Saturday, September 01, 2007

Aquamarine - Marina Mandarin Hotel

I tried the dinner buffet at Aquamarine in Marina Mandarin Hotel. Somehow most people had the tendency to mistake Marina Mandarin for Meritus Mandarin. Is it really that similar? Marina Mandarin is such a give-away for being in the Marina Bay area and Meritus Mandarin is the old hotel along Orchard Road.

Aquamarine is a fairly new restaurant, at the renovated Marina Mandarin Hotel. It is quite a hassle getting to the hotel from within Marina Square Shopping Center itself. I love the color and water theme of the restaurant. Everything is in shade of blue, the shimmering aquamarine of the sea water. It is not as blu-ish as Blu in Shangri-La, but it is still nice.

We got a table right by the dessert section where the chocolate fountain is (and the chocolate fountain is now part and parcel of most buffet places' offerings) so we can monitor the state of the strawberries. Lol. The only drawback is the air conditioning vent, it condensed pretty fast and thus dripped steadily on diners right underneath it (i.e. my friends and the next table).

Food selection - it is a decent spread of quality food. The variety is not as mind-boggling as The Line at Shangri-La, but it is enough.
Local food of seafood noodle soup and carrot cake, chicken rice and other roasted stuff (prepared by chef), surrounding the chefs' workstation are tempura (shrimp and vegetables), Singapore bee hoon (finally! I see Singapore noodles in a Singapore's restaurant but without the curry powder found overseas), kai lan, roast beef (very nicely done, not tough or dry), fish fillet, pork ribs, chicken pieces, black pepper crabs and more.

Indian: briyani rice, vegetables dahl, various curries - beef, chicken and mutton?

Japanese: assortment of sushi and sashimi, chawanmushi, soba and probably others, prepared by chefs behind the counter.

Appetizer: Salad, penang fruit salad, oyster shooter, and various canapes with caviar, scallop, crabmeat, shrimp, duck breast salad, etc

Soup: 2 types - cream of asparagus and hot & sour soup. Lots of bread to go with it, and a huge selection of cheese platter.

On the ice: oysters, scallop, mussels, crabs, just cooked live shrimps, crayfish and a special - scampi baked or grilled to perfection.

Dessert: 4 types of Haagen Dazs ice cream with your choice of topping (crushed pistachios, nuts, chocolate rice sprinkles, white chocolate shavings, pink chocolate shavings, M&Ms, marshmallows) and sugar cones.
Chocolate fountain with small donuts and strawberries to dip in, selection of cookies and 2 types of cakes (cheese cake and green tea mousse cake - not sure if they change all the time), and bite size panna cotta, chocolate mousse, tiramisu, creme brulee, brownie, fruit tarts, opera, etc and fruits.

So much food, so little space in stomach. I didn't get to try the Indian or Japanese food at all and lots more too. But here are what I tried:
My first dish - seafood noodle soup. I was just browsing when the chef asked if I wanted a bowl. It was pretty good, tasted like prawn noodle broth but a bit salty, not sure if that was due to the soy sauce I added with the sliced chili.

Appetizer: Oyster shooters, some cream cheese with smoked salmon opera, caviar on egg in potato, grilled eggplant and some other canapes. These were ok, not that great.

Grilled/Baked Scampi - my favorite dish of the night. I can just eat this the whole night. The meat was fresh and succulent. I dipped it in the seafood sauce and hot sauce. Nice!

Mains: fish fillet in a nice white cream sauce (nice, not dry), roast beef in brown sauce (so tender), Singapore fried bee hoon (it was ok), shrimp and zucchini tempura (average, a bit cold), kai lan (not bad)

Dessert: Chocolate mousse (didn't like the whipped egg white but the chocolate beneath was divine), panna cotta (too sweet to finish), opera (wonderful medley of bitter and sweet), brownie (too dry), creme brulee (average, not that fantastic)

I was so stuffed after all that. I didn't take pictures of the ice cream or chocolate dipped strawberries and the oysters, scallop and crayfish. The oysters and scallop were very fresh, crayfish was so-so only.

Aquamarine, Marina Mandarin Hotel
Level 3
Reservations: 6845 1111

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