Beyond Pancakes at Marina Square

Beyond Pancakes
03-131A Marina Square
6 Raffles Blvd
Singapore 039594
Online reservations: click here
Phone reservations: +65 6884 6884

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 11am to 10pm
Sat-Sun: 10am to 10pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Recommended dishes: Pannenkoek Nachos Set (S$10.90), Le Poulet savoury pancake (S$14.90)

Hey guys!! Can you believe it’s a week to Christmas? So many things to get done, so little time. I usually look forward to some down time towards the end of the year but things aren’t looking like they’ll let up, ugh. Also, I just read about the food crisis in Venezuela where babies are dying from malnutrition because the oil-rich country’s been severely impacted by economic mismanagement coupled with declining oil prices. To make things worse, the government isn’t accepting foreign aid because it’s adamant on maintaining that the country is just fine. I DON’T EVEN UNDERSTAND. UGH. You guys can read all about it here.

Anyway a couple of weeks ago I was invited to try out the menu at Beyond Pancakes, a halal-certified joint at Marina Square serving up (you guessed it) pancakes! It’s pretty special though – they don’t just have regular breakfast/dessert pancakes but also Dutch and French-style savoury pancakes, respectively called pannenkoek and galette.

The restaurant was the brainchild of Tiru, who brings with him 10 years’ experience of working in European restaurants in Singapore. After honing his expertise in these establishments, he set out to open his own joint and decided to make it halal-certified to be more inclusive. I 100% approve. (Next up, please make a halal version of Morton’s thanks.)

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#Alhamdulillah

I’ll leave photos of the menu towards the end of the post but for now let’s dive into the dining experience!

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The entrance

I first ordered the Avocado Juice (S$8.90) since my mum is a huge fan off avocado drinks and I wanted to QC it for her:

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Avocado Juice (S$8.90) – 8/10

The consistency is quite light and not too thick, unlike say the Es Alpukat from Ayam Penyet Ria. It was also lightly flavoured with honey so the drink isn’t too sweet. I quite enjoyed it, although there was some graininess almost like it was a chiku drink. Also I may have been tripping but I thought the taste was a little reminiscent of persimmon, so that could be a draw/drawback depending on the individual. I would consider ordering next time although the price point is rather high. 8/10

For starters we got a tasting portion of the Pannenkoek Nachos Set (S$10.90), featuring nachos, mozarella cheese, avocado, sunny side up egg, onions, olives and capsicum served with various dips. there was the cheese sauce dip, the spring onion dip, cheesy sundried tomary dip, and tangy tomato salsa.

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Pannenkoek Nachos Set (S$10.90) – 8/10

OK so this was interesting. I was expecting the nachos to be a little lemau (stale) but surprisingly they retained their crispiness. The mozzarella wasn’t as melty as I would have liked (which is maybe why the nachos remained crispy) but the DIPS! OMG.

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Clockwise from left: cheesy sundried tomato, spring onion and sour cream, cheese, and tangy tomato salsa.

OKAY I could not get enough of the sundried tomato dip!! It was super tasty and went really well with the nacho. The spring onion and sour cream dip was also really refreshing and light, while the cheesy sauce is a safe and predictable choice. The tangy tomato salsa was the weakest link for me though – it was a little too like raw tomatoes. Def worshipping the cheesy sundried tomato dip. 8/10 for this starter.

We moved on to the savoury pancake section and went for the Le Poulet (S$14.90), featuring grilled chicken strips with capsucum, onion, cherry tomatoes and homemade honey mustard sauce, served with mushroom/spring onion pancakes.

