Sunday, December 17, 2017

Tsukiji Fish Market Restaurant Review (Orchard Central Singapore)

👍 Wide range of Japanese food types under one roof means that there's something for everyone.
👎 Doesn't live up to the "Tsukiji" name; Food's generally just mediocre.

Right off the bat, let's get this out of the way: Tsukiji Fish Market Restaurant (Orchard Central) is in no way related to the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. But of course you knew that already.

What the Restaurant lacks in a legitimate link to the fish market, it makes up for in variety, though: It's sort of a "dining hall" concept with a few different kitchens offering up different types of Japanese cuisine. There's a sushi/sashimi kitchen, a tempura kitchen, a steak kitchen, a ramen kitchen and an omakase (sushi) kitchen. Naturally, you can order from any of the kitchens, making a huge variety of Japanese cuisine available. In theory, having dedicated kitchens for each cuisine type should improve food quality, so let's have a closer look!

Tsukiji Fish Market Restaurant Singapore

From the aforementioned Tsukiji Fish Market, we order their flagship 7-kinds sashimi boat (s$39.80). The boat comes with generously-portioned slices of the usual suspects - salmon, akami (tuna), swordfish and yellowtail - and some slightly more imaginative morsels of scallops, uni (sea urchin) and prawn. Overall we quite liked the balance between price, quality, portion size and choice of fish. The akami, especially, was quite a bit better than what you normally get with lower end sushi / sashimi places.

Tsukiji Fish Market Restaurant Singapore Sashimi Boat

Our choices went a little downhill from there, though. We ordered a Wagyu Roast Beef Donburi (s$18.80) from the Steak kitchen's menu, and it was a mediocre mess of seemingly low-grade, insufficiently seasoned roast beef. Although I did quite like the ponzu-based sauce.

Tsukiji Fish Market Restaurant Singapore Roast Beef Donburi

The Ebi Anago Tempura Donburi (Tendon, s$18.80) was similarly mediocre. Although the ingredients used were pretty good, and the tempura technique wasn't bad - just the right balance of flour, with the right amount of crisp - the bowl was really lacking in flavour due to the chef's stinginess with the sauce (as you can probably see from the photo). The number of items - prawn, fish, sea eel, etc - you get with the bowl makes it pretty good value, though!

Tsukiji Fish Market Restaurant Singapore Tempura Donburi

To conclude, Tsukiji Fish Market Restaurant (again, no relation to the fish market in Tokyo) serves up a large variety of so-so food. It's probably not the best choice along Orchard Road if you've got a craving for a specific Japanese Food type (for example Ramen), but if you're in a large group, the restaurant might be good enough to satisfy (barely) everyone's palettes.

Tsukiji Fish Market Restaurant is on the 12th Floor of Orchard Central (take a lift to the 11th floor and then an escalator to the 12th). Reservations not accepted. Non-halal.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Seafood from the Heart: The Kitchen Table's Dinner Buffet Review (W Hotel Sentosa)

👍 Wide range of seafood and seafood-themed dishes and cuisines. Food's generally pretty good!
👎 Location's inconvenient with no wheels. A little pricey at s$88++ per person.

The Kitchen Table is W Hotel Singapore's buffet / all purpose restaurant, serving up breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch (on weekends). On Friday - Sunday nights their dinner goes ocean-themed with their "Seafood from the Heart" buffet spread. It's a pretty expensive dinner, so without further ado let's see if the food justifies the s$103.58 per person (after service charge and taxes) price tag!

Seafood Dinner buffet Kitchen Table W Hotel Singapore

The cold seafood station is small, but makes up for it with a solid variety of alaskan king crab, prawns, mussels, lobster, crab claws, and langoustine / scampi. The Friday night dining crowd is sparse, which means that there's plenty of each to go around.

Seafood Dinner buffet Kitchen Table W Hotel Singapore Cold Seafood

The neighbouring sushi station does quadruple duty with oysters, a whole poached salmon, and ceviche mixed up a la minute as well. The sushi is pretty crappy, and the salmon's a little plain, but the ceviche's mixed up to order so you can tell the chef to adjust the condiments to your tastes.

Seafood Dinner buffet Kitchen Table W Hotel Singapore Salmon and Sushi

Salad and cold cuts are pretty par for the course for hotel restaurant buffets, with a decent variety of smoked fish, ham, salmon gravadlax, air-dried beef, etc.

Seafood Dinner buffet Kitchen Table W Hotel Singapore Salad and Cold Cuts

The indian station was one of the better ones, in our opinions, serving up tandoori lobsters and a whole tandoori red snapper in addition to the normal spread of briyanis, dhalls, curries and assorted breads. The snapper, being a large fish, has somewhat firm, but delicious-tasting flesh. We also really enjoyed the tandoori lobsters, flavoured and cooked to perfection!

Seafood Dinner buffet Kitchen Table W Hotel Singapore Tandoori Snapper

The hot food line has decent, if not mind-blowing, variety, with around a dozen or so different dishes including a whole salmon, black pepper dungeness crab, baked lobsters with cheese and sambal stingray. The overall taste of the dishes were pretty good, but quality suffers from the fact that the dining room is less then half full: People aren't eating the food quickly enough, so it gets left out for a long time. Long enough, in fact, for some dishes to actually cool down to almost room temperature!

Seafood Dinner buffet Kitchen Table W Hotel Singapore Whole Salmon

No such problem with the baked lobsters with cheese sauce, of course: It's one of the few dishes that gets snapped up pretty quickly after each replenish.

Seafood Dinner buffet Kitchen Table W Hotel Singapore Lobster with Cheese

There's also a noodles & dim-sum station. We tried both: The laksa which pretty damn good; but the dim sum was over-steamed and limp and soggy.

Seafood Dinner buffet Kitchen Table W Hotel Singapore Noodles

The final desserts station has a chocolate fountain, and individual-sized portions of assorted cakes, desserts, macarons, cookies and a surprisingly wide variety of nyonya kuih. We quite like that even the cakes are individually-portioned, so you don't get the aesthetic problems of serving a full sized cake (and then having the guests really mess it up).

Seafood Dinner buffet Kitchen Table W Hotel Singapore Desserts

Overall, we really liked the abundance of seafood available throughout the whole buffet line, and also some of the novel (to us, anyway) flavours like the tandoori lobster. What we didn't really like was some of the hot dishes being left out on the line for way too long. We also thought that while the food was generally "not bad," there weren't really any standout "oh so delicious" dishes. To us, we think it's a little much to ask a diner to drive (or UberGrab) all the way out to Sentosa Cove, and pay a hundred bucks for this dinner, when there are countless other hotel buffets in Singapore that are better, cheaper, more convenient, or all three.

Seafood Dinner buffet Kitchen Table W Hotel Singapore

The Kitchen Table is at W Hotel Sentosa Cove. For reservations, call up +65 6808 7268 or email Non-halal.