My birthday (May 10) this year happened to fall on Mother’s Day (Sunday). To avoid clashing with the hordes, hubby treated me to an advance celebratory buffet dinner on Friday evening at Cafebiz, Traders Hotel.
Either there were other families who were celebrating Mother’s Day in advance, or the buffet at Cafebiz is popular, cos it was full house!
Like any other self-respecting Singaporean, our buffet strategy was: Attack the seafood counter first, load up on meat items, avoid fillers like rice and bread, and save space for desserts!
There was quite a decent selection of chilled seafood. The scallops and mussels were tiny, but the oysters were fresh and HUGE!
The Boston lobster, crab claws, and scallops were significantly smaller than those at MELT. Quite tough as well! Overcooked, perhaps?
I wasn’t impressed with the Japanese selection at all. The sushi rice was dry and grainy, and the cha soba sauce wasn’t tasty at all. Only sashimi available was salmon, which I didn’t try cos I don’t like raw fish.
There’s a Chinese roast meats carvery station. Pretty decent stuff, with crispy crackling and relatively juicy meats. Unfortunately the roast duck was a bit too salty.
The DIY kueh pie tee station was very popular. Quite a lot of condiments available, like prawn, chicken, and crushed peanuts. The overall taste of the kueh pie tee was not bad. But the turnip and cabbage stuffing could have been more robust in flavor.
I’ve never had high expectations for buffet dim sum, like the har gow whose skin tore too easily. But the chicken siew mai was surprisingly good, with smooth and springy meat.
I know what I said about staying off fillers, but I just can’t resist fried Hokkien prawn mee! Furthermore, this was a freshly cooked batch.
Though bordering on being salty, this was really flavorful. I like!
By now, I was getting full, no thanks to the sushi, which was a complete waste of tummy space.
For the Western hot foods, the good stuff was the oxtail stew (so rich and tender!), Dory with lemon cream sauce, and baked potato in butter sauce.
Just average were the breaded chicken fillet (with a strange-tasting sauce), breaded mushroom, spaghetti with tomato sauce, and mixed veggies.
The Asian dishes scored more hits than their Western counterparts. Every item was delicious: stir-fried pork with black fungus, spring onion and ginger fish, stir-fried kailan, and pineapple rice.
But the best was the chilli crab! The sweet-spicy, tomato-ey chilli sauce was absolutely addictive! Pity they used such small crabs. It was a pain getting the crab meat out. Still, I went back for another helping!
There was quite a lot of stuff I skipped: cold appetizers (only about 4 items), DIY salad bar, soup, bread bar, cheese platter (pathetic selection), roast beef, and Indian grilled meats and naans. There was also a passador who came round with grilled meats on a skewer, a ala churrascaria.
Ok, on to desserts!
Upon closer scrutiny, the pastries selection isn’t that remarkable, in terms of both quality and quantity.
These three mini cakes were so forgettable I don’t even remember what they were.
I was surprised to see quite a number of mousse and puddings featured. Rich and bitter, the chocolate mousse was excellent. On the other hand, the mango pudding tasted artificial. The raspberry mousse was just so-so.
There’s just one word to describe the durian pengat: phenomenal. Yes, it was the only dessert that blew me away! No wonder I didn’t see it on my numerous trips to the dessert counter. Luckily, I managed to grab one shooter glass when they brought out a final batch!
I can’t remember if that’s creme caramel next to the durian pengat, but it was pretty good too.
The ice cream selection has about 6 or 8 tropical flavors, like durian and mango. Of the three I tried, my favorite was the coffee ice cream.
There’s also DIY ice kachang, which I skipped. I wanted to save space for the chocolate buffet, but unfortunately, they had already stopped topping up the dipping items like strawberries and marshmallows. In fact, they stopped topping up many of the desserts after 9pm. I thought that’s kinda mean, especially since the buffet closes at 10pm, and there are late-comers or slow eaters like me who hadn’t started on the desserts.
In the end, I only tried the chocolate buffet with a piece of left-over waffle (very thin and hard) and a couple of strawberries which were garnish that I “stole” from the cheese platter!
Final thoughts: There’s a little of everything, like Western, Japanese, Indian, and Chinese dishes, but with an emphasis on local cuisine. Although not very comprehensive in variety, it was sufficient for me. However, certain items could certainly have been better executed. The wait staff were very efficient, quickly clearing our plates once we finished.
With our credit card, there was 10% discount off the bill. I also found out later that some other credit cards have this “3 dines for the price of 2” promotion. Wonder if this could have affected the quality of the buffet?
Here’s a shot taken by hubby who was playing with our camera. It’s a cold appetizer of melon and ham. It looks far more impressive than it tastes.
Cafebiz’s dinner buffet is priced at $50++ per person.
1A Cuscaden Road
Tel: (65) 6831 4374