Review: Triple Three at Meritus Mandarin
December 21, 2010 § 2 Comments
The exams have finally exhausted themselves and disappeared from my life (for a whole good year). No more exams till next November! Now that I’ve slept enough and have stopped being a total zombie, I finally have the energy to be excited for the new season ahead (next up: internship!).
So my family had an early Christmas dine-out this year. Traditionally we go for a buffet at a nice hotel every year. We have our favourites – Oscar’s at Conrad, Melt: The World Cafe at Mandarin Oriental, The Line at Shangri-La… but this year Sis booked somewhere we hadn’t been to yet.
We’ve been to Pine Court at Meritus a number of times for birthdays and such (they have excellent dim sum!), but this was our first time trying Triple Three. A couple of hours before we were going to go there, I went to check out the reviews on Hungrygowhere (of course)… and boy were they disappointing! Complaints of bad service and subpar food abounded.
Never underestimate the power of the Internet because Hungrygowhere was the first site that popped up on Google search, and if I had discovered it any earlier, we would’ve canceled our reservation and headed for somewhere else.
Unfortunately, because it was only a couple of hours to dinnertime, Sis and I did try calling up some other hotel restaurants but they were either fully booked or too expensive. (Melt was going for 98++ per pax that night!) So we decided to just stick to Triple Three and test it out for ourselves.
I went with low expectations and a hungry stomach. When we got there, I was pleasantly surprised that I did not encounter any of the bad service reputedly featured on the Hungrygowhere reviews. The extremely smiley and welcoming manager ushered us in, made small talk with us and mentored his staff closely. Sure there were some inexperienced waitresses. We had one from China with very bad English but she tried. Jason had a dirty fork and we got that changed, we asked for warm water but got room temperature water, but these were minimal and nothing to make a hoo-ha about. So my conclusion on the service front: It was nothing much to complain about! Acceptable enough and they were polite and brisk with clearing the tables.
Now we move on to the food.
Of course, I am slightly biased and tend to judge buffets based on how well they do my favourite foods. Aka, seafood (sashimi sashimi sashmi, and other things) and dessert.
For a buffet, they actually don’t leave the sashimi out on a platter for you to take on your own. They have a chef (if you can call him a chef) there to slice the various types of sashimi when you want it (so it means you can’t take as much as you want and you will feel paiseh to go back for seconds because the guy has already seen you before, very smart).
The chef is quite stingy with the pieces, he normally gives about 3 or 4 little slices each and I asked for more because well, I love sashimi. As you can probably tell from his cuts, he’s not very good at this slicing this. I’m not sure whether to give him the benefit of doubt that his knife isn’t sharp enough or that he’s really just not very deft with it, but they were quite badly sliced in general.
Sashimi verdict? Okay lor. Not great. Not bad. Wasabi was the kind that knocks you out and cures your sinuses so I liked it.
Moving on to the crayfish.
This was not bad, but that cheese/cream/calories sauce thing they drowned the meat in was a bit much. Some people like it I guess, I liked it too, but would’ve liked it more if there had been a little less of that cream.
Turkey and roast beef. Okay the thing about Christmas right… what is Christmas without turkey? Turkey was actually the key deciding factor in choosing buffets (because my sister wants turkey).
The turkey and roast beef were nicely done. Turkey was tender. Bad point: no stuffing. Where’s my turkey stuffing? Roast beef was on the medium rare side which I liked.
This is also sliced on the spot for you. Surprise surprise, by the same guy who cuts your sashimi.
Roast duck. The concept of this buffet is they have a lot of stations where people have to prepare things ‘on the spot’ for you. The duck was not bad but I just feel like, I don’t really pay 70 dollars to come to a buffet to eat duck.
Or prawn mee either. Though I must say I liked this prawn mee. It was nice.
They also had very bad chawanmushi.
It was bad, and didn’t taste anything like any chawanmushi I’ve had in my life so I don’t really know how to describe it.
Some of the other stations they had were a stir-fry station, where they had juicy mushrooms and bean sprouts, fish and beef cubes. These were not bad I’d have to say. And they also had an Indian food corner that I must’ve completely ignored.
So my verdict on the mains overall:
Variety – okay.
Quality – okay, some inconsistent. Nothing stood out.
But sometimes if the food isn’t fantastic, dessert makes up for it. But not here.
Always remember that sometimes they look better than they taste.
Of the 3 little cups here. One was mango, which was the only nice one. Strawberry was dull. The last we couldn’t even identify but it definitely didn’t taste good.
Green tea log cake, or they should’ve called it green tea buttercream with a bit of cake. Unidentifiable soury brown cake in the background.. I have no idea what it was supposed to be but it tasted like it had gone bad. The thing is, it probably hasn’t, but whatever they were trying at, it failed (might have been an attempt at some sort of yogurt cake). Even the cute little chocolate thing tasted bad. How can?
Completely fail. Except for the lime ice-cream, because it’s citrus. But of course they don’t make the ice-cream in-house so that doesn’t really count.
So would I recommend this place?
If you’re a dessert queen… definitely not. But overall the food is not bad (not good, remember, just not bad) and apart from the chawanmushi
being the only major turnoff, sorry, I forgot the soba, don’t eat that either, the food is actually quite edible. But if you’re going to pay $68++ for a Christmas buffet, I’d suggest topping up another $10 and going to Oscar’s at Conrad instead. Impeccable food and service there. But if you a a DBS cardholder and want to go for the 1-for-1 promotion (that ends at the end of the year, Mon-Thur only, must book because every night is full), then I guess it’s worth a shot?
Anyway looking forward to more Christmas gatherings now. Have one almost every day till the end of the year! Happy holidays everyone. Enjoy the remainder of December and look forward to an amazing 2011.