The Carvery at Park Hotel Alexandra | A Sunday Roast Buffet Done Well

This was an invited tasting. 
Written by Mu Yao
1st Sept 2015

Singapore is such a buffet nation. It's one of those things that we are all so enamoured about, but as a food blogger, it's kind of sian because all these international buffets are a dime and a dozen. So many "concepts", but the offerings always end up being more or less the same. So imagine my delight when The Carvery announced that its buffet offerings were centred around a "Sunday Roast". Yay. Yorkshire puddings, english trifles and slabs of beef prime rib come to mind. Like a scene out of Nigella's TV shows. *inserts seductive 'mmm' sound*

Before the dinner, the very kind Siew Leng from Park Hotel took me and my dining companion around the pool, which had lovely views around the Alexandra neighbourhood. Seen here is the infinity edge pool, with a swim up poolside bar. Snazzy. 

The Interlace seen from here. 

For a 4-star plus hotel, I would say this was a pretty nice pool that beats some of the other more established 5-star establishments in other prime locations. There was a poolside function that day, the Swarovski dinner and dance function. Nice place to have a office function. 

Okay, now back indoors and back to the food. We were told of the highly raved Yorkshire Puddings, and there was a light fragrance that filled the roasting station as we approached it. It was crispy and fluffy just like it should be. 

Pork Knuckle.
I found the pork knuckle too dry, even though the skin was crackled perfectly. The flavour was definitely there. Maybe it was because the one I had in Germany during my exchange was basted in beer as it was roasted. I'm guessing it wasn't here. 

From left to right: beef tenderloin, NZ lamb, and beef prime rib. 
The other cuts of meat were much better thankfully. The tender lamb absorbed the flavours of the herb mixture (forgot what it was, egad!), and goes well with the mint jelly that was also on offer. The gamey taste wasn't too strong, which is good news for those of you generally averse to mutton.

Beef Tenderloin. Got beef?
The beef tenderloin (US Angus Beef) was wonderfully pink and tender, roasted to a perfect medium rare. The marbling was fairly even with a nice amount of fat in it. This went perfectly with the anchovy butter and red wine jus. For the adventurous, I also tried it with the black lava salt, and it was brilliant. The meat is dry-aged in house, which makes the meat more tender and flavourful, so this is a definite must-try for all carnivores/meat-lovers here.

Roast Prime Rib
The star of the show was probably the prime rib. Again, this was dry aged. For those of you asking what dry-aging means, it's a process where you dry out some of the moisture in the protein/muscle strands of the meat, making the meat taste more buttery and savoury (got more of the umami flavour). In this process, because some of the enzymes holding the muscle strands are broken down, the meat also becomes more tender. 

The prime rib went excellently with the veal jus (as recommended by Siew Ling), although my dining companion said it went really well with the Truffle butter and the pink himalayan salt. You can try both and then let me know ;)

The carving station also had an impressive selection of condiments to go with the meats, with everything including horseradish sauce, many types of mustards, red wine/veal jus, and even 5 different types of salt (including an smoky tasting black lava salt that I tried). Other exotic salts on offer: pink himalayan, chill sea salt, maldon sea salt. Special mention goes to the butters that were on offer: anchovy and truffle. While the truffle might please most truffle lovers, I would say that the anchovy butter takes the cake for the better umami taste that lingers in one's mouth, enhancing the full-bodied taste of the meats. I think it goes especially well with the prime rib. 

Suggested pairings: 
Red Wine Jus (personal preference) with the beef, although the PR folks recommended the veal. 

Chicken goes well with veal/chicken jus, but it's actually good enough to be eaten on its own, being brined for 24 hours before going into the roast. You can try the chilli sea salt to break the savoury richness, or it can even go with the truffle butter (which is less salty tasting than the anchovy one). 

I apologise for not having a shot of the great rotisserie chicken, because it's really one of the best roast chickens I've ever had. The muscle fibres weren't sinewy and were properly held together, with a high amount of chicken jus inside to make the meat moist. For those of you who have beef against beef, you won't miss out because of you having the chicken. 

Just in case you're feeling overwhelmed at the amount of meat that's thrown your way, there's a nice salad section with a good variety of dressings. Including choices of olive oil. A nice touch. 

