri-La’s 39th Anniversary with 39% discount for reservations made up to 39 days in advance, and it is with good food, excellent company, and a little something for everybody, that makes this birthday dinner worthwhile.
My Birthday Cake! Compliments of The Line. And it was decadently creamy, almost like a chocolate fudge cake made into an ice cream cake.
Middle Eastern Chef Khaled Elelimi and Me!
Reservations : 6213 4275
Breakfast: 6am – 10.30am (weekends until 11am)
Dress Code : Casual