Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM
Copyright all rights reserved
The indomitable and irrepressible Travelling Gourmet TM finds it is yummie to be square at…
MOUTHWATERING The Square’s Prosperity Chinese New Year Buffet in Novotel Clarke Quay…The Square is on the 7th floor with a chic and hip ambience and decor. I confess that I love buffets, but the most hazardous part of buffets is over-indulging. C’est la vie as the French always say, n’est pas. Chinese New Year is coming and the first day of the Lunar Chinese New Year of the Rat is on 25 January 2020!
Appetizers include the Assorted Chinese BBQ Platter which had Chicken Bak Kwa which I dislike but the slippery Marinated Tangy Jelly Fish and and Baby Octopus was to my liking. Healthy Salad Bar with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamico is something I always have in a buffet. I love salads and vegetables. The Charcuterie of Salami and Ham, as well as Smoked Salmon and Japanese Sashimi of Salmon was good. Singaporeans actually put lots of Wasabi in the Soy Sauce for their Sashimi BUT in Japan, the natives put very little Sashimi because it would cover the natural flavours of the fish. At the Seafood on Ice there was also Gong Gong or Sea Whelk, Mussels, and Oysters which I relished with some freshly squeezed Lemon Juice and Mignonette Sauce. One observation, the chopped onions in the Mignonette were too big. They were paysanne instead of brunoise!
I spied the hard working Head Chef Kishen busily chopping the Roast Pork, Roast Duck and Roast Chicken…all looked very delectable. I decided to try all three, and I must say the Roast Pork Chnese Style was outstanding. No regrets! Juicy, tender with an ueber-crispy crunchy crackling to shoot terrorists for. Never ever say ‘to die for’ because when you are dead you cannot eat or taste anything, Right! I drank to that with my Pina Colada cocktail!
Head Chef Kishen
Affable Head Chef Kishen told me, “I am from Johor..nearby. For the Prosperity Buffet we try to have the auspicious foods for Chinese New Year like pineapple and pomelo.”
My next degustation was home made Romano Tomato and Fava Beans Soup with a slice of wholemeal bread and butter.
I liked the Square Signature Chilli Crab with cute little golden Man Tou buns to dip in the spicy and sexy sauce which is full of flamboyant flavours of sweet, spicy and sour. The crabs are good with very firm and sweet meat, although they are not the big Sri Lanka crabs. Messy but fun to eat! You must use your hands. My Chef friends always say, “Food tastes better when you eat with your hands!” I liked the small sign explaining the history of Chilli Crab. It mentioned the mother of my good friend, Roland. Roland’s restaurant in Marine Parade is where I go for the Original Chilli Crab. Roland’s mother, Cher Yam Tian was the creator of the Chilli Crab dish with some input from his father in the 1950s. His father was the Security Officer (bodyguard} to Deputy Prime MInister Dr. Goh Keng Swee many years ago.
I could not help but laugh when I saw a very horizontally-challenged (fat) Chinese lady eating a huge and unbelievable amount of Chilli Crab the whole dinner! It was scary!
My tummie was getting full but I managed to try the Laksa cooked to order a la minute with many Quail’s eggs that I adore. When I was a boy, my beloved Mum gave me lots of yummie Quail’s eggs to make me brainy. The spicy soup was delightful. I like to sprinkle a lot of finely chopped Daun Kesum or Laksa leaves on top before I tuck in!
There is also a Pasta station but I was getting full, and so I just tried some tasty pink-in- the-middle Roast Lamb with Mint Sauce and Red Wine Sauce.
Keep calm and say CHEESE!
Assorted Cheeses like Brie and Petit Reblochon from the Thônes region of Haute-Savoie in France and powerful Goat Cheese. Walnuts, Cranberries, Honey, Apricots go well with cheese. There are also caramelized walnuts and almonds and raisins.
No meal is complete without delicious Desserts!
Pandan Egg Tart, Mandarin Orange Cake, I found the Cute dome shaped Pomelo Pudding very yummie and also the Pineapple Crumble with Pineapple Chunks inside. Taro Butter Cake, Pineapple MOusse Cake, Pan-Fried Nian Gao are other tempting treats.
I approached the Bak Kwa Chicken Floss Swiss Roll with trepidation as it was such a wierd combo…but it was actually yummie…with a salty aftertaste. I could not resist my favourite The Square Signature Durian Pengat made from the noble Durian, the King of Fruits. I put some Coconut and Thai Milk Tea Ice Cream on top! I must mention the Robot Pancake Maker. Two small boys from Australia about 10 years old, had lots of fun making their own pancakes with the robot. Coffee and Tea is DIY.
Chinese New Year Prosperity Dinner Buffet from 6pm to 10pm
Sunday to Thursday except 26th Jan, 2020
Adult – $68++, Child (5 – 12 years old) – $39++, Senior Citizen – $58++
Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay
177A River Valley Road, Singapore,
Tel: +65 6338 3333