The French oysters, mussels and prawns consisted of the very small fresh seafood section, should you find meats not your thing. (WHY? And you come to a restaurant like "The Carvery"?) While mostly fresh, I found them nothing to write home about. But as with most things in life, it's good to have choices hor? 

Speaking of seafood, the seafood stew (I think it's a bouillabaisse) with a tomato base wasn't too bad, although I personally would have liked it to be a little bit sweeter and less tart. But then again, it's just me. It seemed like a popular dish though, as it was replaced pretty frequently. 

I liked the Lamb Stew that they had. There wasn't the awful gamey taste, and goes well with the butter rice they had on offer that day. It was rich and flavourful.

There was a nice lightly poached salmon that was bought out that day by special request. It had a nice creamy beurre blanc sauce (a white butter sauce reduced with white wine), fennel and capers. This was not too bad. 

Ah, then there was this latin-american inspired black bean pork stew. I loved this one as it tasted really homely. Lightly seasoned with what seems to be cayenne pepper, the pork had a salty richness that settled in nicely with the black beans, lingering in your mouth, igniting a warm feeling in your tummy. Great addition to the extensive lineup of cooked food. 

The polenta fries were great for anyone who thought that the creamy mashed potatoes were a wee bit too gelak, because of their relative lightness compared to the dense potatoes. I thought it was a nice offering to the accompanying sides in a sunday roast. 

Of course, more conservative offerings like long beans, garlic mushrooms and creamy cauliflower gratin were also on offer. I liked the way the cauliflower gratin tasted, as it had a nice balance of milky richness without being too heavy at the same time. I just wished that it could be a wee bit saltier, but there's all those exotic salts you can add to this if you would prefer. 

Sorry for the colour. I couldn't correct this under the horrendous incandescent light. 

Another thing worth mentioning is the fresh breads and pizza that were made to order. I had a simple napoleon pizza which was good, and the crust was a somewhat thin crust (but not Skinny Pizza kind of thin?) which caters to most Singaporean palettes I figured. Liberal dosages of cheese. They also make their breads to order too. There's a chilli bread which tasted pretty good so try it if you still have space in your tummy. 

Right, there's also a made-to-order pasta station here, so if you want EVEN MORE CARBS, go crazy. 

Cheese board of cheddar, brie, some soft, lava-like cheese (the round white one) and camembert. Because very european, must have cheese after heavy meal. Not too bad in general, although I would have preferred this to go with table waters. But that's just me. 

What's a good Sunday roast without a nice English Trifle? This was probably one of the best trifles I've ever had in Singapore. The sponge was well-soaked in a sweet alcohol, which I think it may be rum or sherry. It was melded together with a nice variety of berries (raspberry, strawberries and the like), their tartness balancing the sweet cream. 

The apple crumble was no slouch either, with a great vanilla custard sauce to accompany it. The apples were wonderfully caramelized, with raisins and a pretty sweet crumble crust topping it. This will definitely appeal to those with a sweet tooth. Some may find it too sweet though.
I seldom say this, but for once, I would strongly recommend this hearty and fulfilling buffet. Buffets in Singapore are normally plagued with exciting varieties of exotic ingredients, but with mediocre offerings aplenty amidst them. While The Carvery has a few misses here and there (like the forgettable seafood, but then again nobody eats seafood on a sunday roast), they are insignificant considering its core culinary concept: the Sunday Roast. It delivers very highly on this count, with very pleasant and comforting surroundings to dine in as well. The price is fair considering the excellent desserts and the good cuts of premium meat on offer. 

This place left me fulfilled and satisfied. Nothing like a good Sunday roast to please yours truly. 

I'm sold. 

Special thanks to Jeanette and Siew Leng for the kind invite. 

The Carvery
Park Hotel Alexandra
323 Alexandra Road
Level 7
Singapore 159972

Tel: +65 6828 8880

Open daily 12pm-3pm (lunch); 6pm-10pm (dinner).

$38++ for lunch;
$52++ for dinner from Sun to Thurs
$62++ for dinner on Fri & Sat*

*Dinner includes extra premium cuts of meat (depending on seasons' offerings), e.g. Salmon. 


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