Stepping into Spices Café, I was greeted by a cosy atmosphere coupled with a buffet spread that whet my appetite immediately. I mean, who wouldn’t be hungry at the sight of a seafood spread right there? The buffet selection was fairly extensive: a salad and appetizer selection that was good, a respectable dessert section, you get it. But when one goes to a buffet called the Harvest of the Sea, you definitely look forward to the seafood.
The buffet comes with a range of crab dishes served a-la-carte and a complimentary serving of either Baby Abalone, Cheese Gratinated Half-Lobster or Sambal Half-Lobster (I checked out all three for the review so you know which to go for!) One thing that caught my eye at the buffet line was the live drunken prawn station. These prawns are fresh: once you order a serving, the chef turns around to net a few prawns, still flipping around before he drops them into the broth. Quite an experience indeed!
The net result was a bowl of fresh prawns with a tasty broth. As with fresh prawns, the shells came off easily and the meat was juicy, slightly flavoured with the taste of the broth. I couldn’t resist finishing the soup off myself, a great start to the night!
Between me and my dining partner, we also ordered a serving of Chilli Crab and the Butter and White Pepper Crab. Both came pretty promptly and we also wasted no time in tucking in. I found the Chilli Crab tasty, but it wasn’t as spicy as I hoped it might have been. I personally like the kick of a strong sauce, but at least I know where to take foreign friends who might need a gentle introduction to our famed national dish in the future. I still liked the sauce though, but lamented the lack of mantou to sponge it up with. What is chilli crab without mantou after all?
Having demolished its chilli brethren, we turned our attention to the Butter and White Pepper Crab. I was excited to try it, since it sounded different and unusual. Unfortunately, this was a bit more of a letdown: the sauce was mild and tasty, but I couldn’t really detect the white pepper, and I felt it could also have been more buttery.
This was the point where our lobsters and baby abalone came though, so I turned my attention to it right away. We started off with the baby abalone, served with some mushroom and a bit of broccoli. This was decent, but the real star of the show were the lobsters!
Maybe I’m biased towards cheesy dishes, but the Cheese Gratinated Lobster really hit the spot for me. The grainy texture of the gratin mixed with the flavours of the cheese on the sweet crustacean flesh was such a flavour explosion that I almost wanted to beg for another portion. Alas, moderation is the key to enjoyment, so I instead decided to explore the other lobster waiting.
Coming from the explosion of the cheesy lobster, the Sambal Lobster packed a fiery punch. I wasn’t expecting the heat, given that I had found the chilli crab to be relatively mild, but this was definitely powerful. I’ve had sambal stingray a lot, but I didn’t expect that the sweetness of the lobster meat would match the sambal’s fiery heat this well. I’d recommend this option if you’re a spice person (but the cheese gratinated lobster just wins by a whisker in my book).
Having sampled the highlight dishes, I went around the buffet table in search of more delicacies. Most dishes were tasty, and the spread was respectable, but two dishes stood out in particular and I want to highlight them.
The Lotus Leaf Clams looked intriguing, but at first glance, I was tempted to skip them (I’m a bit lazy, and the thought of having to deal with so much shell for just a morsel of meat was…meh). But tummy duties called so I dutifully scooped some on and brought it back. Perhaps it was on my fourth or fifth helping (I went back for more and more and…more) that I paused to figure out what was just so good about them: the clams were flavourful with the spices used, but the lotus leaf flavour really came out to balance that spice, producing a complex series of flavours in the mouth.
Finally, the Chicken Picatta was a huge surprise. While it used breast meat, and consequently looked dry, my first bite into the meat was followed by an expression of surprise. This was easily one of the most tender pieces of meat I had eaten in quite a while and I absolutely did not expect this experience to come from breast meat, of all cuts. The piquant sauce matched the meat really well and I just had to go back for more. Do not skip this dish!
Finally, I rounded up the meal with some desserts from the selection. The range is decent, and you can have fun with the usuals: chocolate fondue fountain, ice cream with toppings and all. But after such a decadent meal, I’d instead order some of their tea: they serve the Twining’s Discovery Range of teas (priced separately from the buffet) and wash all that good food down with some warm tea.
That, was a good meal.
This article was written by Guest Writer Yingjie.
Thank you Concorde Hotel for the invitation.
|Concorde Hotel Singapore
100 Orchard Road
|Harvest of the Sea Buffet Dinner
Indulge in a daily spread of seafood, including at least 6 unique mouth-watering crab dishes.
To top that, each diner can choose 1 of the following:
– one complimentary serving of baked half lobster (200gms) gratinated with cheese
Monday to Thursday: 6.30pm to 10.00pm
Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Eve of Public Holiday & Public Holiday: 6.30pm to 10.00pm