lime at parkroyal on pickering, chinatown (part 2)

very good, concise buffet spread at the new parkroyal on pickering. so I’ve told you a bit about this place and how pretty it is in my last post – and now let’s talk about the eatin’.

I feel the need to insert a caveat here – I enjoyed this spread because it had precisely the sort of thing I like to eat, but if you come here expecting the massive sort of round-the-world line-up the shangri-la provides,  then you might be a tad disappointed. I don’t personally go in for large spreads – I once filled up on popiah (a cheap local dish of braised radish) at another buffet to the desperation of my partner – and I appreciate quality over quantity.

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lime at parkroyal on pickering, chinatown (part 1)

for part 2 of this post (with photos of the food!) – here’s it!

really good international-asianish buffet at the spanking-new parkroyal at pickering. it’s managed to bring some modern cool to this area – which despite growing into a hipster enclave, has kept to kitschy old-means-retro, rather than a modern aesthetique. this post also marks my first post back in singapore, and boy am I excited about that – I have an incredible backlog of posts and so ready to share.

so, the short: one of the better buffets, a small but good spread (might be subjective), and a lovely, gorgeous space with great service and no issues you’d associate with new establishments. this first post on the place is more space-descriptive – the eating comes in the next one here!

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heike japanese restaurant, ho chi minh

located at the New World Hotel: 76 Lê Lai, Ben Thanh ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh.

pretty darn terrible japanese food at this beautiful hotel in downtown saigon. the worst meal we’ve had this trip – and that’s not just because we had been eating very well, it was also just terrible taken objectively – my dad walked out toward the end of the meal to wait in the lobby because he just couldn’t be bothered any longer.

we’ve been coming to this hotel for years, because their lobby cafe had amazing pho and japanese food. I know this sounds sort of crazy – don’t people escape from their hotels to get decent food outside? – but they did truly have value-for-money japanese bento sets and very good cooking in a fantastically modern cafe. this year though, we arrived only to find that the cafe had undergone a revamp – which was why we ended up at the japanese restaurant. a highly regrettable choice, though it was so bad it stepped right into ridiculousness, and made me laugh.

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straits cafe at the rendezvous hotel, town

decent buffet at the rather-maligned and surprisingly well-kept rendezvous hotel on the edge of city hall. forgive the ill-plated dishes and rather mis-matched presentation – a buffet is very difficult to photograph, and made especially so because each dish is a representation of what your companions really want to it and let’s face it, it ain’t always pretty.

I don’t think much of this hotel – in fact, I don’t even think about this hotel at all. it’s always struck me as being a little old and dingy, and very forgettable – it used to at least be useful as a landmark for that area, but what with the singapore management university moving there, it’s lost that merit too. however, upon coming here, I realized that’s rather a misconception. the hotel is surprisingly new (I wouldn’t use modern for it’s done up in a rather traditional way), with quite a few eateries peppering its compound.

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marriott café buffet, town

surprisingly, unexpectedly decent buffet spread at the ground floor cafe at the marriott. there isn’t much else to say about buffets (this is how blog posts always start before an astounding number of words follow) apart from the fact that it’s a manifestation of how greedy singaporeans can be (and are). there are people who try and strategise their day’s eating so as to make the most out of a single meal – I try rather to treat this as a sort of serve-yourself degustation menu. it’s far too easy to go overboard and hate yourself after the meal.

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the line, town

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presumably the best buffet line-up locally, located in the shangri-la hotel. much has already been said about this restaurant on the blogosphere (there are such a great number of singapore food blogs – and I thought london was oversaturated!) so this is a short exposition for if you are a visitor to my blog and not familiar with singapore.

buffets are our local excuse to over-eat, and coupled with our no-lose mentality, they often result in us starving ourselves the morning/day before the buffet meal and then trying to lose ourselves in the food. the goal usually is to eat the equivalent cost of the buffet so as to ‘win’ though let me tell you from experience that the best way to attack a buffet is to eat moderately through the day without starving; if you try to starve your appetite, what usually happens is you end up being very bloated quickly and not able to eat much.

the line-up here includes cold seafood such as prawns, crabs and oysters – I was told lobsters are taken out during dinner time – cooked chinese food such as noodles and meat dishes, an indian counter serving curries and various tandooried ingredients, a dimsum steamer counter, a salad bar, a pizza and pasta bar, as well as a station with roast meats and another for sushi and sashimi. and if that wasn’t enough, the dessert here is usually pretty impressive, including quite a few jellies, cheesecakes, tartlets and a flowing chocolate fountain. I always end up sticking with fruit though.

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rodizio preto, london

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very good meatfest in soho. I had booked this place, went back to the netosphere to read more reviews, then doubted my choice of restaurantfor a dinner with friends. we needn’t have worried though.

the restaurant was rightly crowded on a saturday evening, and we were seated belowstairs. in fact the only downside to the whole experience was our waitress who was a tad ditsy and unsure about things – oh well.

this rodizio (as with most) operates on a all-you-can-eat policy such that you basically pay a flat rate at the end. there are only two choices, one for only the hot buffet and the salads, and then you pay a premium of about 5 pounds over that for the option of the having loads of meat. I don’t think the buffet and salads are worth it – though it does mean that you can have vegetarian friends with you even though they probably wouldn’t have as great a time as you do.

I’ll start by saying that the buffet spread upstairs seems larger and better than the one downstairs, but we were there for the meat anyway so the salads and etc. merely served as a buffer. there was a fried food counter with fried onion rings, brazilian cheese mochi bread (not spectacular but alright), fried bananas (my friends went back for seconds and triples as you can see from the laden plate on the left, second from bottom), what looked to me to be variants of pasta and lasagne. very heavy starchy stuff.

adjacent to that was the salad section which were 4 different salads heavily dressed as well as a bowl of fresh cut tomatoes and baby salad leaves. the salads included a bean-and-mushroom salad, a green-beans-and-peppers salad (I liked these two), something with radishes and cabbages that looked the least oily, as well as a strange looking salad of okra. the salads all taste like they have the same dressing, but it’s not a bad one, just a bit heavy on the oil.

let me tell you my strategy for going through this meal. aim for the simply grilled meats, stay away from the starch, and use the salads and fresh tomatoes to refresh your palate as the meal proceeds. there are apparently 15 different types of meat and I’m not sure if we got them all, but these included many different cuts of beef, pork, chicken and lamb. out of those, the lamb was apparently not too great, the pork was dry and the beef and chicken did the best. stay away from the bacon-wrapped chicken which was horribly salty and dry – I’m still suffering from that tiny bite I had.

I can’t tell you what the best one was since I don’t know which cuts they were as the meal went on, but I would stick to the beef and chicken – there was one sort that was exceptionally good – medium rare beef. incredibly tasty and rare, you can see the photo above of the pink meat. I got at least four or five slices of that. sorry for the morass of meat photos – there isn’t a really appetising way of photographing slices of meat that just happen on your plate as a waiter walks by.

I’d come back especially when I have many (male) friends to feed. it was very cheap for the amount of food we got, as well as the fact that we’re right smack in town.

by the way – we also celebrated a birthday at the restaurant that night and they didn’t charge us for service and were really nice about bringing it out and giving us plates and serviettes and etc. very impressive. the cake was from patisserie valerie, if you’re interested, and was a black forest cake with a moist crumb but a bit too much cream for me!

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