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Ellenborough has buffed up its buffet by including four new ‘live’ culinary action stations with chefs serving you the food fresh: the Japanese station, Singaporean food station, Peranakan station and dessert station.
Arriving early, I managed to snap some shots of the decor: a colonial and Peranakan feel to it: lots of rattan chairs, marble-top tables and retro checkered black-and-white floor.
There are roughly seven sections of food:
1. Let’s start with the salad section because I didn’t try any. Hey! I’m Singaporean and Singaporeans don’t go to buffets to eat salads!
2. Cold Seafood section
This is the favorite section of Pierre Goh, my eating companion, fashionista, who hosted tv programs on Channel News Asia. There are cold prawns, mussels, scallops, crabs, oysters etc. The seafood is satisfactory.
3. Japanese: Sashimi and sushi
A chef painstaking slices sashimi so that freshness is ensured. While the rice of sushi is a little too chewy for my liking, the three types of sashimi–salmon, yellow tail and tuna–are decent. There are other cooked Japanese food, such as tako balls.
4. Singaporean Hawker Food: At the end of the Japanese section, there is a small corner where a chef stands to cook small portions of classic Singaporean hawker food at a time, hot from the frying pan, such as char kway teow, fried carrot cake and hokkien prawn noodles. I tried a bit of char kway teow and thought it was too chewy. Saw the chef cook fried carrot cake, smelled heavenly, but when I returned, it was gone.
5. Hot Dishes Section
The hot dishes included Singapore chili crab (with mantou!!), slipper lobsters, sambal prawns, curry mutton, fried rice, the biggest steamed grouper I’ve ever seen and other items.
The dishes that need improvement are the curry mutton (too tough) and chili crab as the gravy can be thicker. But overall, not a bad section. I enjoyed the slipper lobsters and steamed grouper. It is rare to have steamed fish at buffets because steamed fish needs to be fresh and cannot be left too long on the table. So this is a risk that Ellenborough takes and it pays off handsomely. The visual stimulation is magnificent.
My favorite station! Although the quintessential Peranakan dish, Ayam Buah Keluk, is a bit dry, the thing within the nut has already been taken out for you! OMG! It’s a bowl of it there, and you can just eat it like you eat ice cream!! (Usually people eat it with rice, for you angmoh pai out there.)
Every dish is so good in this section! A chef, stationed here, specially prepares the kueh pie tee. He puts a bit of radish first, then in the middle, he puts prawn and other ingredients, and topped it up with more radish. So when you bite into it, there is a layer of tastes and textures, especially with the crackling shell. Awesome!
Another dish I enjoyed very much is the curry pork. More coconut than curry powder, the pork just melts in the mouth. So fat, so good!
There are also desserts at this Peranakan section, including some kuehs but seriously, go for the durian pengat. It is so fragrantly smelly I was apprehensive to eat this in front of people who dislike durians. So smooth, it’s just pure de-shelled durian paste. So good. I get sick every time I eat durian but I ate two big bowls anyway!
Besides traditional soups and Singaporean desserts such as peanut cream, mango sago pomelo, bo bo cha cha, chendol etc, there are also western desserts, cakes, creme brulee, tiramisu, etc. In general, for the desserts, ignore the watery stuff, go for the confectionary, the cakes which are surprisingly and amazingly soft and airy.
All in all, a satisfactory experience.
Price for buffet:
Weekday Lunch: Adult: $38++; Child: $19++
Weekday Dinner: Adult: $48++; Child: $24++
Weekend Lunch: Adult: $48++; Child: $24++
Weekend Dinner: Adult: $52++; Child: $26++
Rating: 2.938/5 kueh pie tee
PS: We thank Hanli, Yuani, and Christine for the food tasting.