After a 42 minute train ride from town, and a 12 minute walk from Woodlands MRT station under the hot sun, I arrived at a patch grassland overlooking Republic Polytehnic. There was no restaurant in sight, only a big red signboard which sprouted out of nowhere of Admiralty Park.
Only when you reached the sign (like an Amazing Race detour), you would then strangely realise there was a staircase which went below ground level. The surprise did not end there. As you walked in this buffet restaurant, the glass panes beyond revealed a park, pond and alfresco dining. And it was packed on a Saturday afternoon. How did these people find this place?
Sakura International Buffet, priced at $21+ for a weekday lunch and $25+for dinner, offered 100 different varieties of food items from sushi, sashimi, dimsum, fried noodles, teppanyaki to cheesecake.
The area was massive, with people piling up plates of everything. Of course the lobster, softshell crabs, prawns and scallops disappeared before you barely saw them appearing. Obese children were running around (and I think parents should stop bringing them to buffets but run at Admiralty Park), and some patrons looked like they have not eaten for a week. Maybe they hadn’t.
Complains such as ‘low quality food’, ‘mediocre sushi’ and ‘slow service’ could be found in many web comments, but we really could not come expecting Shangri La. If you have tried one Sakura, you probably had a good idea how the other branches would fare. And nowadays, three red notes could not get us much.
My tip would be, if an item looked bad, chances are it is. Stick to two reasonable cakes rather than struggling with the other six for the sake of trying. Also, save your calories for freshly fried food items, teppanyaki grills and hotplates as they at least arrived piping hot. When in doubt, use the distributed ‘clips’ where you could request for freshly-prepared food.
Reasonably priced halal buffet places are rare. If you are in a navigation hunting mode, it is time to explore this ‘underground’ restaurant by the park.
Sakura International Buffet, Admiralty Park, 31 Riverside Road, Tel:+65 6368 8197
Daily: 12pm–2.30pm, 6pm–9.30pm