Rarely do I get so excited about a buffet restaurant. Colony at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore where Greenhouse was, has opened with gorgeous British-colonial setting, eight different conservatory kitchens incorporating live cooking, offering Singapore heritage cuisine and more. (Reserve Online Now – Colony)
There was a period when I was a judge of the “Best Buffet Restaurants In Singapore” and that categorically got me into the buffet game. I would pay more attention to details such as freshness, variety, arrangement of dishes (the food narrative), service and the X-factor.
I can confidently say, Colony would have scored highly in all these categories, adding a touch of class.
If you are a fan of those ‘live cooking stations’ where food is prepared on the spot and diners can customise according to what they like, this is FOR YOU.
Colony has EIGHT of them called “conservatory kitchens”, spread across, which makes the dining experience more interactive and pleasurable. (Warning: lots of food photos ahead.)
The Ice Bar
THE section that I know many will gravitate towards – the crustaceans, cold cuts and salads. What you witness are rows and rows of fresh seafood such as king crab legs, half scallops, black mussels, poached ‘live’ prawns and thick cuts of vibrant-coloured sashimi.
Freshly shucked oysters are available during brunch and dinner.
The Grill & Rotisserie
There are two parts to this: A selection of Western grills such as Beef Wellington, Beef and Stout Stew and Beer Battered Cod Fillet; and the other Asian meats of Iberico Suckling Pig with Balinese Spices, Grilled Satay and Cantonese-style Roast.
This is also where you get the Chicken Rice. Must try.
It is remarkable but my female dining partner who does not usually take carbs went full on for the chicken rice, which she described as “aromatic, tasty, full of flavours”.
I concur. The chicken meats were also tender, which chef’s secret formula was said to “keep the chicken dancing”. I suppose this is industrial secret of dunking the chicken several times.
The Steam Basket
For the dim sum items, Asian noodles and soups. Guess where I hurried to first of all the “conservatory kitchens”?
I like to start my buffet meal off with a hot bowl of piping soup or noodles. After noticing the ‘shi fu’ (Chinese chef), I couldn’t help but request for him to do a live demonstration of hand-pulled la mian.
In a manner of minutes, he transformed the round dough of flour into long thin threads of noodles. This is skill.
While you are here, it is a necessity to leave with the signature Colony Laksa with Homemade Lobster Ball. The gravy is lemak (coconut-y), mildly spicy and out-and-out satisfaction. (Recommendation: Pair the laksa with vermicelli and lighter supreme chicken soup with the la mian.)
Local wok-fried delicacies with highlights of Singapore chilli crab and seafood fried rice with XO Sauce.
Of all the stations, this is my absolute favourite. Surprised? This is what I call simple (maybe not so simple) zhi-char dishes, absolute comfort food full of wok-hei.
Other than the Cereal Prawn, Kungpao Chicken and Stir-Fried Kailan, I ate clean my plate full of Pork Trotter’s Bee Hoon added with sambal chili, which happens to remind of my childhood favourite.
There is this taste of nostalgia that is hard to replicate elsewhere, and Chef described that three different sources of pork trotters go into making this one dish alone. He went on to tempt me by saying this dish may be not there all the time, and sometimes diners may get Crab Beehoon instead.
Where the spices and aroma collide. Other than the crispy roti prata, Indian cuisine lovers can have their fill of assorted naans, idly, prawn kali mirchi, and lasooni lamb steak.
The Indian meats, seafood and breads are still cooked in traditional Tandoor ovens, retaining those rustic flavours.
There must be a reason why the dessert section is placed right at the entrance. Sweet temptations are hard to resist.
To go in line with the theme of ‘Colony’, there is a wide range of cakes from the modern to the traditional. On one side are several Instagram-worthy cakes from the Mango Mousse, Chocolate Cake, Bread and Butter Pudding to exquisite looking tarts of all kinds. On the other side are assorted nonya kueh such as the kueh lapis and Indian sweets.
The pièce de résistance here was the Crêpe Suzette, freshly prepared live, cooked in caramelised sauce poured with Grand Marnier, topped with ice cream which included some local flavours such as the Gula Melaka. (I don’t think I see this in any other buffet restaurants any where else.)
It is easy to miss this segment as it is on the other side opposite the patisserie. Now you know. Freshly baked breads, pastries and sandwiches are part of the breakfast spread. The unique item within this section is the Upper Crust, comprising of cookie crust and muffin base
From 12pm to 10pm, select danishes and pastries will be available for takeaway from $4.50 per piece.
The Fruit Stall
Instead of the usual flavours, you can choose your own fruits from the cooler and create your own juice. How cool is that.
Also look out for the “Juice Of The Day” for some special concoctions.
The other highlight I need to mention is the décor and the space, designed by award-winning New York based designer Tony Chi.
Comfort and ambience is very important to me, even for a buffet restaurant which is commonly known to be busy and buzzing.
Colonial has that elegant British-colonial charm with its vintage furniture, plus a touch of nostalgic with a mix of ethnic music styles . The space feels liberating with its tail ceiling and natural sunlight coming in during the daytime.
A culinary journey through Singapore’s heritage cuisines. Indeed, one of my favourite hotel buffet restaurants in Singapore to date.
Breakfast 6.30am – 10:30am Daily
$45 per adult, $22.50 per child (6 – 12 years of age)
Lunch 12pm – 2:30pm Mon-Sat
$58 per adult, $29 per child
Dinner 6.30pm – 10.30pm Daily
$78 per adult, $39 per child (Sun-Thurs)
$88 per adult, $44 per child (Fri-Sat)
Champagne Afternoon Tea 3.30 pm – 5.30 pm Mon – Sat
British-style three-tier afternoon tea set with a glass of Louis Roederer NV Brut $49 per person
Vintage Champagne Brunch 12pm – 3:30pm Sun
$188* per adult
* Inclusive of unlimited Louis Roederer Brut Vintage 2008 and Brut Rosé 2009, selected cocktails/mocktails, house pour red/white wines, draft beer and soft drinks
$138 per adult^, $94 per child^ (6 – 12 years), $47 per child^ (3 – 5 years)
^ Inclusive of unlimited soft drinks and fruit flavoured sparkling mineral water
* This entry is brought to you in partnership with The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore