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Mum and I were out on a Sunday evening to visit Buffet Town, upon recommendation by her friend. Honestly I wasn’t feeling too excited about it because I didn’t enjoy my previous visit to Shokudo Japanese Food Bazaar, the restaurant occupying the same spot in Raffles City before transforming to Buffet Town, managed by Shokudo Concepts. On my first visit to Shokudo Japanese Food Bazaar, quite a number of food items were sold out by early evening and they’re using ready-to-cook sauces for their dishes which I reckon I can cook it at home if I buy the same sauces from the supermarket. Visiting Buffet Town will be an eventful one as I will get to try out some of the food items which will also be available at Kiseki Japanese Buffet Restaurant and Heng Heng Curry Cafe, all under the same restaurant group.
We arrived around five plus in the evening to queue since we didn’t make any reservations and there were two queues forming outside the restaurant. According to the signboard at the entrance of the restaurant, those who made reservations can start making payment at 6pm and enter the restaurant for their meal and those who didn’t make reservations will have to wait till 6:15pm. That’s fine, I’m prepared to wait. By 6pm, the cashiers opened and that’s when the chaos began. There are two cashiers on duty with two other supervisors who will inform the wait staff about the table number to escort the customers to their table upon settlement of their bill. Apparently they were very slow and had issues handling the long queue of customers waiting to enter the restaurant. After taking a long time to settle payment at the cashier, the customers have to wait for the supervisor to allocate the table so groups of people are standing at the entrance of the restaurant. You can imagine the noise level of the crowd. What makes me frustrated is not the waiting part but having to see two sad (or should I say grumpy) looking cashiers, one poker faced supervisor and her angry looking colleague servicing the customers at the entrance. When its our time to settle the bill, we get to see the sad looking cashier. Though she sounds polite but she doesn’t smile at all. As for the supervisor that allocate table, she merely stamp on our hands and doesn’t greet us at all. When we exit the restaurant, the staff at the entrance bid us goodbye but they still look so sad and tired.
Thankfully the staff in the restaurant look happier. The waitress who escorted us to our table greeted us with a smile which cheers me up. I really needed that smile from her because I’ve been feeling quite pissed for the past 30 minutes since we started queueing.
The food counters are scattered over the restaurant so customers have to walk around the restaurant to hunt for the food that they want to try. Seafood counter is located near the entrance which is a good thing as this is the only food counter that you should focus on if you decide to visit Buffet Town. The seafood are fresh and the selection of prawns, crayfish, oysters, crab should be able to satisfy the seafood lovers. Another food counter located near the entrance is the Japanese food section. Honestly I wasn’t too impressed with the variety of Japanese food. The sushi doesn’t look very appetising except for the crab sushi which I tried.
Decided to skip the pasta section whereby customers get their own ingredients such as bacon, prawns, sliced mushrooms to go with their selected pasta and sauce (tomato, cream or aglio olio). Walked past the roast section and the roast for the night is wagyu beef but I have to give it a miss since I can’t eat too much red meat. There are some side dishes to go with the roast such as snake beans and roasted potatoes. So I went to the next food counter which is the western food section and got a bit of everything on my plate.
Oven baked fish – The fish is not overcooked and the flavors aren’t that outstanding. There were only two slices left when I visit the food section. The dish was only replenished after 15 minutes.
Roasted Cajun chicken – The chicken is nicely roasted and remain juicy. It is well flavored and I enjoy it very much.
Pork wieners – It taste all right, nothing much to comment on it.
BBQ pork chop – This is replenished rather quickly. Nicely done, the pork chop remains juicy but I don’t quite like the BBQ sauce, I find it a tad too tangy.
Chips – Only a bit left but was replenished promptly. Not soggy. Can’t really fault those factory made chips. I have a bag of it in my freezer.
I’m rather disappointed after stuffing down these mediocre tasting food, time to proceed to the next food section – Weekend Nasi Lemak. Not too sure if it is only available during the weekends but it sure captured my attention.Nasi Lemak
Sambal Telur – Didn’t get the chilli egg, it is uncovered and left in the open for quite some time. My stomach is weak and I don’t want to upset my stomach.
Achar – Didn’t look appetizing so I didn’t take.
Nyonya prawns and pineapple curry – Didn’t try it too, I can’t eat too much seafood. Looks appetizing though.
