Carousel, Royal Plaza on Scotts

Singapore during the Chinese New Year public holidays is like a ghost town. Apart from the movie theatres, hotels and tourist attractions, almost every other business is closed. We can't help but chuckle at the clueless tourists who wander aimlessly around a deserted Orchard Road during this festive period. Which was why we ended up at Carousel, for our first lunch of the Lunar New Year, housed in the Royal Plaza on Scotts hotel. Carousel is one of the few reputable halal buffets around, and my Muslim friends usually rave about the food here. And, at only $48+ per head for a buffet lunch on a public holiday, this was really quite a no-brainer choice.

Generally, the meat dishes at Carousel are done very well. If you are dieting or want to focus on the good stuff only, just head straight to the mains and carving stations at the back. And save some space for the desserts too. Otherwise, the rest of the food is rather standard fare.

The Chilled Seafood Section with Maine Lobster Claws, Boiled Prawns, Crayfish, Scallops, Mussels and Crabs. These are fresh enough, but not my kind of thing. I prefer my seafood piping hot.

Cold Antipasti and Smoked Salmon.

Since it was Chinese New Year, there was a section reserved for Chinese New Year Goodies. There are tangerines for those who've forgotten to buy those for visiting the relatives too.

The Japanese Section, with Cha Soba, Assorted Sashimi, Sushi and Maki. Japanese food is all about the freshness of the ingredients, but these weren't fresh enough. I'll concede the fact that the food is left on the platters may have something to do with the lack of freshness of the dishes.

The Asian Tapas Section. Nothing excited me visually so I didn't try anything.

The Mezze Tapas Section. I'm not a fan of cold middle eastern tapas, so I didn't try most of this either. The chilled boiled salmon was not bad though, fresh, rich and flavourful.

This is a must-try of the buffet, the Braised Beef with Onion. The beef was robust and tender and the sauce was sweet and rich. I went back for seconds of this.

The other must try is the Poached Egg with Smoked Salmon and Ham. I loved the runny, perfectly poached egg.

The Butter Fish with Salsa was also very good, the fish was creamy, milky and soft.

The Meat Section. There were 2 main highlights of this section, the Kebab was amazing, full-bodied and nicely spiced through. The Sausages were also very good, textured and salty.

The Traditional Slow-Roasted Chicken with Herbs was also very yummy. Succulent, juicy and well-marinated.

The Rack of Lamb (left) was also nicely done, it was fresh, soft and aromatic. No gamey smell or taste whatsoever.

The Pasta Station. This is cooked a la minute, and there's a variety of pastas (fettuccine, spaghetti, fusilli, farfalle, cochiglie) and sauces (cream, aglio olio, bolognese, tomato) to choose from. There are no toppings to add on but I appreciated that my aglio olio fettuccine pasta was cooked perfectly al dente.

The Deep-fried Grouper Fish in Hongkong Style was also another hit. I was lucky that the cook was just replacing a new fish when I was in front of it, so I managed to get my favourite tail-end of the fish. This was fresh and flaky.

There were also a few soups to choose from, Pea Lentil Soup, Tom Yum Seafood Soup, both of which I didn't try. I tried the Prawn Bisque with Cognac, which was too overwhelming. I couldn't get past 2 spoonfuls of this rich bisque.

The other soup I tried was the Shark's Fin with Crab Meat, which was too starchy. I didn't finish this either.

The Desserts were decadently good, especially the Opera Cake, Cheesecake, Pecan Pie and Chocolate Truffle Cake.

There was also the obligatory Chocolate Fountain with an array of fruits, sweets and marshmallows for dipping.

The Bread Counter was limited but fairly good, I especially liked the Peach Danish. Caramelized halved peaches in a flaky shortcrust pastry that was nuanced.

We left the buffet stuffed and vowing to go to the gym to work off all those calories, while stifling yawns. Suffice to say, we ended up taking a really long nap (we're like bears that need hibernating after ingesting an enormous meal).

Royal Plaza on Scotts
25 Scotts Road
Tel: 6737 7966
Email: carousel@royalplaza.com.sg
Open from 6.30am to 10am for breakfasts,
12pm to 2pm for lunches on weekdays, 11.30am to 2pm for lunches on weekends and public holidays
3.30pm to 5.30pm for high teas,
6.30pm to 10.30pm for dinners.

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