If variety is the spice of life, you definitely can live it up with a buffet meal. It’s a favourite fixture in the Singapore dining scene. Plus buffets are a very social thing as good food begets good company. I did a poll with a group of friends asking them if they would enjoy a buffet meal on their own. The unanimous answer is, “No. Go alone for a buffet? Very boring. You must enjoy a buffet in a group, at least three people”.
So last Saturday, my friends and I went to the Vienna International Seafood & Teppanyaki Buffet Restaurant at United Square for a lunch buffet. Before this I had done a little research with some regular buffet kakis who recommended Vienna not only for its proximity to the Novena MRT Station but also its good value and friendly price tag too.
The service staff was friendly and helpful and the eatery provided a good first impression as there was a wide spread, ranging from the regular menu like the Hong Kong dim sum, the shashimi, the large and juicy oysters and scallops, a good spread of western delights, supported by some local favourites like salads, gado gado, rojak and not forgetting the wide variety of soups. So far, so good. Finally, there were also many dessert choices. They range from local fruits to pastries, the cheese cake and the green tea ice-cream being some of their more popular desserts..
Calling on all durian lovers! Their fried durians are fantastic and were a hot delicacy among diners. Within 5 minutes of rolling them out, all were snatched up. We were told the next batch due out could take up to an hour’s wait. The batter was just right and the durian not overly cooked. The pungent smell of the durian was not overly power so you can still get to enjoy its texture. The restaurant does not allow dabao for the fried durians. According to the staff, the durian must be eaten hot. Long exposure to inappropriate temperature would lose its flavour and crispness. At the end of three and the half hours, we paid $37 each. For the spread, it’s worth every cent.
My friend is a regular at The Line at the Shangrila Hotel. He indulges in buffets and would visit the restaurant about six times a year. The uniqueness of this restaurant is that they do not entertain walk-ins, hence, diners must book about three days in advance. However, if you like al fresco dining, a reservation is not required.
Chefs are stationed on sites to cater to special requests. You can visit 16 culinary stations to satisfy your appetite.
At the Italian station, you can choose from a wide selection of pastas. At your request, they can be prepared in different flavours like sun dried, spinach or squid ink. Choose your favourite sauce from tomato/bolognaise/cream/pesto. In addition, you can satisfy your appetite by adding bacon, ham, garlic, mushrooms, etc. You can also pick up a selection of lasagnes and pizzas on the counter!
If Italian food is not your cup of tea, check out the Japanese station offering genuine Japanese food including sashimi. The chef would slice the sashimi upon your order to ensure its freshness.
Unlimited supplies of oysters, crab pincers, scallops on the half shells with the occasional appearance of crayfish can meet anyone’s insatiable expectations of all things raw at the cold seafood section.
You need not worry that buffets do not cater to healthy eating. Veggie lovers can delight in the wide varieties of salads, including rojak (Singapore salad), smoked salmon, ikan bilis, parmesan cheese with your choice of salad dressings. You can either request the help of the staff to prepare you a delicious Caesar salad or feel free to help yourself.
A turntable of local favourites filled with ‘har gao’, ‘siew mai’, ‘pao’, chicken feet. The dim sum comes along with stir fried items like oyster omelette and vegetables – for those who prefer a lighter appetite. Who says grandpa and grandma can’t enjoy a nice buffet too?
In the Malay and Indian section of the buffet spread, there are tandoori, satay and roti prata. My adventurous friend tells me dipping the roti prata into the bolognaise sauce creates a new food in his category, which brings us to other local favourites like the roast duck, wanton mee, laksa and soup noodle. The roast duck is a must try and scores a 4 star rating out of 5 to his otherwise fussy taste buds.
To round up this incredible meal, there are desserts from both the east and the west. Apart from serving ice-cream the Cold Stone Creamery way, you can indulge in a chocolate fountain in which skewered marshmallows, cookies, strawberries are dipped to enhance tastes. Local kuehs and crepes are being served for a touch of local desserts.
Mini crème Brulee, pannacotta, macarons and cakes are some western desserts not forgetting the tiramisu in a glass to toast to the end of a fulfilling buffet.
These are but a few of the food varieties. Visit them to enjoy the whole spread. I am told there is a candy station wwith a fountain of candies for kids to wild their time away. The candies here aren’t too sweet with a good spread of chocolate sauces to satisfy their sweet tooth.
Topping up your glass is the last thing on your mind. The staff here are constantly on their toes and attention to detail. When they overlook on weekends due to good business, a reminder would usually be accompanied with a smile, glasses get filled up promptly.
The cheerful ambience draws many people to linger on with the downside being awfully loud and incomprehensible music being played. If you are looking for a romantic date, then, this place is a no go zone.
This is the dinner menu and drinks are not included, except for tea and coffee. For $66 to $88, you can satisfy your craving for a fantastic buffet. Thursday has been set aside for the special seafood buffet night. Call the restaurant to check before visiting in case of any changes. Enjoy your meal!