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Le Poulet (S$14.90) – 8.5/10

I didn’t expect to like this so much but this was my favourite of the night. The pancakes were fluffy and savoury, and the grilled chicken strips were quite tender and flavourful. Hated the onions but it was nbd I pushed them aside. I wish they had drizzled more honey mustard sauce on the chicken/pancakes because the dish did feel quite dry. I suggested to Tiru maybe like some honey sriracha sauce to go along with it – that would’ve been the bombzzzz dot com. 8.5/10

For our second main we tried the Saumon Fumé galette (S$16.90) comprising smoked salmon, zucchini strips, mozzarella cheese, sunny side up on a bed of pesto sauce and served with crème fraîche:

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Saumon Fumé (S$16.90) – 7/10

The first thing I noticed was that the crêpe-like base of this Galette was a little too thin. It def didn’t hold up under the weight of the ingredients, so we cut them into slices and roll them up before eating. We initially forgot about the crème fraîche so we found it a little dry and lacking in taste, but after the crème fraîche it did taste a little more refreshing and balanced. I also liked the zucchini strips adding crunch to the otherwise all-soft texture of this dish. I wish the strips were a little more substantial though. Not my favourite dish. 7/10

Just as we thought we were done, Tiru whipped us up a tasting portion of the dessert pancake comprising one Original Pancake (S$5.90 for 2 pieces) and one Chocolate Chip Pancake (S$7.90 for 2 pieces).

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The Original Pancakes is $5.90 for 2 pieces, and the Chocolate Chip Pancakes are $7.90 for 2 pieces.

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Original ($5.90 for 2) and Chocolate Chip (S$7.90 for 2) Pancakes – 7.5/10

Yum, I’ll say that Beyond Pancakes does a good, fluffy pancake! There isn’t an annoying baking soda taste, and the texture is really good! The chocolate chips were a little burnt, which is not the worst I guess, but not great. As for the original, it would’ve been good if it had been served with better butter, but the butter we got was unsalted and really very plain. I would’ve preferred salted butter or cultured butter to add more taste, as unsalted butter feels like you’re just eating tasteless slick. 7.5/10

All in all, I had a good time at Beyond Pancakes. I feel like service is a little casual and could use some polish, and the menu could use some refining. It’s a WAYYYY extensive menu with like pancakes and burgers and pasta and pizza – how will the kitchen manage that on a busy day? Plus if they focused on some key items and make that their specialty, I think it could do them some good. (OMG am I a restaurateur now?!)  I haven’t tried the more pedestrian items like the pasta etc but personally I would focus on the pancakes in future. I can definitely see myself coming here if I’m hankering for some fluffy pancakes, or just to have a taste of their dessert pancakes after dinner somewhere.

As promised, here are photos of the menu!

Beyond Pancakes
03-131A Marina Square
6 Raffles Blvd
Singapore 039594
Online reservations: click here
Phone reservations: +65 6884 6884

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 11am to 10pm
Sat-Sun: 10am to 10pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Recommended dishes: Pannenkoek Nachos Set (S$10.90), Le Poulet savoury pancake (S$14.90)

 

 

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El Cubanos at Short St (Selegie)

El Cubanos
1A Short St #01-01
Singapore 188210
Tel: +65 9162 5540

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 12pm to 11pm
Sat: 4pm to 1am
Closed on Sundays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 10/10
Average spend per pax: S$11 including a drink
Recommended dishes: Signature Pulled Beef Cubano with Cajun Fries (S$8.80), Grilled Chicken Cubano with Cajun Fries (S$8.50)

WHERE DID THE WEEKEND GO YOU GUYS 😭😭. I always dream of having a super nua stay-in weekend where I sequester myself at home and get my life in order, like do some laundry, tidy up, maybe go for a run, take naps, and get caught up on my favourite TV shows. For some reason it never happens and I always end up going out. Half of me is just this lazy homebody, and the other half always has major #FOMO ugh.

Anyway this weekend I managed to squeeze in a couple of brunches, did two loads of laundry AND blazed through 5 episodes of Stranger Things Season 2 omg. HAVE YOU GUYS WATCHED IT?! It’s so great.

