Located in a corner of the hotel's lobby, the high ceiling and glass walls revealing a panoramic view of the outdoor fountain and garden, the ambience here was memorable and relaxing. The luxurious furniture and indoor plants also upped the grandeur of the place.
Here's a writeup of the buffet spread.
Adjacent to a small selection of cheeses and salad vegetables, there was a cold seafood selection, the cold cuts, seasoned seafood and sashimi:
Crayfish- Rather bland.
Prawns- These were fresh and succulent.
Shelled clam- Topped off with a sweet sauce, I found myself going for seconds.
Seasoned seafood- the baby octopi and pacific clams were pretty tasty.
Service wise, the staff were polite but the plates were sometimes cleared too slowly.
Next to the finger sandwiches and sushi, there was a chef dishing out freshly sliced sashimi. The squid sushi I had was pretty decent- the rice grains were pearly and tasty and the squid tasted fresh. The egg mayo sandwich I had was rather bland though.
There were six different hot dishes:
Moroccan baked fish- Overcooked and weird-tasting.
Chicken drumlets- On the other side of the spectrum, these were undercooked as part of the meat was pink. Tastewise, this was a letdown.
Deep fried vegetables- I had a mushroom and found the batter too hard
Next to the hot dishes, there was a counter where you can assemble your own fajitas and pitas. There was also a limited selection of dim sum in steamers, cauliflower soup with roasted chicken (not bad, try adding in crayfish meat from the cold seafood selection!), and a chef carving and dishing out roasted meats. I had a slice of prime rib which was rather tender.
Now, on to the star attraction of the buffet- the desserts!
There was a wide assortment of cakes (I'm proud to say that I tried every single one of them!), a small platter of sweet sliced fruit and a chocolate fountain.
Pear Tart- Placed in a tiny cup and skewered together with a raspberry (for convenient consumption!). Not bad!
Caramel Exotic/Pound cake with candied orange: Average.
New York cheesecake-Good.
The Raspberry panna cotta/Almond cake with coconut: Boring; the former being rather bland and the latter tasting only of the coconut shreds that topped it.
Mango flan- The fruity jam coupled the soft, fluffy sponge perfectly! Delightful!
Tiramisu with alcohol- The bottom of the sponge was generously soaked in alcohol, making for a woozy but delicious treat. Perhaps the dessert chef should consider serving tiramisu in shooters, I had a difficult and messy time trying to dig up a serving of this from the large bowl it came in .
Crunchy chocolate praline tart- Crunchy chocolate balls sitting in luscious molten chocolate fudge, all encased in a chocolate boat. A must try for chocoholics!
What's afternoon tea without British scones? Disappointingly, the ones served here resembled cupcakes in texture- where are those buttery, crusty, fluffy babies that I love? Although I haven't had one before, I suspect that the ones served here were meant to be American scones which are supposedly rich, dense and cakelike. The bread and butter pudding was a letdown too.
Finally, there was also a station serving up ice cream, piping hot Brussels waffles, and chocolate lava cake!
Chocolate lava cake
The waffles and crisp (probably baked-in-house) ice cream cone were decent on their own as well, but match them with The Dining Room's simply glorious vanilla ice cream and you'll definitely be in heaven! No doubt, this is quality ice cream, for one can easily spot the black vanilla bean specks in the addictively fragrant, creamy frozen confection.
Don't forget to generously drizzle on maple syrup onto your waffles, and remember to mop up all that molten chocolate that oozes out of the lava cake with vanilla ice cream!
Sunday afternoon tea: $32.80++ for adults (4-for-3 promotion by Citibank, ending today)