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Spring Tomorrow
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Todai International Cuisine, Seafood & Sushi Buffet Restaurant @ Marina Bay Sands

I can’t believe I took so long to blog about Todai even though I’ve been here like four times. The first time was when the husband decided to try out his first ever eating challenge at the Todai Spicy Sushi Roll Competition. He won the challenge and received free dining vouchers. The 2nd time, we had to come back before the vouchers expired. The 3rd time? We brought the parents here to celebrate the new year because I couldn’t think of another buffet place that could satisfy their fussy taste buds. And my most recent visit? It was the parents’ request as they really enjoyed the buffet the previous time.

If you ask the parents or husband to name their favourite buffet restaurant, I’m very sure they will (unanimously) say it’s Todai. And it is one of the rare occasions that I’m not quite with them. Don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy dining at Todai and the variety of the buffet never fails to impress me but….let’s read on to find out more.

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Nestled in one end of The Shoppes at Basement 2 of the Marina Bay Sands, Todai Singapore is a spacious 400-seater restaurant with a 87m long buffet line which apparently is also the longest buffet in Singapore.

“Todai” means “Light House” in Japanese. From where we are seated in the Western Zone with a maritime/nautical theme, we can see the keel of a ship on the ceiling with blue wavy light effects to signify we are ‘under the sea’ which is cleverly designed since Todai specialises in fresh seafood.

A paper place mat on the table shows you a self-explanatory map of the restaurant with the locations of the various food counters – Seafood, Sashimi, Korean, Chinese Hot Food, Western Hot Food, Oven Hot Food, Grill, Fry, Salad & Cold Appetisers, Sushi, Noodle, Churrasco, Dim Sum, Soup, Pizza, Pasta, Desserts and Beverages.

I do like the structure of the buffet line as it’s grouped into different sections that requires some walking between one another. I think it’s a plus point to have a large space so you don’t have to ‘rub elbows’ with other diners. And it is a good form of exercise (for digestion) as you scan through the buffet – extremely important when you have had too much to eat!

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Needless to say, the seafood section is the most popular counter that most people swarm to and the good thing is, replenishing of food is very quick so the buffet line never appears to be too empty. Thumbs up.

The counter boasts of an impressive bed of fresh, chilled seafood like snow crab legs, shrimps, half shell scallops, green mussels, blue mussels, clams, baby octopus and freshly shucked oysters. All beautifully presented with labels so you know what you’re taking. While the available variety and presentation are remarkable, taste wise, they are either so briny or bland that they don’t deserve a second helping. Pity.

It’s my first time seeing such a huge spread of freshly pressed sushi. Most of the times, I only see one tray with a small assortment of standard nigiri so for sushi lovers, you’d have to check out the sushi section because they are quite tasty. I do like the few saucy ones. I normally skip rice in buffets but I just couldn’t resist the unique flavours and mouthwatering sights of some.

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Just tell the sashimi chef what you’d like and he’d slice them up for you on the spot. The cuts of the sashimi aren’t great, in fact a few pieces have chewy veins in them. Also, it is quite obvious they haven’t been thawed properly as some parts still taste icy cold so it’s definitely not of premium air-flown standard.

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The cold appetisers and hot food sections compensated for the mediocre seafood. There is a great use of seafood in the various appetisers but because most of them have flavoursome dressings and seasonings, they manage to mask the lacklustre taste of the shrimps, squids and/or mussels. I enjoy the refreshing seafood salad, terrine, smoked salmon, caprese salad and assorted cold cuts.

The first dish that goes the fastest is the chilli crayfish. We just happen to sit near the hot food section so we are able to land a few servings of the crayfish when the chef brought it out, fresh from the wok. The crayfish is meaty and cooked to perfection so the flesh tastes just right, neither too soft nor chewy. The sauce is exactly the same as the chilli crab sauce that we are familiar with. It has the right amount of spice in it and is not too starchy.

The next must-try which I had seconds and thirds is the beef short ribs. Very well marinated and nicely grilled with a smoky flavour to it. It’s like the perfect thing to go with beer!

I ordered the laksa from the noodles counter which is made to order but the seemingly diluted gravy lacks punch and is too coconut-milky for my liking. Adding extra chilli doesn’t help either.

There is also abalone porridge but I don’t see where the abalone is. It is just bland, not worth any stomach space.

The Chinese dishes are surprisingly above average. Some notable ones would be the Braised Sea Cucumber with Mushrooms & Broccoli, Prime Ribs, Abalone Mushrooms which are of a good restaurant standard.

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The churrasco section is also worth a mention. I love the crispy pork belly, chicken, mushrooms and pineapples. Somehow, eating pineapples with grilled meat just neutralises that grease and takes away that sickly feeling of overeating.

I know I’m weird sometimes but I couldn’t resist having the crispy garlic bread. My husband rolls his eyes when he sees me feasting on it. To him, I’m probably wasting my time and stomach space on something so insignificant and common. But I just enjoy it!

At the Korean section, a chef makes pancakes (pajeon) on the spot. Nothing to rave about. What I like at this section is actually the marinated dried shrimps. Sweet and salty, makes a perfect nibble.

Of course, you’d have the usual tempura selections too like calamari, ebi, different vegetables and pork katsu as well. Crispy but very greasy If you like fried food, then these will be good for you.

Try the cheese baked scallops and prawns too. The cheese crust on top has a lovely scorched flavour to it. Too cheesy and delish to resist.

And if you still have space, there’s also pizzas, naans, cheeses (camembert, blue cheese, goat cheese) to go with bread rolls and dim sum.

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I’ve been aiming at desserts the moment I stepped into the restaurant so we try to have a bit of everything. The soft serve ice cream of chocolate & vanilla flavours is so addictive! I really helped myself to it with macaroons and biscottis as accompaniments. The rest of the pastries and cakes are pretty standard. I do like the very sweet lychees. Had a plate of it to myself.

I don’t think I manage to try every single dish because there’s just so much food. The reason why I’m not giving Todai a perfect 10 is because this buffet is a Jack of all Food, but Master of None. The spread is decent (in fact probably better than most same-price-range buffets out there) but there’s no wow factor.

Overall, I enjoy the dining experience and my entire time here though I’m still disappointed with the seafood and sashimi (both are supposed to be my favourites to go for). I’d prefer Seafood Night at The Line @ Shangri-La. Todai makes a great place for gatherings and family meals. They also have 4 private rooms if you’d like some privacy when dining in a big group. If you haven’t been here, it’s worth giving it a try.

Prices

Lunch
Mon to Fri
Adult: S$42++
Child (below 1m 30cm): S$22++

Sat, Sun & PH
Adult: S$64++
Child (below 1m 30cm): S$26++

Dinner
Mon, Tue & Wed
Adult: S$58++
Child (below 1m 30cm): S$26++

Thu to Sun, Eve of PH & PH
Adult: S$68++
Child (below 1m 30cm): S$26++

Operating Hours
Mon to Fri
Lunch: 11:30 ~ 15:00 / Dinner: 17:30 ~ 22:00
Saturday
Lunch: 11:30 ~ 15:00 / Dinner: 17:30 ~ 22:00
Sunday
Lunch: 11:30 ~ 16:00 / Dinner 17:00 ~ 22:00

Todai Singapore
#B2-01 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
2 Bayfront Avenue
Tel: 6688 7771
Website

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