You know what’s also great though? THE SANDWICHES FROM EL CUBANOS 👅💦😭💯.

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Just look at this.

My friend and I meet up for lunch once every couple of weeks and we usually try a halal place that’s anywhere between our two offices. Couple weeks ago it was The Big Cheese (review to come!), and this week it was El Cubanos!

Located just off Selegie Road at 1A Short St, El Cubanos serves up Cuban-style pressed sandwiches as their specialty. Think grilled cheese panini but with a generous serving of meats as well. SO SO GOOD.

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The El Cubanos Storefront

Here is the menu display at the shop:

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“Good people serving good food to make you feel good” – I a hundred percent support

I had the Signature Pulled Beef Cubano with Cajun Fries (S$8.80), which featured a pressed pulled beef and cheese sandwich with jalapeños, served with a side of cajun fries:

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Signature Pulled Beef Cubano with Cajun Fries (S$8.80) – 10/10!!! ❤️

OK not even kidding but the first bite was transcendental. I still remember it so, so vividly. The bread was crisp on the outside, and the pulled beef within was just so tender and flavourful and cheesy. It was really sublime, and I recall just melting into a delirium of sounds as I consumed the rest of the sandwich.

UGHHHHH the beef was really so juicy and there were heaps of it too in the sandwich. There were a couple of jalapeño slices adding mild heat. Also loved the fries with the savoury Cajun seasoning. They reminded me of 4 Fingers fries in terms of texture. But of course it was the Cuban sandwich that stole the show. 10/10

My friend got the Spiced Up Grilled Chicken Cubanos with Cajun Fries ($8.50) in extra spicy:

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Spiced Up Grilled Chicken Cubano (S$8.50) on top, Signature Pulled Beef Cubano (S$8.80) below.

So my friend and I swapped one half of our sandwiches with each other’s so we could have the best of both worlds. I really liked the grilled chicken version too, except that it somehow had more onion inside. Also pulled beef is way shreddier and juicier so I’m giving this grilled chicken cubano a 9.5/10.

The both of us left the place feeling thoroughly satisfied and also kicking ourselves for not having discovered it way earlier! Literally, we were texting later that Friday about how we were still thinking about the sandwich. Next morning, he joked that he “dreamt he was eating the cubano and woke up to find his pillow gone” LOLLLL DEAD. Seriously, I was thinking about it all weekend and we’ve already fixed another date later this week to go again 😀

Service is pleasant, the ambience is terrific (look at all the Cuban photographs and paraphernalia adorning the walls!) and they have good Cuban/Latin music to put you in the mood. I went to Cuba in 2015 and being here just brings me right back. It makes me wonder if we have any sort of Cuban expat (exiles?! ok maybe émigrés.) here in Singapore because if so I hope they know about this place.

YOU GUYS HAVE TO VISIT!!!

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Getting sassed by this t-shirt.

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Post swap: Chicken cubano on top, pulled beef cubano below

El Cubanos
1A Short St #01-01
Singapore 188210
Tel: +65 9162 5540

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 12pm to 11pm
Sat: 4pm to 1am
Closed on Sundays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 10/10
Average spend per pax: S$11 including a drink
Recommended dishes: Signature Pulled Beef Cubano with Cajun Fries (S$8.80), Grilled Chicken Cubano with Cajun Fries (S$8.50)

Saltwater Cafe Buffet at Changi Village Hotel

Saltwater Cafe
1 Netheravon Road
Changi Village Hotel Level 1
Singapore 508502
Phone Reservations: +65 6379 7017
Online Reservations: click here

Opening Hours
630pm to 10pm daily for buffet dinner

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Buffet price: S$39++ per pax for Mon-Thu (without the Chill & Grill), or S$48++ per pax for Fri-Sun (with the Chill & Grill)

Recommended dishes: Snow crab legs, fresh oysters, salmon sashimi, nyonya stingray, salted egg crab, pengat durian, bread pudding

