My love for Singapore food is probably beyond imagination, lol. When I had to travel frequently for business in a previous job, the one thing that I’d always miss was our char kway teow, bak chor mee, chicken rice and the like because these local eats are simply a myriad of flavours, aromas, sights and sounds that are not only appetising but are also aesthetically appealing.
When I heard about A Long Long Lunch @ Edge, Pan Pacific Hotel which is a four-hour tunch (lunch + afternoon tea) that features popular Singaporean cuisine and hawker favourites, I couldn’t wait rounding up a few foodie friends for a lunch party. To enjoy a relaxing long lunch with great company is what I call bliss and luxury.
The buffet tunch is available every Saturday from 12.00pm to 4.00pm. Price is S$48++ per adult and S$24++ per child. OCBC card members get 10% off the bill.
As usual, I would arrive earlier so I could go round taking pictures. The dining area was huge and spacious with the buffet line spanning across almost the entire restaurant. Exactly how I like buffet restaurants to be – bigger space means more walking around means more time for digestion, lol. I wished there wasn’t warm lighting though so my pictures wouldn’t all end up in an orange hue, oh well.
On every table, there was this little compartment box that contained these bamboo sticks with numbers on them. Well, they were meant to be given to the chefs at the respective live stations (such as kaya toast, pasta, laksa, fried kway teow & more) so once the food we ordered was ready, the service crew could deliver them to our table and we wouldn’t have to stand there and wait.
I was indeed impressed with how comprehensive the buffet lunch was. It really had almost every local dish that I could think of.
Here’s a quick glimpse of what the buffet had to offer:
The buffet included coffee and tea (with 12 selections from Gyphon Tea Company) as well as Bandung and Lychee Juice. The Bandung wasn’t too sweet and was really fragrant with ample evaporated milk. The Lychee Juice was more like a cordial drink that tasted a little artificial and too sweet for my liking.
I probably only covered 75% of the entire buffet as there were also the live char kway teow station, teh tarik station, popiah station, kueh pie tees, other hot dishes, waffles and many more other desserts too.
I tried to sample as many different things as I could but there were just way too much food.
Let’s have a look at some of my recommendations.
I started with an assortment of salads like beef pastrami salad (chewy), feta cheese with rocket that I made myself (yum!), mixed beans salad, mixed vegetables salad, fruit salad and prawn salad. The prawns were fresh and crunchy but the rest of the pre-mixed salads were pretty mediocre. What I really liked was the DIY salad because the shoyu sesame dressing was a bomb. There were also caesar dressing, french dressing, balsamic dressing and thousand island to pick from.
The fried items were ordinary. I thought the squid rings were like fresh fried calamaris but they were actually processed squid paste that were really tough and chewy. The takoyaki balls looked and tasted good, almost close to Gindaco’s standard.
The oyster omelette was disappointing though it had a lot of eggs. The miserable oysters were overcooked and shrivelled; some were burnt. The carrot cake was nothing to rave about too.
For the satay that were grilled on the spot, there were chicken, mutton and beef sticks. I liked the chicken best that was tender with a nice smoky flavour. The other two meats were just sinewy and chewy. The satay sauce was very flavoursome and nutty. If only there was pineapple puree to give it more punch.
From the roast meats counter, we got roast chicken (must try!) that was juicy, smooth and tender with a well marinated, flavoursome skin, roast pork with crispy crackling, roast duck that was too chewy for my liking and char siew that was just too lean.
At the Japanese section, there were assorted sushi that were normal and soba noodles which I didn’t try. The cold tofu and Thai pomelo salad and mango salad had a weird aftertaste.
For the nasi lemak, I thought the fried chicken tasted best among all ingredients. It was flavoursome with a nicely fried crispy skin on the outside that wasn’t too heavily battered.
I was a little amused at the kueh pie tee station because I told the server that I wanted a little of everything including sauce and chilli on every shell and it seemed to me he didn’t exactly know the sequence of assembling a kueh pie tee so mine had some missing ingredients which he ended up scooping onto the plate like a dollop of sambal chilli and ground peanuts. Probably because of this, taste wise, they didn’t fare well either.
I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the char kway teow that had so much wok hei (wok fragrance). Really didn’t expect it to be so nicely executed. There were a lot of plump cockles, prawns and lup cheong in it. Flavoursome and delicious. Must try!
From the Indian food section, we had papadum that was so addictively good, naan that was crispy, fish curry that was thick and robust with aromatic spices (must eat with the briyani rice!), prawn vadai with really huge prawns on them and came with refreshing mint leaves inside too. The samosa, roti john and paratha weren’t fantastic. The mango chutney was lovely!
