Cafe Brio's: Christmas Festivities

I'm not usually one to take to buffets, but if I have to recommend one for dining with the family during this holiday season, it would have to be Cafe Brio's at Grand Copthorne Waterfront. 

First things first, let's talk prices, the Festive Buffet Dinner (ongoing from the 1st to the 30th Dec) is priced at just $62/adult and $31/child on weekdays (mon-thurs) and $72/adult, $36/child on weekends (fri-sun). If you're looking for something a little more extravagant to rake in the new year with a bang, there's the Christmas eve buffet dinner and Christmas day buffet brunch priced at $136/adult; and here's the catch, free flow red/white wine, chilled juices and soft drinks. Perfect for some merry making. 

Amidst all the price jargon, here's why I think these mentioned figures are a steal.

Firstly, there's sushi. Not the pedestrian sort you find mingling at most buffet lines but exceptional works of congealed vinegary rice and other fresher ingredients.

If you're trying to stave off the carbs, then there's freshly sliced sashimi instead. Choose from a wide variation of fish to fit your whims and fancies. 

Then there's the cold station. Smoked meats, cold cuts, salads, oysters, Alaskan King Crab, mussels; you name it and they've got it.

Not to be missed is the Norwegian Smoked Salmon. We're talking thick slabs of the finest cured salmon served diligently with thick frostings of  horseradish cream and dainty capers. This was crack and I had to stop myself from filling up on it before it did permanent damage to my appetite.

And while you're attending to that side of the table, make sure to give their salads a go. Honestly, not doing so would be a grave mistake. One of my favorites was the Mushroom Salad, a mix of mushrooms with fresh corn, lentil beans and frisee salad leaves. Then of course, there are the perennial buffet favourites, the Oysters, these fresh plump babies are cold and refreshing for most parts and it is tough to look beyond the horizon of just whacking these. 

But doing so, we move on on to the hot holds. Cafe Brio does a great job of providing a substantial range for the diners with proteins ranging from crab to cod fish to lamb shanks. Not too sure whether I got to sample the entire range, but here are some of my front runners. The Pan Fried Sea Bass for one is a delicate dish that combines my love for creamy sauces with the buttery make up of sea bass. Pomegranate seeds scattered around enlivens the heavy mix. Another would be the Lamb Shank Rendang, which was visually stunning, the lingering bones in the pots serving a gently reminder that the protein was indeed fall-off-the-bone tender. I was pleased with the balanced use of delicate spices in this dish that proved the technical prowesses of the chefs in charge.

Moving on, one of the outstanding reasons for the success of this buffet are the live stations. Yearning for a bit of smoky charred goodness? Then head on outside to the outdoor grill section where you'll stumble upon different cuts of meats on hot hold such as bacon, pork chops and otak; if that's not your thing, then request for a steak done ala-minute. Served with a light jus, this piqued my interest for more!

Craving for meatballs? The Australian Meatballs live station is one that might require a little patience as meatballs are first seared then tossed in a spicy homemade tomato paste. Tender yet slightly gamey from the choice of meats, these were so addictive especially given it's nostalgic flavors. A showering of savoury Parmesan throws it over the edge.

Next to it, the same operator churns out Super Laksa. This was definitely the highlight of the buffet lineup, the chalky broth, thick with coconut milk. You might want to get your own bowl (or two) because this dish is off the hook!

Finally, we turn our attention to the dessert counter. With award winning Executive Pastry Chef Nicolas Maugard holding the fort, you would expect lots of great things to satiate the inner demons towards the end of your meal. Unfortunately, not all the sweet offerings are stellar and there are hits and misses in the congregation. My advice would be to take a little piece of everything and share. This may be a foreign concept to some, especially those navigating a buffet, but hey, food wastage is a problem that we shouldn't overlook nor is the existing threat of gluttony.

Cafe Brio's Golden Waffles hits the spot with it's crisp edges and slightly spongy innards that hold up well to the over gregarious piling of vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and fresh berries. With honey pots full of blueberry jam, kaya and peanut butter; an ode to the old school cake shops that still retail those wistful pandan waffles; the possibilities are endless. You can even take it down the savoury route with a light drizzle of hollandaise sauce and thick cuts of that delicious smoked salmon.

This Christmas, Chef Nicolas has created two special logcakes for Christmas, I preferred the Raspberry flavoured Grand Marnier and Guanaja Chocolate Yule Log. The Raspberry chocolate mousse, velvety smooth despite the assault of acidity from the raspberry puree, I would have preferred the grand marnier to be enhanced, perhaps from the employment of more orange flavors to reiterate the association but with the Valrhona Guanaja chocolate as the star player, the rest played second fiddle. Note that this is available for order at just $58 for 1 kg.

Cafe Brio's
Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel
392 Havelock Road
t: 6733 0880

Operating Hours:
Lunch: 12pm - 2 30pm
Dinner: 6pm - 10pm
Weekend Tunch: 12pm - 3pm

No comments: