Happy Halloween! ??? ???
Though we don’t celebrate Halloween in Singapore, I like to do it my way by hiding underneath the bed covers and getting myself spooked ? with a horror movie marathon, woo!
How are you celebrating Halloween at your side of the world? 🙂
The husband bought a Groupon deal (yes, again!) for a Peranakan buffet at Hotel Grand Pacific (formerly known as Allson Hotel) so we went to check that out.
Sun’s Cafe was somewhat hidden away on the left hand side of the hotel lobby (ground floor). The dining area wasn’t particularly spacious and tables were placed quite near to one another. It was really packed by the time we arrived and the whole place was just busy and noisy like a marketplace. We were lucky to be given a standalone table somewhere in the middle so we didn’t have to brush against tables and chairs just to get out of or return back to our seats.
Though we only came in an hour plus after the lunch buffet had started, everything on display were well replenished. In fact, we could see the chefs speedily topping up the chafing dishes and ensuring nothing was empty.
The buffet spread wasn’t huge but had a good assortment of signature Peranakan, Asian and local fare. Besides starters, salad greens and hot food, there were DIY stations for kueh pie tee and rojak, a live noodle station for meatball noodle soup and laksa, hot and cold desserts as well as several different flavours of ice creams in tubs.
The appetisers/pre-mixed salads were middle-of-the-road stuff though I felt the Chilled Boiled Streaky Pork with Cincalok was quite an interesting dish. The achar made a great palate refresher too.
Hot dishes included Itik Sioh (duck in tamarind sauce), Sambal Prawn with Petai, Sotong Lemak Chilli Padi, Babi Pongteh, Fried Ngoh Hiang, Hokkien Mee, Asam Pedas, Fried Mackerel, Fried Wanton and more. Everything tasted like decent home-cooking and I particularly enjoyed the Hokkien Mee that had lots of crispy pork lard bits and the prawns that came with a really robust and flavoursome sambal sauce. It was the first time I had seen a whole fried mackerel at a buffet. Fish roe lovers would love that because the fish was filled with roe. I found it a little troublesome to eat a whole fish though because there were many small bones to look out for. The fried ngoh hiang and wantons (plump & crispy!) were pretty tasty too – freshly fried with no reused oil smell.
From the live noodle station, there were laksa which had a lack of punch and meatball noodle soup with plump and springy balls in a light and tasty broth. If the latter wasn’t too heavy, I would have easily finished the whole bowl.
The Pork Maw with White Peppercorn had a rich, peppery broth just like our local bak kut teh – I thought this tasted as good as my grandma’s recipe. The pig stomach was perfectly cooked till tender and it was well cleaned out with no unwanted stench too.
By the time I made my own kueh pie tee and rojak, there weren’t any chopped boiled egg and fried dough fritters left. So sad.
The cuttlefish congee was forgettable but the keropok (prawn & fish) was quite shiok to munch on because I kept dipping them in the sambal belachan that had a really spicy kick.
Desserts wise, there were an assortment of nonya kueh, pandan-flavoured kueh lapis, bubur hitam, chilled grass jelly and ice cream. I thought the brown-coloured glutinous rice with gula melaka, kueh lapis and bubur hitam were the best among all. Unfortunately, the ice cream was just too saccharine sweet for my liking.
Service standards didn’t impress but staff were quick to clear our plates. Do note their ice water (or rather room temperature water) were all pre-poured into glasses and placed on our table even before our arrival. We had to request for a change of water as we didn’t know if other diners were seated on the same table before us or anything like that. Tsk tsk.
I had not tried enough Peranakan restaurants to determine how authentic the Peranakan fare here was. It probably wasn’t the best but for the price we paid, it was still considered a reasonable spread with some noteworthy dishes that I didn’t mind having seconds or thirds. Worth a try if you’re looking for an inexpensive buffet and if you adore Asian fare but it’s probably just a one-time affair.
Sun’s Cafe @ Hotel Grand Pacific
101 Victoria Street
Tel: +65 6431 1824
12.00pm to 2.30pm (Mon-Fri)
12.00pm to 3.00pm (Sat, Sun & PH)
6.30pm to 10.00pm daily