I had a sudden craving for crabs but couldn’t make up my mind on where to eat. Should we go for chilli crabs at Jumbo? Salted egg crabs at G7? Or butter crabs at Mellben? Finally the husband suggested to go somewhere new (so I can try and blog about it too) and he went ahead to book a table for us at Spices Cafe, Concorde Hotel as they are quite known for serving different styles of crabs cooked a la minute. Simply killing two birds with one stone. Perfecto.
We arrived at Spices Cafe pretty early as I like to take pictures before the restaurant gets too busy and the buffet line gets too empty. The classic colours of black and white provides a modern glamour setting and a lovely, cosy ambience, perfect for enjoying dinner with your special someone.
We were met with friendly service staff who immediately showed us to our table and took orders for drinks. She also gave us a quick brief on the available crabs on the menu and suggested that we try every single one of them which we did.
The icing on the cake was when the staff informed us that we would be entitled to a serving of half lobster (200g) each, cooked in several ways (changes daily) which we could pick from.
Before we were served our lobsters and crabs, we checked out the rest of the buffet – a beautiful spread of sushi, sashimi and fresh, succulent seafood, salads, cheeses, assorted hors d’oeuvre (mainly seafood), mouthwatering hot dishes and tempting desserts. The spread is not huge but good enough for what we’re paying for.
Unfortunately, the shellfish didn’t quite make their mark. The oysters were plump looking but tasted grainy (with sand). The scallops were tasteless. But the prawns were juicy and sweet – very fresh indeed. The sashimi and sushi were normal, nothing great to rave about.
What I did like was the delicate assortment of table hors d’oeuvre that were served on porcelain spoons and sauce plates so you can devour in one bite. Shelled mussels, prawns & squids and smoked salmon were used as main ingredients. Fresh vegetables & fruits, tofu, bonito flakes, pasta, etc with different dressings created a good balance of salty and sweet so you get the taste of the sea with the natural sweetness of the accompaniments. They were not only aethestically pleasing, they were appetising.
We were mesmerised by the baked cheese lobster and braised lobster when they arrived at our table. Prettily presented and sure looked delicious. The baked cheese lobster was a clear winner with plenty of mozzarella cheese on top so each bite was followed by a stringy trail of cheese behind. The braised lobster was also done to perfection. The yam pieces that were braised together with the crustaceans were so soft and tender.
There was also a live cooking station that serves pasta and drunken prawns. The soup used for the drunken prawns was very rich in flavour – you can taste chinese wine, sweet wolfberries and probably some other herbs and aromatics.
My two notable dishes from the hot food section would have to be the deep fried grouper with sweet chilli sauce and seafood pizza. I had thirds of the fish and seconds of the pizza which I normally won’t as I tend to skip carbs at buffets. The grouper was deep fried to crisp and the sweet spicy sauce that the chef drizzled over the fish with julienned cucumber and carrots just tasted so good.
And these were what we came here for. Crabs cooked in 5 different ways (i) Chilli crabs (ii) Black pepper crabs (iii) Steamed crabs with chinese wine (iv) Butter and white pepper crabs and (v) Salted egg crabs. Don’t expect huge Sri Lankan crabs here. These were likely local mud crabs. Though they were less meaty, they were quite sweet. Having them served freshly prepared and hot at a buffet was definitely a bonus. My favourite was the black pepper crab – strong peppery taste and salty savoury. The steamed crabs were pretty good too because they didn’t have too much seasoning so you could taste the natural sweetness of the crab meat. Be prepared to get your hands dirty of course. Bowls of water with lemon slices will be provided to rid of any smell off our fingers.
The thing about eating a crab buffet is we’d take a longer time to eat because of the shell cracking and crab meat digging work. I don’t know if it’s just me but I felt quite full even though I didn’t eat as much as what I’d normally eat at other buffets. I believe it was because of the time used on eating crabs that my brain triggered signals of fullness which was good in a way so I didn’t overeat like how most diners would at buffets.
Desserts weren’t plentiful but of a decent spread. Taste wise, there’s still room for improvement but good enough to end dinner on a sweet note.
My overall dining experience was a good one. Service was top-notch. Our glasses were always filled with ice water, plates were also replaced regularly. Clearing of dishes were also swift. Very attentive staff indeed, but probably because it was a mid-week night and it wasn’t full house so I probably have to return again on a peak weekend and see if the service lives up to expectations.
Monday to Thursday:
Adult: $48++ Child: $20++
Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Eve of Public Holiday & Public Holiday:
Adult: $52++ Child: $20++
Concorde Hotel Singapore
100 Orchard Road
Tel: 6739 8370