GUYSSSS why has work (and life in general) been so stressful this month?! I swear I legit had several of those moments where I wish I were 5 again with barely any responsibilities. Except for attending K1 classes I guess. I remember once in class we were supposed to draw a bus based on this cartoon picture the teacher gave us. It was a shot of the bus from the front – but at a slight angle – so you could see part of the body off to the side. I absolutely could NOT deal with the spatial aspects of drawing a 3-D bus, so I just drew a 2D bus – a bus profile, if you will. It was the saddest thing ever 😦

Also, this past week has seen the release of six extracts from Malaysian-born billionaire Robert Kuok’s memoirs on South China Morning Post! They’re fascinating – you guys should check it out here.

Finally on to food – have you guys heard of halal-certified Saltwater Cafe at Changi Village Hotel? I hadn’t heard of it but I was recently invited to try out their dinner buffet so off I went!

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I was there to try the Weekend Chill & Grill dinner buffet featuring an international spread as well as a live grill station outside the cafe!

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Chill & Grill Options

So let me take you through the spread that evening.

I) COLD STARTERS

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Mussels and fresh prawns omg look how plump!!

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Giant snow crab legs!!

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A super blurry photo of the oysters because I was way too excited!!

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They have these nifty crab scissors for you to cut through the snow crab legs!! And a bowl of lemon water for you to rinse your hand with – you can get them replaced every time it gets dirty, but also there’s a bathroom right after the entrance of the cafe, on the inside! One needn’t worry about switching from hand-food to cutlery-food and back!

OK so this was my first plate:

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Plump prawns, ONE mussel, fresh oysters, snow crab leg and some pickled ginger peeking out from the bottom of the picture.

Cold starters verdict: I died and went to seafood heaven, basically. The prawns were super plump and juicy, I couldn’t get enough of them. I tried one mussel which was a bit of a non-event. The oysters were a little thin, i.e. not as plump as I would’ve preferred but they were still decent!! I LOVED the snow crab legs – the flesh was slightly salty and really succulent.  9.5/10

II) Salads, Sushi & Sashimi

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So much carrot on the beef salad ugh no. Octopus salad looked interesting though.

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Mozzarella looks enticing!

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Assorted sushi! There was also salmon sashimi but I forgot to take an individual picture of the sashimi 😦 You guys can check out pictures of my first plate tho where there are a few slices of sash.

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Essentials. Also I LOVE pickled ginger!!!

Salads and sushi verdict: OK first of all I’m SO sorry I forgot to take a photo of the salmon sashimi 😭 I was too excited to eat them!! Secondly, I mean, I literally skipped all the salads and even the sushi. I straight up just had like 10 slices of salmon sashimi 😩👅💦 DEF loved the salmon sashimi which were fresh and pretty good!

III) Mains

I found myself quite impressed with how the buffet had a variety of main dishes to cater to different tastes. Literally, there was every kind of protein – mutton, beef, chicken, fish, duck, and of course, CRAB.

OK this is where I confess I ignored absolutely everything else in the mains line up and zeroed in on the crab like it was a Walmart TV set on Black Friday.

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Salted egg crab omg!! DELISHUSSSSSSSS.

It was worth it. The salted egg crab sauce was creamy, salty, and sweet all at once. It’s got bits of curry leaves which of course are the magic ingredient in every salted egg sauce worth… its… salt. (OK you can call the pun police on me for this offence.)

Towards the end of my meal, when I’d had my fill of seafood, I also tried the oxtail stew:

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Oxtail stew yum yum

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Mmmm glistening

The oxtail stew was pretty good!! The carrots were soft and juicy, and the oxtail meat was rather succulent. I did think the stew would’ve been better if it had been more heated up, but that’s me. I love piping hot soup. The higher your chances of going to the A&E with a semi-cooked oesophagus, the better. (Please don’t report me I swear I’m not crazy).