Sayur Lodeh – When I lifted the lid, there aren’t much be vegetables left! Only chunks of cabbage and some snake beans. It’s 6:45pm and the dish wasn’t replenished! The chefs manning the food section were happily chatting. Didn’t see them replenishing the food for quite some time. It is slightly salty and the gravy is very watery. The fragrance of the curry paste and coconut milk is very light.
Chicken curry – Same situation as vegetable curry. This were only three pieces of chicken and some potato left. I only took one bite size chicken to try. This curry is salty.
Nasi lemak – I’m pretty sure more coconut milk and pandan leaves can be added to the rice. No fragrance from the pandan leaves and coconut milk and the rice are very hard and dry while being kept warm in the rice cooker.
Sambal chilli – This seemed to be prepared by an amateur chef, it is neither spicy nor fragrant and it is quite salty.
Ikan bilis – The fried anchovies are crispy and fragrant. This is the only side dish that I like in this food section.
I decided to explore the drink section. Located at the back of the restaurant, there are drinks dispenser for the usual selection of soft drink, plain water, soy milk, grape drink and lemonade. Also, there is a drink section that serves local hot beverages such as the different types of kopi (coffee) and teh (tea). After getting a glass of lemonade to tantalise my taste buds, I proceed on to the other side of the restaurant to explore the remaining food counters. First food section that I saw on the other side is the tempura food section. There is the popular tempura and a selection of fried vegetables in tempura batter. Sad to see that only the tempura prawns have an adequate supply while the vegetables tempura only have a few pieces left. Didn’t grab any of those tempura as they look as if they’ve been left there for quite some time.
I went back to my seat and mum got us a plate of the chilli crab and fried Chinese buns (mantou).
The chilli crab tasted okay, nothing really fantastic about the sauce and I was hoping to get the burst of flavors from the sauce.
Rojak - Yet again, this rojak is a letdown. The prawn paste used in the salad dressing is a tad too much so the taste is overpowering. The chef failed to get a right balance of flavors for the dressing and the fried dough (you tiao) is soggy. The chopped peanuts should be roasted for a longer duration so that the fragrance of the peanuts can be released. Sad to say Buffet Town’s version of rojak failed my criteria of a tasty rojak.
Chicken soup - This double boiled chicken soup is rather bland, there is a piece of chicken and white fungus. Very light tasting soup and I reckon the white fungus can be sliced into a smaller piece (bite size) because it makes it more convenient for the customers to eat, especially the children and the senior citizens.
Hainanese Chicken Rice - Finally a dish that I like! The rice is moist and I can taste the wonderful flavors of the chicken broth and pandan leaves. Maybe the chef who prepares the nasi lemak needs a crash course with the chef who prepared this delicious chicken rice. The steamed chicken is juicy and tender, just the perfect chicken to go with the rice. I enjoyed this dish very much!
More local delight!
Fried carrot cake – Hmmm… the carrot cake doesn’t taste awful but it is definitely not tasty at all. How should I describe this dish, it taste like carrot cake and omelette.
Stir-fried choy sum – It taste like vegetables with some Chinese style sticky sauce. I can’t really fault vegetables, I love it!
Fried rice – Thank god! This is the third rice dish that I had for the night and it taste good. I like how the chef has chopped up the salted duck egg yolk and adding it into the fried rice. It creates a wonderful mix of flavors and enhance the dimension of the fragrance to the flavors of the egg. The fried rice is a nice dish to end my tasting of savory dishes for the night.
Time to proceed to the dessert section!
There are a wide variety of desserts ranging from jellies, ice-cream, waffles, cakes, waffles and Chinese sweet soup.
Coffee cream cake – The cake is very soft and not too sweet, it reminds me of the cream cakes that mum bought for me when I was a boy. Nostalgic.
Strawberry cake – The strawberry cream is very tangy and I don’t really like it. But this is one cake suitable for those who don’t like eating sweet stuff.
Chocolate brownie – I am a chocoholic and I enjoyed it very much.
Goreng pisang (fried banana fritter) – It has become a little soggy so the texture is similar to that of a cream puff.
Apple jelly – It taste like apple flavored JELL-O.
Grass jelly – I enjoyed it as it helps to clean my palate.
Cheng tng (refreshing soup) is Mum’s favorite Chinese dessert but both of us don’t like Buffet Town’s version at all! It is a tad too sweet for us.
There is quantity in the selection of food but there is no quality in the taste of the food! One big issue for Buffet Town is that the speed at which the food is being replenished was incredibly slow and some dishes are not replenished at all during the two hours that I was dining there. There are also no plates at some of the food sections.
Date of Visit: 2012-10-26