First and foremost, thank you to the dinner buddy Glenn for his birthday treat to me at Grand Hyatt's Straits Kitchen. It was certainly an apt choice of a venue because this would be the final installment to my mini Grand Hyatt series, having already featured the likes of Mezza9, Mezza9 Deli, Pete's Place and Oasis.
Straits Kitchen features an Asian-themed (more precisely, Singaporean-themed) buffet that has five different sections to it - locally-inspired appetisers, Malay cuisine, Chinese cuisine, Indian cuisine and local desserts. If you are wondering what could be so possibly attractive about this restaurant, I would think that there's two reasons to it: one, it's a showcase of three cuisines under one comfortable setting (perfect for tourists!), and two, it's one of the three Halal-certified hotel buffet venues (with the other two being Carousel at Royal Plaza on Scotts and Tiffany Cafe at Furama City Centre). Do note that reservations here are a must, as the restaurant operates on a "full-house" on most nights.
The design at Straits Kitchen is chic with an abundance of wood panelling and plush seats. I like the atmosphere of this place and you get the feeling that it somewhat encourages you to just eat, eat, and eat, to pamper yourself silly and to be able to lie there with all the comfort in the world. Service here is excellent too, with some of the most affable and polite waiters around.
Lighting here is quite dim and photography is not allowed actually, but we got permission from Ms Rina (thank you!) who earlier had found out about our Hyatt series and agreed to our request. I couldn't take many pictures anyway because it was getting crowded with people. Still, here's a little walk through the buffet stations that I managed to put together for you!
Some of My Plates
I personally liked the tender Roast Duck and Chicken a lot, and they went very well with the fragrant chicken rice. Carrot Cake is something that I adore quite a bit but this rendition by Straits Kitchen was just a bit too sweet for me. The large slices of abalone in the Chap Chye (stir-fried mixed vegetables) were a delight to chew on.
The Laksa and Chicken Noodle Soup were less impressive, with the laksa being memorably milky. I like my laksa less "creamy" with more chilli for that extra spicy zest. The Steamed Fish was a bit tough on some parts, while the Chilli Crab took a little getting used to because I'm not very familiar with one that is cooked with lemongrass.
For the Chinese Cuisine station there's certainly more items on offer like Fried Rice (adequately moist and tasty), Fried Kway Teow (basic fare), Fried Vegetables (the carnivore in me says no), Fried Diced Chicken (tender) and several others.
Perhaps the dishes here are meant to cater to foreign tastebuds, and so you would probably get a little bit more of sweet than spicy (even so, I overheard a tourist commenting to the waiter that many of the dishes are too spicy for her). This is why even the Satay was a little too sweet for my liking. The Ayam Percik meanwhile was quite good, crisp with a spicy marinate, but the Sambal Prawns and Spicy Fish Fillet were again not as spicy as they should be.
I thought the Indian cuisine fared pretty well, especially the Tandoori meats, be it fish, prawn or chicken. The Naan (both plain and garlic are served here) was delicious too, and you could eat it with any of the gravy or curries. The Fish Head Curry was alright but the fish could have been more tender.
We picked up a few desserts as well, but by then were too full (and lazy) to be taking pictures of everything on the table. Other than the Ice Kachang (shaved ice with jellies and flavoured syrup) and Egg Tarts (a little too flaky on the crust, but lovely egg pudding inside), there's also very simple delights like Muah Chee, which is glutinous rice with grated peanuts. I liked this a lot and certainly ate more of this than I should.
The highlight surely, and as a true testament to the extent of my pure indulgence in sweet desserts (unbeatable I tell you), is the delicious, deep-fried-to-a-golden-brown Goreng Pisang that is paired with cold and creamy Coconut Ice-Cream. The waiter scooping the ice-creams was looking at me puzzled and asked, "Are you sure? Ice-cream with that?" and I could only nod excitedly and say, "You should try it yourself. Hot, juicy and crispy with cold, sweet and smooth". The verdict: excellent. It's like doing a hot crumble with ice-cream, but only more sinful. Who cares, I'm a happy boy.
Overall, I found it was a pleasant experience at Straits Kitchen, but food taste and quality wise I suppose I would stick to Grand Hyatt's other restaurants. You may say we can only get the best Singaporean food at the hawker centres (and to a large extent, that is true) but if you want comfort and variety in one place then Straits Kitchen may still be a good option for you :)
$41++ (lunch) and $45++ (dinner) for both weekdays and weekends.
Grand Hyatt Singapore, Level One.
The kitchen for Straits Kitchen is certified Halal, and the restaurant is very stringent about this. However, Straits Kitchen as a whole is not certified Halal because it serves alchoholic drinks (like wine) at the request of customers.
Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.