CC just got his Eat @ Meritus Card, and it arrived with complimentary food vouchers for AquaMarine, the buffet restaurant at Marina Mandarin. So, at the last minute, we grabbed Beeps and Mr J along for lunch.
The buffet's relatively cheap at $40++ per person for lunch, so the selection is correspondingly limited. AquaMarine's main focus is on local cuisine, with rojak, nasi lemak and yong tau foo stations. As with most buffets, AquaMarine was a hit-and-miss affair, with a tad more hits than misses.
The Chilled Seafood Station was stacked with premium shellfish such as plump oysters, prawns, mussels, crabs and crayfish. The oysters, according to Beeps who ate more than 20 of them, were fresh, soft and delicately briny.
The Japanese Sushi Selection looked pretty, but wasn't great. The cooked stuff fared better than the raw sushi.
The Makis were very ordinary and run-of-the-mill.
The fish on the Raw Sushi were a little chewy.
The Sashimi was also a little chewy and fishy.
The Cha Soba (green tea buckwheat noodles) looked a little too limp for my liking so I didn't bother trying it.
The Cooked Food Section fared the best of the various stations. I particularly liked the Steamed Fish Fillets, soft and flaky fish pieces in a delicate vinegar-infused soy sauce.
The Breaded Chicken was also one of my favourites. The crispy chicken was well-marinated, moist and well-flavoured.
I also liked the Sausages. Red onions were added for a little tart sweetness.
The Cheese Platter, although limited in variety, had a really addictive Yellow Cheddar Cheese Stick, which I keep chomping on. I loved its mildly salty flavour and smooth texture.
The Cold Cuts were pretty good but standard fare.
I noticed the Nasi Lemak Station had crowds milling around it, and it was little wonder why. The rice was aromatic and fluffy, the otak was nicely spiced, I would have preferred the fried fish to be a little more crispy but I suppose it'd been standing in the open for a while.
The sambal on the boiled eggs was thick, nutty, sweet and robust, and the vegetable curry was spicy, thick and nutty.
The Salad Station was complemented with the standard variety of toppings and dressings.
There was also a Rojak Station, Singapore's version of a salad, which you can make on your own. Great for control freaks. And for ensuring that your rojak dressing isn't too sweet.
The various carbs at the Bread Station were too hard, dry and crusty.
There was also a Yong Tau Foo Station, which was ordinary at best. The ingredients weren't very fresh, I could have gone to a wet market and gotten fresher stuff.
There were 2 desserts that shone. The first was the Tiramisu, fluffy and light-as-air. I loved the balance between the strong coffee flavour and the light marscapone cheese.
The second was the Durian Penget, smooth, thick, fresh and sweet. Sweet corn kernels provided an added dimension to the nuanced dessert. It was great that they were served in tiny little portions. No worries about overeating this calorie-laden treat!
The Brownie was also not too bad, it was moist and bittersweet, which I liked.
The Fresh Fruits were also snapped up in a flash. The dragonfruit, pineapples, watermelons and honeydew were ripe, juicy and sweet.
These various mousses were also refreshingly light.
Honestly, I have absolutely no idea how I stayed awake that afternoon after a lunch like that.
Marina Mandarin Singapore
Open Mondays to Fridays for lunch from 12noon to 2.30pm
Tel: 6845 1111