Whenever the craving for chilled seafood & foie gras strikes, one place that comes to mind is often Basilico that offers a luxurious Italian brunch buffet with a sumptuous seafood spread, an amazing array of cheeses in a dedicated room, a foie gras counter and of course, not forgetting the all-time favourites of homemade pizzas, pastas, antipasti and more.
Basilico’s brunch buffet is available every Sunday from 12.00pm to 3.00pm.
Prices are as follows:
$102++ with free flow soft drinks and juices
$139++ with free flow Prosecco
$159++ with free flow Mumm champagne, red & white wines
$51++ for children between 5-12 years old
The husband and I were here during the festive season a few weeks back. We celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary which also marked our 10 years of friendship. Seemed like there would always be a reason to splurge and indulge, lol.
We arrived just before 12 noon and were asked to wait at the entrance as a staff briefing was going on inside the restaurant. The service staff who had ushered us to our table first gave us an orientation of the buffet and also went through the various buffet prices as mentioned above.
Let’s kick off this post with a tour of the buffet:
This was the cheese room that was filled with this pungent aroma the moment we stepped in. What a splendid display of fine cheeses indeed. This would probably be the largest spread of cheeses you’d ever see in a buffet. Besides the hard and semi-hard cheeses, there were also plenty of condiments and accompaniments like jams, dried fruits & nuts, honeys, crackers, crisp breads…
…as well as a bread counter right at the end. I really felt spoilt by this whole sight.
For the chilled seafood section, there were lobsters, crayfish, crabs, prawns, mussels and half-shelled scallops.
At the antipasti station, there were assorted cold cuts like Prosciutto di Parma, Speck, Prosciutto Cotto (cooked ham), Pancetta and Salami, smoked salmon, different pesto spreads, olives, anchovies, pumpkin salad, chargrilled egg plants and asparagus.
What really caught my attention was this section of soft cheeses and tomatoes as well as this huge 5kg buffalo mozzarella that was made in the small town of Battipaglia near Napoli, Italy. I also spotted the less common Pomodoro Sardo Zebra (Sardinian Zebra Tomato) that was greenish in colour.
At the carving station, there were roasted turkey and roasted leg of lamb with a couple of different gravies to go with. Hot dishes would include a whole baked dover sole, herb stuffed squids, lobster & basil soup, lamb stew with artichokes, herbs gratin scallops, grilled baby chicken, truffle focaccia, wagyu beef lasagna, asparagus tortellini, pizzas, pastas and more. The most exciting part ought to be the foie gras counter. Free flow foie gras that was pan-seared on the spot and you can just eat to your heart’s content – what’s better than this, really? Pure indulgence!
Normally at other hotel buffets, I wouldn’t be as tempted to try everything from the dessert table but this was a sight of sheer decadence that was hard to resist. Delicate offerings, exquisite presentations, skilful techniques – just looking at them made me hungry.
More tantalising treats. A gelato bar with various toppings to choose from. And a coffee bar with illycrema that dispensed out like a milkshake.
Various juices to choose from – green guava, pink guava, orange, pineapple, carrot, grapefruit, etc. These were from packets, not fresh ones so they were a little too sweet for my liking.
Finally, a small selection of fruits was also available for those health junkies. Didn’t really see people getting fruits, lol.
Hope you’re not feeling too hungry by now because I am while writing this, lol. Here’s what we had tried:
As usual, I would start off with chilled seafood. The sweet crabs were nicely cracked for convenience and the flesh easily came off with a tug of the pincer shell. The lobster was fresh but not as sweet as the crab and the flesh was also a little overdone and tough. The crayfish fared better; it was sweeter and more tender. The prawns were big, juicy and succulent. The mussels were huge in size (not shrivelled like in some places) and were sweet tasting too. I loved the scallops that were lightly seasoned with salt & pepper, fresh and delicious. Overall, this was definitely one of the better seafood spreads I ever had because majority of the seafood were fresh and naturally sweet tasting so there wasn’t a need for lemon or sauces. Thumbs up.
The soft cheeses were mainly made from cow’s, buffalo’s or sheep’s milk. And my favourite of all was the smoked burrata that had a really intense smoky fragrance to it. What I loved about these cheeses was that they weren’t as salty as the hard or semi hard cheeses so we could easily eat them as is like an appetiser or pair with the various sweet tomatoes.