The pizza crusts were supposed to be thin and crispy but ended up a tad tough cos’ they sat out for too long and were a little soggy on the bottom but I loved the toppings (salmon, chicken and margherita flavours) that were really packed full with cheese. The chicken one was best as the BBQ sauce used had so much flavour.
The roast chicken had a lovely golden brown skin on the outside but was a little dry on the inside, probably due to it being under the heat lamps for too long. I liked that there were many different condiments to go with it such as sweet chilli sauce, tomato sauce, wholegrain mustard, dijon mustard, tabasco, honey mustard, mint jelly, mayo, tomato mustard, tarragon mustard & more. So many different ways to dress up the chicken! They really made the chicken taste much more palatable and moist.
I appreciated that the minced lamb mixture for the vol-au-vent was served separately so we could scoop the meat onto the puff pastry when we were ready to assemble it. This way the pastry wouldn’t get soggy which was good. The lamb was nicely cooked to tender but was a little gamey though.
For soups, there were two choices of pumpkin and green pea. I preferred the pumpkin soup that was buttery, creamy and had that natural sweetness from pumpkin itself. I normally wouldn’t even drink pumpkin but this was really good. The green pea soup tasted like a creamy version of the thunder tea rice broth with added cream to thicken it. There was a bitter aftertaste which I didn’t like.
The sausage rolls and mushroom puffs were very thick in pastry which I felt weren’t worth the calories. Loved the assorted keropok that went really well with the satay sauce or even on their own.
Pity, the beef balls tasted gamey but the gravy was delicious.
The soft-boiled eggs were nicely done with a perfectly runny consistency. The toast was crispy and tasted as good as Yakun’s or Killiney’s. The teh tarik could do with a stronger brew of tea though but the sweetness was just right. Overall, very satisfying!
For the popiah, the filling was normal just like what we could get elsewhere but the skin was too thick as too many sheets of skin were used for each roll (probably so to keep the shape and prevent it from falling apart?).
The prawn paste flavour in the rojak sauce was too strong and overpowering, making it taste rather fishy. The you tiao was also too hard and chewy.
At the pasta station, there were several pasta choices such as spaghetti, fettucine, penne, linguine, etc to choose from and there were also 3 sauce options of tomato, cream or aglio-olio. I had cream fettucine that came with peppers, mushroom and chicken meat. It was a fine tasting plate of pasta! The sauce was flavoursome but not in a cloying manner.
The bak kut teh broth was peppery (not in an overwhelming way) and the pork ribs were so tender, the meat just fell off the bone easily. I didn’t like the you tiao that was over-fried and was so hard and oily that I had to spit it out.
The tom yum soup was so weird. So salty, it was almost like drinking fish sauce. And there was also an overpowering smell of tamarind.
The laksa that came with sliced fish cakes, chicken meat and huge juicy prawns was flavoursome with a rich coconut milk fragrance. It wasn’t too spicy too so if you like it hot, you’d have to add a dollop of sambal chilli to spice it up.
Finally time for desserts. I tried most of the desserts except the nonya kueh and ice kachang and I only enjoyed the durian pengat (though I thought Straits Cafe’s was still the best), durian cake, plum ice cream (could taste the natural flavour of real plums) and vintage strawberry & cream ice cream. The other ice cream flavours were very sweet. The chocolate truffles looked so pretty but they were just too sweet (overpowered the chocolatey taste) for my liking. The waffle tasted really eggy and somehow reminded me of a baked mooncake crust. The butter cream cakes were too dry. The kueh lapis weren’t buttery enough. The coconut tart was dry too. Desserts didn’t seem to fare too well which again I wasn’t surprised with as most hotel buffets were the same.
Don’t forget to go for the Gryphon teas to end the meal that really aided with digestion after such a filling meal. I probably had 3 cups of teas and I loved the Earl Grey Lavender best as it was so light and delicate.
This must be the first time I ever stayed on a buffet for a whole 4 hours because I just took my time to eat, to look, to talk, to walk around and just have fun. Food wise, there might be many misses but I did enjoy the variety of Singapore local food that was presented all in one setting so there were so much to explore and try. I highly recommend the char kway teow, bak kut teh, chicken satay, Indian curries, naans, papadum, kaya butter toast with soft boiled eggs, pasta, pumpkin soup, durian cake and of course, the Gryphon teas. Price wise, some might feel this is overpriced hawker food but considering the flawless service, atmosphere and food variety, I was happy with the overall experience.