Here’s all the other dishes:

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Oof mutton curry looks legit. It’s like midnight right now as I’m typing this, fully regretting not eating it during the buffet 😭😭

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Baked cajun chicken! I did not realise cajun cooking looked like this.

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This looks crazy tasty.

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Teriyaki fish with so, so many cherry tomatoes

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Wow these braised ducks look so taut and shiny

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A closer look at that sheen on them braised ducks

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Why are the broccolis so underrepresented here? I so much prefer them to cauliflower fr.

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Wok-fried bee hoon, but seriously, who can spare the stomach space for this?

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OK this looked more appetizing than the bee hoon so I tried literally a spoonful of it. It was aiiight.

Mains Verdict: Great variety for everyone, although the highlight for me definitely was the salted egg crab!!! They really got the sauce right for this one.

IV) The Chill & Grill Station

So every Fri-Sun, the buffet includes a Chill & Grill station outside where fresh meats, seafood, and vegetables are grilled on-site by the restaurant chefs. I LOVE that you get to pick whatever food you want to be grilled at the counter, leave your table number with the staff, and then have the food delivered to your table once they’re cooked. It’s a great system and it’s just the best.

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Items available for grilling

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A truly terrible photo of the beef tomahawk steak, I’m so sorry

Here’s what I had from the Chill & Grill section:

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Clockwise from left: Tomahawk steak, scallops, tiger prawns, lamb chop

So for me, the tiger prawns were the star of the grill station. And okay I think all the non-seafood lovers have long since given up on this review lol. SORRY GUYS. I love seafood so much 😭. For real though the prawns were just really fresh so it doesn’t take much beyond some simple grilling to make them taste good.

The lamb chops were also really juicy and flavourful even without any additional sauce. Special mention also goes to the grilled asparagus (not pictured lol) which still had decent snap while being really tasty.

Although I looked forward to trying the tomahawk steak, I was a little let down. The steak was quite dry! I had ordered it in medium, and while I thought it looked pink enough (ref picture below), it just was not juicy :/ I also couldn’t find mustard anywhere to go with the beef – when I asked one of the staff near the grill, he said “all the sauces are inside.” I couldn’t find it though, which was sad.

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The tomahawk steak – even from here you can see it’s a little dry, no?

The scallops here take a major L for tasting as insipid as they looked. Boy they really should’ve grilled them with some butter or something. Butter hotate is for real my fave. To be fair, there are plenty of condiments available for you to flavour your food, but I don’t know I prefer natural jus with basic salt/pepper/butter when it comes to grilling. (Unless you’re talking about satay because that’s a whole other thing).

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Sambal belacan, asian BBQ sauce, Thai chilli sauce and belacan cincalok!

Speaking of cincalok, it’s usually really good with SAMBAL STINGRAY, and guess what at the al fresco Chill & Grill station there was also a platter of nyonya stingray:

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The picture is ugly but the stingray is DELICIOUS trust me.

Guys, I mean. The portion was just phenomenal and I took as much as I could while trying not to ruin my appetite for everything else. The sauce wasn’t exactly like the kind you have in sambal stingray – this one was rather spicy and lightly sour thanks to the pineapples. Very, very yummy. The stingray flesh itself was plump, fresh and delightful to bite into.

Chill & Grill Station Verdict: Hits and misses. DEF go for the tiger prawns, lamb chops, grilled asparagus, and the nyonya stingray. Maybe give the scallops a miss.

V) DIY Food Stations

So they had a laksa station, a rojak station, as well as a kueh pie tee station where you can DIY your own serving and put in as much of each ingredient as you want! Out of these three, I only tried the laksa:

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I LOVE QUAIL EGGS IN EVERYTHING UGHHHHHH

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LAKSAAAAA

Okay I was a little disappointed with this laksa – the gravy was too thick and not tasty enough. It fell a little flat for me. However I did still enjoy it because I love all laksa and fishcake and quail’s eggs and taupok lol.

