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Thursday, 4 February 2016

[Media Invite] CNY Buffet Dinner at The Square @ Novotel Clarke Quay

177A River Valley Road, #07-00 Novotel Clarke Quay, Singapore 179031
Tel: 6433 8790

Having visited The Square @ Novotel Clarke Quay for Christmas Dinner (review here) and Indonesian Food Festival (review here), I was honoured to be invited back for Chinese New Year Buffet Dinner. This is a media invited tasting attended by representatives of Hungrygowhere, the team at Novotel, and a few other familiar reviewers.

The restaurant was decorated in a festive mode for the upcoming Chinese New Year, with plum blossom flowers, red banners etc, and this jolted my festive mood even as I stepped in. Needless to mention, the buffet dinner for this period would also consist of traditional Chinese New Year dishes, which shall be introduced shortly.

A walk around the restaurant would unravel the various delectable international cuisines being served up on hot trays,  such as the Rustic Ratatouille with 62 degree poached eggs, Grilled Chicken with onion marmalade sauce, Lamb Tangine and smooth Chicken & Barley Broth.  These items are heavier in flavour but nonetheless, tasty.

The Chilli Crab needs no introduction.- robust flavour tinged with spiciness and powdery, tender flesh. The Roast Peking Duck had a crispy skin flanking succulent flesh. The Shawarma was deliciously swathed in a smokey tinge as well.

Now the Stars of the Night - traditional Chinese New Year dishes such as the Mushroom with Sea Cucumber, braised to a lovely tenderness and redolent of the shitake mushroom's strong earthly aroma. The Longevity Noodles was well-moistened but not soggy, skillfully stir-fried. There is also Chicken Bak Kwa sitting amongst the Salad Counter for the taking.

The Yusheng (raw fish with tossed vegetables) was displayed at a counter of its own, looking prim but pretty for the taking. It would be an interesting way of eating Yusheng, buffet style.

The Salad Counter comprised lots of vegetables, a huge variety of olives in different preparations and an assortment of appetite-whetting dressings. Sharing the same counter as the Salads, herein lay Beef Salami, Smoked Salmon, and Chicken Ham etc cooked items for those who would prefer not to touch the raw food at Japanese section.

Or how about the Cooked Salad / Asian Salad section? There were interesting fusion dishes such as Asian Angel Hair Pasta Salad, or You Tiao Salad. For a healthier choice, there was the Tomato Salad that was utterly nectarous.

The Seafood Counter was made up of fresh and saccharine Oysters, Mussels and Prawns. I mainly refilled my plate with Oysters - so fresh, I had them without the usual Tabasco sauce.

The Fruits and Desserts counters were the most colourful, filled with a comprehensive assortment of tropical fruits, cakes, tarts and marshmallows, as well as Durian Pengat and Bread & Butter Pudding, etc. The Durian Pengat was smooth, rich and creamy, immersing the eaters in the wonderful aroma of durians. Asian delights such as Kueh Lapis and some Chinese New Year cookies / tartlets also formed part of the sweets section.

After an introduction and welcome speech by Chef Jeremy Lim, sharing with us more on what was instore for the evening, we proceeded to busy ourselves with food-hunt.

But firstly, there was a Yusheng set aside specially for us all to toss together to a great year ahead, laden with loads of auspicious phrases and greetings.  The Sashimi Fish used was a "distant-cousin of the Tilapia", freshly-prepared and also the sashimi of the night under the seafood section.  The vegetables and dressing were extremely sweet and fresh, making for a tantalising plate of Yusheng.

We also loved how The Square @ Novotel has thoughtfully prepared an informative card describing and explaining each ingredient of the toss - the perfect cheat sheet!

I had a little bit of everything, loving some enough to go for seconds - such as the fresh Oysters, Sashimi, Laksa, Angel Hair Pasta Salad, assortment of pickled Olives, mini Egg Tarts and Durian Pengat.

Service was as effiicient as always, and the ambience basked with happy festive vibes; making the meal even more enjoyable. Thank you The Square for a sumptuous pre-CNY dinner and immaculate hosting, and thank you Hungrygowhere for the invite.

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