Among the hams, I liked parma paired with rock melon best – the combination of sweet and salty flavours was just heavenly.
I wasn’t really a big fan of the olives, capers, pesto or balsamic onions – the husband loved them though.
Vegetables wise, I’d suggest to go for the sweet roasted pumpkins and the crunchy thick asparagus stems.
The highlight of my meal was of course the foie gras that was nicely seared to a crispy crust on the outside while the inside remained velvety and fatty that just melted in the mouth. Beautifully executed. The balsamic reduction lifted the flavour of the goose liver and made it feel less sickly with its slight tanginess.
The lobster & basil soup had an ample crustacean flavour but it also came with a bitter aftertaste and just wasn’t creamy enough. What a shame.
The roast turkey was well seasoned but the meat was a little dry on the inside. The roasted leg of lamb was a bit overdone but I liked the crust that was laced with wholegrain mustard. Overall, there wasn’t any gamey smell too.
The grilled baby chicken came with a delicious and moreish gravy. The baked fish was overcooked and the meat was just tough.
The truffle focaccia was a star! So cheesy, so yummy. I couldn’t resist going back for more though I knew it would fill me up because it was all carbs.
The stewed stuffed calamari was incredibly soft and tender which could be easily cut through with a fork. The lamb stew was equally beautiful – fork tender meat in a rich braise with no gamey smell. The truffle risotto was nicely cooked to a perfect consistency. The tortellini that came with a gorgonzola cream was pretty amazing – flavoursome and creamy.
There were 3 types of pizzas – pork ham & porcini mushrooms, quattro formaggi (4 cheeses) and seafood – all of which were just average because by the time I took them, they were already left out for quite some time so the bottom of the crust was already wet and soggy. The toppings was still good though so I ended up eating the ingredients and ditching the bread, lol.
Moving on to the cheeses. We were sure we had taken at least 90% of the cheeses (probably at least 30 types?) but we really lost count because there were so many and we weren’t even sure what we had tried or not. The experience of being able to sample so many different types of cheeses was pretty amazing but as with all other cheeses, we got a little sickly of them after a while. It was good to pair the cheeses with the different honeys and jams as well as the nuts & crackers. I particularly enjoyed the amaretto jam, fig jam, truffle honey, chilli honey, lemon honey, macadamia nuts, pistachios and cheesy crackers. You just got to try them all to decide what combination you’d like best.
Don’t miss out on the gourmet breads too. I highly recommend the flat crisp bread and squid ink bread that had a rich pesto & olive oil flavour – delicious!
Finally, finally. I have found the BEST desserts in a hotel buffet. Previous experiences elsewhere had led me to disappointments because the savouries always shone more than the sweets. Over here, most if not all desserts had clearly lived up to our expectations, probably even beyond.
I loved the creme brulee with a crunchy, caramelised top. All the cakes (marsala mousse, chocolate mousse, carrot, pumpkin, financier), tarts (lemon meringue, passionfruit, chocolate) and shooters (chocolate) were top-notch. The Neopolitan Sfogliatelle which was a shell-shaped pastry had a really flaky & crispy crust that resembled layers of leaves – so exquisitely made – and it was really delicious. The tiramisu was perfect – with a good balance of espresso and liquor. The gelato was excellent too – we tried the chocolate, blueberry yogurt and mango sorbet – all weren’t too sweet and had a smooth & silky texture.
The only two items that I didn’t quite like was the panna cotta with a really sour berry sauce and the pandoro (Italian sweet bread) that was too dry.
The brunch buffet included coffee and tea too. I was looking forward to either a TWG or Gryphon tea but they served Dilmah teabags (English breakfast, earl grey, peppermint, chamomile and jasmine) instead.
The section where we were seated had a dedicated staff who would promptly refill our glasses, clear our plates, fold our napkins and always coming over to us to check if everything was fine. When we started on our mains, our cutlery used for starters were immediately cleared and when we hit the desserts, we were given dessert spoons & forks with all other cutlery cleared from the table too. The staff was always carrying this big smile on his face throughout our meal. Service was simply impeccable.
The price of this brunch buffet might be steep but for the opulent spread of food and its quality, flawless service and ambience, it was a meal worth indulging and splurging on. Highly recommended especially if you love foie gras, seafood and cheeses.
1 Cuscaden Rd
3rd Floor, The Regent Singapore
Tel: 6725 3232