The Line, Shangri-La Singapore
I normally don't like hotel buffets. Technically this (22 Orange Grove Road, 6213-4275) wasn't quite your traditional hotel buffet, but rather a hotel restaurant with lots of cooking stations (like the StraitsKitchen or even Mezza9 at the Hyatt Singapore). Either way, I had my doubts at first, seeing that it was all-you-can-eat. But the few things that I picked from certain cooking stations surpassed my expectations. What was the first station that caught my eye? The shellfish bar, with a selection of crab, oysters, and clams sitting on a bed of ice, and complemented with lemon wedges, cocktail sauce, and Tabasco. I second-guessed myself with Kitchen Confidential ringing in my head for a moment, but these pieces turned out very fresh, probably because this place had constant turnover rather than the Sunday brunches that Bourdain went off on (then again, this shellfish bar did seem to be the least popular of the bunch today).
Other items that I enjoyed included the carving station, which, instead of the usual roast beef or ham, was for huge peppered tuna steaks instead, with an option of getting the smaller seared version too (my choice). The lamb chops also surprised me with a salty but characterically tasty grease associated with such a beast. Yum. Rounding this out with some of my other favorites like grilled vegetables and a couple soups, I emerged impressed with this place. Granted, I didn't try any of the other stations (and there were a lot, like a Chinese noodle bar, a pasta bar, a sushi bar, and of course the dessert bar...and an Indian station too, complete with kebabs), which could have potentially been horrendous for all I know, but the few stations that I did select turned out much better than I would have hoped.
BTW, the Shangri-La is another venue that I'd like to throw onto my list of decent hotel catering, which I got to experience separately a few times in the past day or two. I was particularly impressed with some bacon that was some of the thinnest and crunchiest I'd ever had, only to realize afterwards that it was made from turkey (whoa - I never would have thought that!). And while my preference would still be the Fullerton or the Four Seasons, it was definitely far better than some of the other hotels around town.