There is just SO MUCH FOOD at Aquamarine. After recceing one round to survey the foods, I must say this buffet restaurant at Marina Mandarin has quite a huge spread, usually known for the Singapore Chilli Crab, Grilled Beef Striploin infused with Garlic & Five Spices, Assam Fish Head Curry, and colourful variety of desserts of every kind. (Read: 5 Ways to Avoid Overeating at The Buffet Restaurant)
There are not many Halal hotel buffets in Singapore (the other more familiar ones being Carousel and Straits Kitchen), and Aquamarine has recently received its Halal certification. Good consideration if you need to organise a company or group dinner where there are Muslim friends and colleagues.
For the month of March there is a “Flavours of Siam” special, where guest Chef Aek Charttrakul and his team from Bangkok’s Suan Dusit International Culinary School are invited over. For a young chef at 35, he does prepare quite a notable spread of familiar Thai favourites such as Spicy Glass Noodles Salad, Rice Cracker with Chilli Prawn Curry, Stir-fried Snapper with Chili Sauce, Tom Yum Goong, and Pad Thai.
So I suppose my ‘job’ here is to tell you which dishes to pick, and those you can choose to save your calories.
My sense is Chef Charttrakul’s team is better in its curry dishes, so do pick the Green Curry with Braised Beef, Massaman Beef with Mild Red Curry Sauce, Red Curry with Roast Duck, and Yellow Curry Crab (it was soft-shell crab) if you come across them.
While they must not look too appealing visually in buffet conditions (messy plating and gravies all over the place), the curries were fragrant and lemak coconut-y rich. In fact, I observed that the gravies were swooped first before the meats in their containers.
The favourites among everybody in the media table include the Pandan Chicken, initially so troublesome and oily to remove from the leaves. But when you get across the obstacle, the chicken is so tasty-sweet, chunky tender, and reminds me exactly what those from the streets of Bangkok. The Thai fish cakes are also not bad, but only if you add the sweet chili sauce.
The other is the Tom Kha Gai – chicken in galangal and coconut-infused soup – delicately prepared with a myriad of sweet-sour-salty-spicy flavours all in one. I generally prefer this soup more than the Tom Yum Goong as it has a less robust taste, but more comforting to the tummy.
As with most other buffets, there are some hits and misses. Some of my usual ‘Thai classics’ such as the Beef Kway Tiao soup and Pad Thai were ordinary and bland. You wished you didn’t have those carbs so that you have more space for the desserts.
Most of the Thai dishes are not that spicy and strong, possibly modified to suit local tastes. So while it loses some of its authenticity, this buffet is more able to appeal to the masses. Otherwise, you can always attack what Aquamarine has always been known for – Seafood. Crabs, oysters, prawns, sashimi – do I need to say more?
Buffet Lunch: $58++ (adult), $29++ (child)
Weekday Buffet Dinner: $68++ (adult), $34++ (child)
Weekend Buffet Dinner: $78++(adult), $39++ (child)
Level 4 Marina Mandarin Singapore, 6 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square (City Hall, Esplanade MRT), Singapore 039594, Tel:+65 6845 1111
Opening Hours: Buffet Lunch: 12pm-2:30pm, Buffet Dinner: 6:30pm-10:30pm (Daily)
Other Buffet Entries
5 Ways to Avoid Overeating at The Buffet Restaurant
10 at Claymore (Pan Pacific Orchard)
Plaza Brasserie (Park Royal)
Silver Shell Café (Shangri La Rasa Sentosa)
Sakura International Buffet (Admiralty Park)