As a tradition that I've started and have since so faithfully followed, I made sure that the family shared the first meal of the brand new year together. This year we had our lunch at Seafood International, a popular seafood restaurant along East Coast Parkway and at the newly-launched Playground @ Big Splash. What I appreciated about Seafood International was not just it's à la carte buffet lunch, but more so it's "no pork - no lard" menu that is pretty much a rarity in the Singapore seafood scene.
Braised Mini Whole Abalone with Oyster Sauce
We decided to go along with the à la carte buffet lunch (menu available here) because of its decent variety - forty dishes - and amazingly affordable price. The day's appetiser, the Braised Mini Whole Abalone with Oyster Sauce, got the lunch off on a good start. While small, it was sweet, fresh and succulent.
Braised Shark's Fin Soup with Crab Meat
The Braised Shark's Fin Soup with Crab Meat served at this buffet was at its most basic (well, what do you expect from a $25.80++ buffet right?) and I found it far too starchy for my liking.
Sautéed Scallop with Asparagus
Nothing spectacular on the Sautéed Scallop with Asparagus either, and at most parts it was quite bland. I'm sure it started out as a big and juicy scallop but was sliced into much smaller pieces for this light dish.
Deep Fried Rock Garoupa with Soya Sauce
I liked the Deep Fried Rock Garoupa with Soya Sauce. It was crisp from the deep fry but was still sweet and tender inside. Although limited to only one serving, this is still something worth the money for what you're paying for in the buffet.
Steamed Sea Bass with Yellow Bean Sauce
Another one that is limited to a single serving. For a buffet item, the Steamed Sea Bass with Yellow Bean Sauce was fresh, quality stuff.
Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Garlic and Seven Spices Salt
The Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Garlic and Seven Spices Salt was delicious and one of the best items on the buffet menu. Crisp and sweet with a slightly spicy marinate. Munch munch.
Beef Steak with Black Pepper Sauce
I thought the Beef Steak with Black Pepper Sauce was good, but some may find it a tad too chewy because of its thickness. Commendable black pepper sauce.
Crayfish with Sichuan Dry Pepper Sauce
The Crayfish with Sichuan Dry Pepper Sauce was tasty and came out more meaty than I had expected it to be. Lip-smacking.
Deep Fried Beancurd with Conpoy and Mushroom
From here on all the items on a free-flow basis, and they would prove more than enough to fill you up. If you've got the young ones at the table, I'm sure they would love the Deep Fried Beancurd with Conpoy and Mushroom for its sweet sauce and soft fried beancurd.
Sautéed Mixed Vegetable
Only have the Sautéed Mixed Vegetable if you really must have your one serving of greens. Else, why waste space? Haha...
Roasted Duck with Hot Sesame and Garlic Sauce
The Roasted Duck with Hot Sesame and Garlic Sauce was really good. I liked the way it was fried, crispy on the top with the meat still tender underneath, and how the spicy sesame and garlic sauce worked its way with the duck and tantalised the tastebuds.
Crispy Roasted Chicken
In contrast, the Crispy Roasted Chicken was dull, dry and terribly boring. I wouldn't recommend ordering this.
Deep Fried Chicken Mid Joint with Prawn Paste
Have the Deep Fried Chicken Mid Joint with Prawn Paste instead. In fact, have many orders of this, it's pretty awesome. Crispy and juicy chicken mid-joints to please that fried food lover in you ;)
Steamed Crystal Prawn Dumpling
We ordered all five dim sum items on the menu, but only three managed to pass the taste test. The Steamed Crystal Prawn Dumpling was one of the three, but it was also the one that narrowly scrapped through. While it didn't scrimp on the prawn filling, I thought the skin was a bit too hard and chewy.
Steamed Chicken Siew Mai
The Steamed Chicken Siew Mai tasted a tad off, and like the har gow (above), the skin was tough and dry.
Pan Fried Carrot Cake
I like my carrot cake crisp (and even, flaky) on the outside, but the Pan Fried Carrot Cake here was just too smooth and soft. I suppose this depends on your personal preference really.
Pan Fried Prawn Meat Beancurd Sheet Roll
The tasty Pan Fried Prawn Meat Beancurd Sheet Roll was worth multiple orders. The juicy prawn filling went very well with the crisp beancurd skin, even more with the mayo dip. The third decent item (not pictured) was the Steamed BBQ Chicken Bun, which was quite pleasant really - soft pau surrounding a sweet and tender core.
We had to leave our initial plans to have chilli crabs for next time as we were too full, but somehow my sister insisted on ordering the Seafood Beancurd from the à la carte menu for herself. Don't ask me why. It looks good, but I suppose the only bonus is having the same fried beancurd with prawns and squids.
Stewed E-Fu Noodles with Chives
The all-typical noodles that you would normally find at seafood restaurants, the Stewed E-Fu Noodles with Chives was done satisfyingly enough, with a lightness that helped to go with the other items on the table.
Olive Fried Rice
Even better perhaps was the Olive Fried Rice, which was quite flavourful and aromatic. Have a serving or two for yourself, I liked this quite a bit as well.
There's a Desserts buffet line at the main restaurant area with a small variety of Malay kuih, fruits and jellies.
If space permits, have some Green Bean Soup for dessert. Something warm and refreshing after all that seafood.
All-in-all, a very decent buffet lunch that's worth its price tag. You get what you pay for, and a bit more. I would choose this over similarly priced buffets at places like Sakura International Buffet, even if they may have a wider variety of items on offer. Not the greatest, but not too shabby either :)
Very good. It was full-house on a public holiday weekend but the staff still tried to oblige as much as they possibly could.
$25.80++ (weekend) for adults, minimum two to dine.
902 East Coast Parkway
Blk A #01-01 Playground @ Big Splash.
1. No pork, no lard menu.
2. Lunch buffet timing: 11.30am - 2.30pm.
Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.