Photo: Goodwood Park Hotel
An all-you-can-eat feast need not leave you with an empty wallet. Sure, there are ultra-luxurious spreads that cost an arm and a leg (and are worth it in terms of sheer variety and decadence) but there are several worthy buffet spreads that are still extensive while being affordable.
Go on an empty stomach, and pace yourselves well. Our top picks are excellent value, with nothing over $50 per person.
1. Katong Kitchen
Photo: Katong Kitchen
If you fancy a halal-certified spread of Peranakan, Macanese, Asian and local Chinese fare, Katong Kitchen’s buffet line-up is exhaustive, while prices are friendly. There’s a D-I-Y kueh pie tee and rojak station, a live station preparing popiah a la minute, noodle dishes like Katong laksa and fish ball noodles, and mains like ayam pongteh, nasi biryani and nyonya fish curry.
Flavours are spot on, and the restaurant is always packed with diners. It’ll cost $38++ (lunch), or $48++ (dinner).
2. White Rose Cafe, York Hotel
Photo: York Hotel
Famed for its thrice-yearly Penang Hawkers event, White Rose Cafe is one of the best-value buffets just off Orchard Road. Their daily lunch buffet is priced only at $29++ per adult, which gives you access to an unlimited a la carte spread featuring the flavours of Singapore. Chose from 25 local favourite dishes like the chai poh omelette, kung pao chicken, black ink sotong curry and chicken masala.
Each table can also order one serving of the signature fish head curry (you get half a fish for 2-3 people, and a whole one for 4-7 people). Comes with free flow steamed rice and fried papads.
3. Ash & Elm, InterContinental Singapore
Photo: InterContinental Singapore
For a meal within Ash & Elm’s sophisticated confines, you would expect to shell out. But prices at its lunch-time semi-buffet begin at only $28++ per person. Have your fill of cheese and charcuterie from its elegant display room, and a selection of salads and cold appetisers. You get to order one main out of a list that includes a chorizo flatbread (baked in a custom-built wood-fired oven), and sea bass la plancha served with ratatouille and basil oil.
Desserts are laid out buffet-style, and include decadent bite-sized cakes and dainty treats. Don’t miss out on the live dessert station that keeps changing its offerings.
4. Courtyard, The Fullerton Hotel
Photo: The Fullerton Hotel
The weekday lunchtime curry buffet ($43++ per person) at the restaurant in The Fullerton Hotel’s sun-lit atrium is one of the best all-you-can-eat deals in the CBD. Notables include a spread of Indian curries like gosht dopiaza (lamb curry with sautéed onions) and dhingri palak (spinach and mushroom curry), complemented with chicken, fish and even turkey kebabs, fresh tandoor-cooked naans and a selection of salads, chutneys, pickles and rice dishes. The meal is served with complementary lassi, coffee or masala chai.
Should you have space left, the gulab jamun dessert (fried balls of cheese in sweet syrup) is to-die-for.
5. Pete’s Place, Grand Hyatt
Photo: Grand Hyatt
This cosy Italian restaurant at the Grand Hyatt has been serving authentic, traditional Italian fare for decades, and their buffet lunches are the best way to sample the wide selection of the food on offer. For $40++ per person (Mondays to Saturdays), expect an all-you-can-eat array of soups, salads, main courses and desserts. The pizza is cooked in a custom-built wood-fired oven, and pasta is prepared a la minute.
Bread is freshly baked and the warm and cold salad selection is exhaustive and healthy. Most of the ingredients are sourced from Italy and the flavours are fresh, authentic and delicious.
6. Coffee Lounge at Goodwood Park Hotel
Photo: Goodwood Park Hotel
This Goodwood Park restaurant has been around since 1977 and is most popular for its Taiwan Porridge Buffet ($52.80++ per person) and popular seasonal Durian Fiesta buffet ($38.80++ per person, and on until July 22, 2018). But don’t miss out on the lounge’s Weekend Makan Affair (Saturdays and Sundays, 3pm to 5.30 pm), a high tea affair where guests tuck into unlimited servings of 20 popular local foods.
These include kueh pie tee, chicken curry with baguette, deep-fried chicken wings, mee siam, laksa assorted dim sums and nonya kueh and even hot dessert soups. All this for only $39++ per person.
7. 21 on Rajah at Days Hotel
Photo: Days Hotel
Overlooking Zhongshan Park, this halal-certified eatery offers a great weekend brunch buffet. For $40++ per adult (12pm to 3pm), you get to go wild at the ‘Lauk Padang’ buffet, a spread that features a salad bar, a cold seafood station, a live noodle station and even a carvery. Highlights are the sinfully fried epok epok, samosa and goreng pisang; as well as the D-I-Y rojak station with fruits like pineapple, sweet turnips, thai guava, rose apple, rojak flower and crunchy you tiao.
For dessert, there is a chocolate fountain with all the fixings, and the signature gula melaka gelato with a host of toppings.
8. Makan@Jen, Hotel Jen Orchard Gateway
Photo: Hotel Jen
One of the most wallet-friendly buffets on the Orchard Road stretch can be found here. For weekday lunches, Makan@Jen offers up a semi-buffet where one can pick from a spread of appetisers and/or desserts, and order a main like the signature chicken rice. Prices begin at $19.90 (for two courses). Dinners (Sundays to Wednesdays) will allow you to have your fill of lobster dishes — from lobster tails with salted egg and curry leaves, to baked bamboo lobster with cheese and mushrooms — for all of $45++ per person.
If that doesn’t fill you up, there are also pizzas, Asian mains, dim sum, cold seafood, desserts and more.
9. Crystal Cafe, Orchard Grand Court
Photo: Crystal Cafe
At this street-level restaurant at Orchard Grand Court on Killiney Road, the Taiwan Porridge buffet is still going strong after debuting several years ago. The taste is old-school and authentic, the decor is charmingly retro, and the food selection is eye-popping.
Unlimited servings of sweet potato porridge can be paired with dishes like braised pig trotters, curry chicken, salted eggs, braised peanuts, braised eggs, kiam chye (salted vegetables) and bioh chye (preserved vegetables). Prices begin at $14.80++ (the buffet is available for both lunch and dinner).
10. Song of India
Photo: Song of India
An all-you-can-eat in a Michelin-starred restaurant? It is possible, and the unbeatable price of $36.90++ (Mondays to Saturdays) gets you a filling spread of the finest dishes from around the Indian subcontinent. Chef Manjunath Mural takes pains to present a selection of rich curries like the Goan fish curry and paneer masala, as well as flavour-packed appetisers like the samosa chaat, and a variety of tandoor-cooked kebabs. There are rotis, naan, biryani, and an array of pickles, papad and condiments.
Come Sundays, the spread is amped up with a chaat (savoury snack) station prepared a la minute, and an expanded variety of meat, vegetable, dal and rice dishes, but prices are still kept to an accessible $46.90 per person.