A good range of Antipastos, (or “before the meal”, the traditional first course of a formal Italian meal) offered by the restaurant were a delightful welcome – at a quick glance, there were at least seven to eight different varieties.
It helped that HFB’s favourite Parma Ham with Rock Melon was on the house and that along with some Grilled Mediterranean Vegetables.
Tempting selections of bite-size appetisers were also on the offering, and eventually HFB succumbed to the Foie Gras Terrine on Toast – which he thought was pretty buttery in a good way, although the bread was slightly lacklustre (probably due to it being exposed for some time).
Eventually he moved on to the hot food and surprisingly, the Crayfish with Spicy Sauce was a nice treat – meaty and firm, the spiciness of the gravy provides a subtle hint of flavour.
Another round of ovation to the numerous medleys of ala-minute dishes made available to diners. How could HFB resist the enticement of freshly cooked Italian-styled Mussels cooked and dished out on the spot? Although HFB would preferred the mussels to be slightly bigger, he was charmed that Black Mussels were used instead of the poorer Green-lip cousins (frowned upon).
However, the highlight of the night truly belonged to the Crab promotion that The Square is currently running – freshly fired only when ordered – this was another nice welcome compared to the many others that served theirs in bulk on the bain-marie. HFB was told that the mud crabs were from Indonesia and typical serving portion was half a crab for 2 pax. However, one can definitely order as many crabs as desired throughout the dinner (as long as you do not tabao home). Three styles were on the offering – Pepper, Chilli and Garlic. HFB hit the jackpot with the pepper crab – sauce was robust, with a nice aromatic and intense flavour from the black peppercorns. This was a very good rendition!
HFB felt the Chilli Crab was a tad sweet for his liking – the Thai sweet chilli used was pretty evident, but he was pretty sure that many would argue otherwise. A side serving of Fried Mantou though, would be a nice pairing.
To be honest, this was the first time HFB had tried his hands on garlic styled crab, and sadly it didn’t do enough to convince him - the gravy was too starchy and leaned towards the bland side.
In general, there were many positives to be taken away from this buffet dinner and he was pleased that an establishment had taken an initiative to set themselves apart with some heartening improvements.
Disclaimer: No ratings would be given, as this is an invited taste test. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Hoong An, Hungrygowhere and The Square Restaurant for their hospitality.
177A River Valley Road
#07-00, Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay
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