Makan@Jen, that hip eatery atop a trendy, new hotel at the heart of Orchard Road (Orchard Gateway) had been the talk of town where buffets are concerned for the past few months. The buffet at Makan@Jen was startlingly "cheap", considering the variety and quality of items offered. Besides the seafood counter (with its whole cold crabs, prawns and mussels), there were sections offering sashimi, pasta, roast ham, and a nice selection of Asian and Western dishes.
- Chicken satay: the thick peanut sauce was rich and nutty, the chicken was well-marinated in fresh turmeric, lemongrass and other herbs.
- Otah quiche: a fusion of Peranakan otak-otak and French quiche which went extraordinarily well.
- Lamb rendang: robust lamb-meat cubes, smothered with a dark unctuous sauce bursting with flavours from the chillis, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, turmeric leaves and candlenuts.
- Cantonese roasts (duck, pork belly): surprisingly well-done here, with tasty roast duck and crisp-skinned pork belly ("siew yoke") - not the best around, but admirably above average for a buffet.
- Ngoh hiang, deep-fried popiah: not as tasty as can be - the ngoh hiang (5-spiced pork rolls in bean-sheets) fared better than the too-small, too-dry popiah.
- XO fried rice: very well-executed - fried rice flavoured with Chinese XO-sauce of dried scallops, dried chillis and Cantonese seasoning.
- Tau yu bak: traditional Singapore Hokkien pork in dark soysauce stew, given a pleasant lift by the addition of dried chillis.
- Chicken curry: kickass version here, pretty reminiscent of Nyonya-style curry.
- "Siew mai", "Fun choy": Cantonese dim sum items, served in towers of stacked bamboo steamers. The "siew mai" was tasty, whilst the flavoured rice ("fun choy") was a tad on the heavy side.
- Selection of Nyonya kueh: wide variety of traditional Nyonya kuehs, but not as nice as the ones at Bengawan Solo.
The ice-cream and buffet counter offers a larger than average selection. There's also a juice bar on the side, besides DIY coffee/tea machines.
Best value-for-money buffet in town for the moment, IMO.
Makan @ Jen
277 Orchard Road
#10-01 Hotel Jen @ Orchard Gateway
Tel: +65 6708 8899