Quality Hotel is one of my favourite places to get my porridge supper fix. Whenever we have a late lunch, we tend to skip dinner and head to here to have porridge instead. I have been here like countless times, I can’t believe I haven’t even blogged about it yet!
You may be wondering who will travel to Balestier Road at this time of the day just for porridge. Well, the fact that the Quality Cafe only accepts walk-ins during supper time (no reservations) and that there’s always a long queue outside the restaurant just before supper time starts, you’d know how popular this place really is.
By the time we are seated in the restaurant, the buffet line is already swarmed with people and the one-time special dish of chilli crabs is always the first to go. I tried joining the queue once to see if I might land myself with a piece of crab, the mother-daughter team in front of me just swept away every morsel off the chafing dish, leaving just the gravy for me to frown upon and roll my eyes. Oh well.
The variety of food isn’t huge but good enough for a late night supper. You get two choices of porridge – sweet potato and chicken with braised peanuts. We normally go for the sweet potato one as it’s plain and we can just ‘decorate’ it with whatever condiments we want. Fermented beancurd, crispy ikan bilis (anchovies) & peanuts, preserved mustard greens, meat floss, canned black bean fish and achar (pickled vegetables) seem so mediocre but they are BIG in flavours. Put a bit of everything in your bowl of hot, piping porridge and then mix all up. Just this bowl of mixed porridge is good enough on its own! Of course, with so many other dishes to dig into, why should we just stop at that?
Some notable dishes…
The beef rendang and squids with thai green chilli sauce are my favourites! The meat is so tender, it just shreds off with a gentle poke. The squids are blanched to perfection. They are so springy, every bite is like a bouncy chew. Coupled with the formidable green chilli sauce, I could just eat plates and plates of it (if only squids are without cholesterol!).
The steamed prawn is the next most popular item there. Most tables around us just fill plates with prawns (to the brim) but we only ate like 3 or 4 pieces. I just don’t understand why prawns are such a big thing at buffets. Are people just trying to eat to get their money’s worth? The thing is, these prawns are not even of the best quality. Small to medium size, don’t taste sweet and the shells stick to the flesh which makes it a little cumbersome to peel.
Some other decent dishes include braised chicken feet, roast chicken, braised duck, steamed egg and curry chicken. Rice is also available for those who prefer it to porridge.
Don’t forget to help yourself to the eggs too if you love eggs as much as I do. They are braised so thoroughly, the braising liquid probably penetrated the white to give it a lovely dark brown. Very intensely flavourful.
The chef came out mid-way with a chafing dish of freshly fried pandan chicken. Looks tempting but fails to deliver. The chicken aren’t marinated long enough and are quite bland in taste.
There is also a live station that serves up laksa. You can put in quail eggs, fish cake slices, tau kwa and a good dollop of sambal chilli to spice things up. The gravy is rich in coconut milk, tasty but too oily for my liking.
And finally, some desserts to end the meal with. The shaved ice, various condiments and syrups are available for you to make your own chendol or ice kachang. Mine comes with attap chees, red bean and fruit cocktail with a generous drizzle of evaporated milk (I love!).
I’d suggest to enjoy this supper buffet on a Friday or Saturday night so you don’t have to wake up early the next day. I always end up sleeping really late as I need more time to digest my sinful supper indulgences.
At an affordable price of $13.80++ per person, why would we not be back? I just hope they can replenish the chilli crabs next time so more people get to try it.
Quality Hotel Marlow Level One
201 Balestier Road
Tel: 6233 6363
Taiwan Porridge Supper Buffet (10.30pm to 12.30am daily)
Mon-Thu – Adult $11.80++, Child $6.80++
Fri-Sun – Adult $13.80++, Child $6.80++