17th June 2014
Written by Liang Wei.
Xin Li and I were invited to a food tasting session at Plaza Brasserie at PARKROYAL on Beach Road to sample some of the crab dishes and general buffet items. The main draw of the buffet was the immense variety of preparing crabs in flavours such as Marmite and Dang Gui.
There was also a selection of cold seafood items, such as snow crab and spanner crab, along with the usual suspects like green mussels and tiger prawns. I was not particularly enthused about the spanner crab that I had, whose meat was pretty mushy and only mildly sweet. Xin Li enjoyed his claw of Snow Crab from the Seafood on Ice section. The Snow Crab’s texture was okay and had a mild sweetness to it.
Seafood on Ice
Spicy Crabmeat Salad
Apart from the cold seafood items, there were also other appetisers, such as the Crabmeat Tartlet and Spicy Crabmeat Salad. We found the salad fairly pedestrian although it was pretty refreshing. What impressed us more was the canape-style tartlet, which was a delectable mix of shredded crabmeat, shallots, red chilli and chopped coriander, topped with roe.
Freshly shucked, decently sized oysters were also available. However, they lacked depth of flavour as I could not taste any sweetness or saltiness in the flesh.
A peek at the general buffet items... The deep-fried salmon cubes, dried squid slices and scallops stewed with assorted peppers were of noteworthy quality.
The items on the buffet line are decent, especially for the appetisers and hot main courses. Both Xin Li and I quite liked the Scallops in XO Sauce that was available that night.
On to (a selection of pictures of ) the main stars of the show...
Black Pepper Crab
Salted Egg Crab
Nonetheless, it is still an international buffet rather than a specialized tze-char restaurant or seafood restaurant; the emphasis is quite clearly on the variety and giving you great value by offering crabs as part of the buffet (and done a la minute, served to your table as a whole). With food prepared for a huge crowd, one should not expect too much.
However, the crabs were pretty fresh and taking both the quality of crabs and buffet variety into account, it is better than Spices Café's Harvest of the Sea Buffet.
We thought that most of the flavours were more gimmicky than anything else and we did not really think fanciful flavours such as Marmite or Dang Gui or XO did the crab dishes much justice. I was also similarly unimpressed by the Crab Kut Teh which had neither the sweetness of the crab nor the peppery punch of (white) bak kut teh. I would have preferred that, for a dish containing both delicate and brash flavours, a balance be achieved and that both flavours be tasted distinctly. Xin Li regarded the Crab Kut Teh as a nice innovation, albeit one that was rather mild relative to an actual bah kut teh. He thought that it could have been a good thing if one prefers to have a milder, cleaner crab dish amid all the gravy-laden alternatives. Another lighter-tasting alternative is the Dang Gui Crab.
My personal favourites were the Cereal Crab and Salted Egg Crab. (Classic flavours, yes, I know.) The Cereal Crab had nice and crunchy oatmeal which was delicious to munch on. That said, you can get that at any tze-char stall worth its salt. The Salted Egg Crab was particularly memorable in that the gravy was not too heavy in taste and was perfumed by the aromatic curry leaves. I also liked that the salted egg gravy was thickened by condensed milk to give a sticky sweetness that one would not normally find at other places. Xin Li also raved about the Nonya Crab and the Black Pepper Crab for the intense flavours.
Crab Kut Teh
General buffet dessert selection
The highlight of the meal for me was the 'live' meringue cooking station that was available for the night. Unlike traditional meringues, the meringues at Plaza Brasserie was made by cooking them in liquid nitrogen! I liked the tingling sensation that came with letting the meringue sublime away in my mouth to release hints of lime and sugar. The only downside to that was the cold burn on the tongue, that kept me from tasting much for a few minutes.
Here are some of the crabs available on their crab counter which is done in an a la carte buffet style:
Bak Kut The Crab
Salted Egg Crab
Steamed Crab with Tang Gui
The promotion is on from 13th June to 27th July, 2014 for dinners priced at 65++ SGD per adult and 39++ SGD per child. UOB, DBS, ANZ, CIMB, OCBC, MayBank, Diners Club cardholders can enjoy a 15% discount during the promotion.
As of 18th June, Plaza Brasserie has full occupancy for the entire month of June and weekends of July. Vacancies are only available for weekday dinner reservations in July!
Parkroyal on Beach Road
7500A Beach Road,
#04-301 The Plaza, Singapore 199591
Thank You Siew Leng and Joline for the invitation and hospitality!