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Nodding while doing this 🤔

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That jar cover was really the one thing standing in the way of making my own kueh pie tee. It’s one effort too many to lift that up and try to put it aside somewhere.

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Rojak Station! Also efforttttttt.

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Ingredients for the rojak

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I actually really love rojak sauce ugh but idk the ingredients did not look too inspiring so I strategically left this out.

DIY Stations verdict: Fun for those who like to feel like they’re cooking, or like they’re in control of whatever they’re eating. Otherwise, I’d give them a miss in favour of other more delicious food! (Like a second helping of the cold seafood dishes, which I totally went for).

VI) Dessert Selection

The dessert selection was quite extensive!! They had lots of mini cakes, nyonya kuehs, asian desserts as well as western offerings like bread pudding! There was also some ice cream but I also did not remember to take a photo :/ I was too distracted and excited by the other desserts!

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Pengat Durian – truly the jewel in the dessert crown at Saltwater

LOVEDDDD the pengat durian so so much!! In case you guys didn’t know, pengat durian is made from simmering durian pulp in coconut milk and fresh milk, together with some pandan leaves and gula melaka thrown in. I’m not usually a big fan of durian derivatives (like durian ice cream eww bye) but thisssss was sooooo so good. WHY AM I TYPING THIS AT MIDNIGHT UGH NOW THIS IS ALL I WANT. It was sweet, a little bitter, and oh so so creamy.

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Assorted mini cakes that I didn’t get to try 😦

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Steamed cake and ang ku kueh which had a great peanutty filling but whose skin was a little tough

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Fruits!! I had a couple of slices just because. Even though I was bursting at the seams by this point.

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Clockwise from left: Caramel cheesecake YUMMMM, pengat durian (SUPER YUMMMM), assorted nyonya kuehs (I love peeling off the kueh lapis layer by layer unffff), and BREAD PUDDING that was really yummy!

Desserts verdict: LOVED IT. Loved the variety (I don’t need a chocolate fondue and other fancy stuff), and I was VERY happy with the pengat durian, the caramel cheesecake, and the bread pudding. Textures and tastes were on point.

Overall Saltwater Cafe buffet verdict: This restaurant is about as far east of Singapore as I am far west, but I had a really good time overall!! The spread is quite extensive, and all my basic buffet needs are met! – terrific cold seafood starters WITH OYSTERS – yassss. Crab of some sort – yasssss. Grilled red meat of some sort – yassss. A variety of dessert options – yassss. Done and done. In fact, I’ve already made plans to go eat with my friends when one of us comes back from London for winter break 😀

Service is good; we had a particularly helpful wait staff who replaced our handwash bowls, got us more napkins, and gave us extra cutlery etc. The place is not too crowded and can be pretty peaceful! It’s def not one of those places where the crab tray is left with only empty claws lol, h8 those.

I’ll leave you guys with pictures of my plates as a summary of my experience at Saltwater Cafe:

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Plate 1: COLD SEAFOOD STARTERS YASSSS

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Plate 2: Shrimp fried rice, nyonya stingray, grilled asparagus & salted egg crab. The latter three were TERRIF.

 

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Plate 3: Grilled stuff!

Plate 4 (not pictured): MORE COLD SEAFOOD STARTERS AND SASHIMI.

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Plate 5: Dessert!

 

Saltwater Cafe
1 Netheravon Road
Changi Village Hotel Level 1
Singapore 508502
Phone Reservations: +65 6379 7017
Online Reservations: click here

Opening Hours
630pm to 10pm daily for buffet dinner

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Buffet price: S$39++ per pax for Mon-Thu (without the Chill & Grill), or S$48++ per pax for Fri-Sun (with the Chill & Grill)

Recommended dishes: Snow crab legs, fresh oysters, salmon sashimi, nyonya stingray, salted egg crab, pengat durian, bread pudding