Makan@Jen: East Meets West

Juxtaposing the best of Eastern cuisine and the best of Western Cuisine, Hotel Jen Orchardgateway rolls out a buffet spread with the full works and we were allowed sneak peaks of the offer available from 2 July 2017 to 30 November 2017. For just $42++, dive into and endless array of Asian and International delights, all dubbed to be given a 'Jen' twist.

Navigating buffets are always a challenge, especially when faced with so many innovative localised options. Our hearts were racing with anticipation to get the stomachs filled. We started our taste tour with the Char Kway Teow Pasta. Bringing a twist to the all-time Singaporean favourite char kway teow, spaghetti replaced flat rice noodles, the dish retains the essence of the former and introduces a new texture to it. Each strand of the al dente pasta was evenly coated with soya sauce while ingredients like prawns, cockles and squid were stir-fried with the pasta in generous portions. The dish was comparatively less oily compared to the usual hawker version, making it more pleasurable and guilt-free. The Thai Fried Chicken stuffed with Creamed potatoes and Parma Ham offered a refreshing take on the usual fried awesomeness, the star-player, the grilled chicken not allowing for the secondary flavours of creamed potato and parma ham to shine, making them obsolete. Creativity wise, A-star, but that did not match up in the taste department.

Thai Fried Chicken stuffed with Creamed potatoes and Parma Ham
Fish and Chips
Perfectly golden nubs of fish bites beckon from across the room. Served in bite sized portion, this makes it all too easy to go down. The pity was that these morsels were left to sit for way too long in its serving tray after being fried, rendering the bottom layer cold and soggy. Now, let's talk about the dough fritters (you tiao) that replaced the 'chips' element in the usual pairing. Superfluous. The limp sticks acting more like decorative ornaments than enthusiastic side-kicks.

Moving past the grey areas on the buffet line, the Laksa Fried Rice and Korean Pork Bulgogi with Kimchi Pizza worked wonders in satiating the appetite. The former, combining two big hits, Yangzhou fried rice and laksa together, innovatively and in a tasteful manner. Each mouthful packed a punch of laksa flavouring while still retaining the fragrance of the classic egg fried rice. Be sure to pick up the condiments of coconut shreds and sambal chili and mix them all together! We all know how the Koreans like their food 'bastardised' with cheese, the bulgogi kimchi pizza was oddly a successful rendition in our books. Doughy crust providing a magic carpet for mozzarella, tender shreds of tender spiced pork and spicy kimchi. Hot out the oven, this was a keeper.

Laksa Fried Rice
Korean Pork Bulgogi with Kimchi Pizza
Chili Crab Quesadilla was met with great anticipation but failed to deliver on all accounts. Neither crab shavings nor familiar flavors behind the locally created sauce made its presence sound. The quesadilla tasted more like belachan chili and cheese quesadilla instead of what it boasts to be.

Chili Crab Quesadilla
We move on to desserts in hope of redemption. However, things turned further south with the Green Tea Cheesecake; the matcha flavour, like a rebel AWOL-ed from the largely vanilla sponge cake. Avoid the dismal Kopi Tart as well; coffee cream yielding non of that dreamy silky texture whilst the tart base could have used a more generous hand of butter.
Green Tea Cheesecake
Kopi Tart
Instead, set your sights on the Lychee Rose Cake, a comforting sweet treats exuberant with both flavours of lychee and rose in excellently balanced proportions. The Sesame Cheese Cake is not to be missed as well, all initial scepticism of the questionable combination quickly dispersing upon first bite. The cream cheese melting in the mouth in an instant.

The East meets West buffet is available from Sunday to Thursday from 6 30pm to 10pm starting from 2nd July to 30th November for just $42++ per person.

277 Orchard Road
t: 6708 8899

Operating Hours:
Daily 6 30am - 11pm

Words and photos by Belinda Yong who wishes that every time of the day is food o' clock. She loves trying new cuisines and creations,  and prays hard for a higher metabolism.

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