Monday, October 6, 2014

Restaurant review: Dinner Buffet at Cafe Mosaic @ The Carlton, Singapore

Cafe Mosaic is a contemporary cafe located at level 1 of the elegant Carlton Hotel in Singapore. This restaurant is touted as a place where Asian and Western culinary favourites are brought together to give diners a taste of what the best of Singapore has to offer. From their menu, Cafe Mosaic presents a kaleidoscope of culinary choices in their buffet as well as on their à la carte menu.

I became aware of the buffet at Cafe Mosaic only after my boss asked for suggestions for a dinner venue to treat all of us to celebrate her being granted tenure at my University. A few of my colleagues had been to the buffet and so it was highly recommended. The 1-for-1 buffet promotion for Citibank, DBS/POSB and UOB Cardmembers was another compelling reason to pick this restaurant for the venue. We made a reservation on a Friday evening for 16 people which was handled efficiently so after work, we all headed in a big herd towards Carlton Hotel.

The hotel is beautiful and has an air of sophistication. Since we reached the hotel before 6:30pm, we waited for a while in the waiting area of the main lobby until the restaurant opened for service. BTW, the restrooms are located just outside the restaurant and they are super clean

The restaurant is a decent size and is somewhat compartmentalized. The decor is pleasing and the lighting is ample. We caught a glimpse of the spread as we made our way towards our table and it looked impressive indeed! 

As with any buffet, it is advisable to take a good look around first before dashing across to the first thing you see.  To sum it up as quickly as possible, there were a choice of two soups, a bread station, choice of two mini pizzas, a salad bar, a spread of sushi and sashimi, a DIY gado gado counter, a station offering vegetable stir fries, a counter lined up with an array of Chinese main courses, a fabulous dessert spread, ice-cream with a choice of toppings and sauces, an assortment of fresh fruit, a cheese platter and choice of tea and coffee.

No matter how many varieties a buffet has, I never skip the soup and salad. That is how I love to start a meal. I had a small portion of the cream of broccoli soup with some freshly toasted bread slathered with butter and a slab of cheese. I then proceeded to assemble a small salad with some of my favourite ingredients and salad dressing. Both the soup and salad were a good start to the meal. 

While I was preoccupied with the soup and salad, almost all my colleagues made a beeline to the Japanese counter stacking their plates with an assortment of sushi and sashimi. I would say that this section of the buffet was easily the most popular. Apparently the seafood was really good and I watched in surprise as one of my colleagues gulped down about 15 oysters one after the other! The verdict was that the seafood was really fresh and quite delectable.

Sorry about the nasty quality of some of the photographs. As you can see, the kind of lighting at some of the areas was too harsh and less than ideal for food photography. 

For those interested in the local delights - this counter was for gado gado. 

If you would like to have some yummy stir-fried veggies, you could select your choice of ingredients and ask these guys to whip it up for you which they do Teppanyaki style. Pretty cool. 

There were two kinds of pizza - a Seafood Pizza and a Margherita Pizza. I had a piece of the Margherita Pizza (since it happens to be my favourite kind of pizza). The pizza crust was a little thicker than what I would have liked it to be and since the pizza has been sitting out for a while, it didn't have the characteristic warm and gooey top. Pizza just has to be fresh out of the oven to taste good. Don't you agree? 

This was the main course counter consisting of cooked Chinese dishes which had quite a selection to choose from. I had some braised mushroom noodles with a stir-fry. It was okay but nothing to rave about. 

And now we come to the highlight of the buffet! I was still on my bloody no-sugar diet and the thought of not being able to sample any of the desserts almost brought tears to my eyes. But I thought I would make an exception for a day and I did try a few of the desserts. There were a few which were quite magnificent. There were two kinds of chocolate cake - one was so good that even though I was determined to have only a spoonful, I ended up polishing the entire stack (boo hoo!). FYI, it is the one in the second picture on the elevated white platform. The other chocolate cake was too dry and I didn't like it. Turns out that later once the desserts started to run out, they brought out a chocolate mousse cake which was fabulous. My colleagues told me that the cheesecake was really good but the red velvet cake, bread pudding and panna cotta were nothing out of the ordinary. 

I'm not a fan of ice-cream so I didn't have any. One of my colleagues did have the strawberry ice-cream topped with strawberry compote and chopped nuts and she was quite happy with it. 

Who doesn't love some freshly fruit at the end of a meal? I certainly do! 

And yeah I didn't skip the cheese platter either. But I think I preferred the cheese platter over at the Trader's hotel buffet to this one. 

There was coffee and tea available (the pic was blurry so not provided) and I decided to end the meal with a hot cup of relaxing chamomile tea.

Overall, the dining experience at Cafe Mosaic was good. The selection of dishes in the buffet catered to everyone's tastes and the food was palatable. The restaurant can get crowded especially due to the ongoing promotion but it is spacious enough to not feel claustrophobic. The service was very good with the staff clearing plates in a timely manner, refilling glasses with water and readily agreeing to take pictures for us. When we requested them for a small cake to present to our boss (the least we could do after her generous gesture!), they told us that the cakes were all sold out. We were disappointed but then they surprised us by getting a slab of chocolate cake from the buffet with a candle lit on top. It was a gesture that was well appreciated. With the promotion, I would say that the price per head is reasonable but I would definitely consider it not worth the money without the promotion. I would recommend this restaurant for a business lunch or casual get-together with friends or family.

My rating for this restaurant is 3.5 out of 5 stars

Cafe Mosaic

Carlton Hotel 
Level 1
76 Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189558

Opens daily from 6am to 11pm
Breakfast served from 6am to 10.30am
Lunch served from 12pm to 2.30pm
Dinner served from 6.30pm to 10.30pm
High Tea served on Saturdays & Sundays from 12 noon to 4pm

T +65 6311 8195

1-for-1 Buffet at Cafe Mosaic

Exclusively for Citibank, DBS/POSB and UOB Cardmembers for a limited time only.

Enjoy 1-for-1 Adult Buffet
Lunch: Mondays to Fridays
Dinner: Daily

Lunch Buffet, 12 noon to 2.30 pm
Mondays to Fridays: $53++ per adult, $26++ per child

Dinner Buffet: 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm
Sundays to Thursdays: $78++ per adult,  $39++ per child
Fridays to Saturdays: $88++ per adult, $44++ per child


Note: This is not a sponsored review

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