I heard Clipper Lounge was holding a Japanese-themed buffet so I made reservations two weeks prior to our dinner here. We were given a table with a sofa on one side and chairs on the other - the sofa was rounded and same length as the table so it was rather annoying to get in and out of! What if I were large?
Okay to the food: in general not very many choices for a dinner buffet, but I thought execution is more important and Clipper Lounge did mostly well in executing their dishes!
For Cold Dishes, I tried: salad bar - grilled yellow and zucchini squash/ red and green peppers dressed with pesto and pine nuts: excellent! Tomato and mozzarella balls: these were good quality vine-tomatoes (not cherry!) and cute small mozzarellas with a hint of balsamic dressing - again, very fresh and good. Iced peeled shrimps: Bouncy and good with cocktail sauce Iced Alaskan crab legs: I really appreciated the way it was presented - you don't have to get messy eating the huge legs as they are cut precisely in half so all you do is take out the meat. The meat was slightly salted, which was good, often hotels don't quite know how to prepare them and they end up tasting way too salty and 'drowned' - i.e. the meat no longer intact. Iced tiger prawns: these were bad - the meat did not taste of anything and it was 'chewy' and hard rather than bouncy and fresh like the smaller peeled shrimps. Sashimi/sushi - sweet shrimp, lean tuna, smoked mackerel sushi : The sweet shrimps were my favourite - even though small they were fresh and sweet! The tuna was alright, but mackerel was bad. I don't like raw salmon, but everyone else liked it - they were 'fatty enough'.
The Hot Dishes: Teriyaki Salmon: Very well executed - fish was cooked perfectly and remained warm on their stove, with a hint of teriyaki flavour. Miso Cod: This fish is very fatty - oilier than the salmon but that just means more omega-3! it paired well with the miso marinade (although quite light in flavour) and again, cooked well. Soup: For the western soup they had a very rich and creamy tomato soup that had fresh blended mushrooms in it - really good with the bread they provided (but the bread by itself was not as good as i expected MO to provide). And they also had a miso soup which had a good amount of tofu cubes and seaweed and was not salty as it can be in many Japanese restaurants. Tempura: I think these were really really good. They remained crisp even though after sitting a while - the batter was thin and fried till golden brown - a lot better than the one at harbourside I had a couple of weeks ago! The shrimps were small but fresh, and the eggplant was very good. I would've liked to see more variety of fried items like pumpkin or sweet potato, rather than the not-so-popular green/red peppers. Tonkatsu pork These were nice lean porkchops coated in panko and deep fried till brown and crunch! Although the piece I ate was only luke warm the outer crust was still crunchy and the curry sauce was good. oden: Oden was not great but not bad either - slightly too light in flavour in my opinion. beef sukiyaki: This was presented very nicely - thin slices of medium cooked beef on top of noodles and radish. Apart from the radish which was way too undercooked, it was tasty. Yeung Chow Fried Rice: I am a sucker for fried rice so I just had to taste theirs. They had duck and shrimp meat in the rice, which was slightly spicy - I liked the taste but i would've preferred the rice to be more dry? Garlic Broccoli: This was a bit oily but good in taste - I love garlic so no complaints.
For dessert I tried the following: bread and butter pudding - too buttery and the top was not crisp like I would like my bread puddings. Sauce was good though, and custard was well-set. Fruit salad: Not good - had dragonfruit, melon and canteloupe...blehh. Chocolate mud cake: This was my favourite! rich ganache with cake inside. MO cheesecake: Not bad but not great either. Panna cotta w/ strawberry syrup: Wayy too soft! Sweetness was good but texture-wise it was wrong. Black sesame mousse: I appreciated the toasted sesame and the tapioca pearls but the mousse was again just too light/soft! not too sweet =) brownie: Their chocolate brownie was tiny - a good size after sampling so many others! it was crisp on top but had an unnecessary layer of bad plain cookie on the bottom. Chocolate ganache tart: A really good rich tart which can be consumed in two bites. Vanilla mousse/cream: Very normal and not very good at all.
I would say this buffet for $330 a head + $110 if you want free-flow of selected drinks (including house wines and juices) is very affordable. Their cold and hot dishes are much better than I expected, but they fail on the desserts sadly (hence the 3/5). Not only was the above-mentioned desserts just average or disappointing, they did not serve ice cream, which I think should be included in all hotel buffets as a standard?
Lastly, I ordered a cappuccino to end my meal with. The lack of foam reminded me more of a latte, but the coffee was really good. No bitterness even without sugar - it reminded me of a cappuccino I've tried before but I simply cannot recall where. Anyhow this was a good cuppaa!