The Line at Shangri-La Singapore has recently enhanced their dinner buffet offerings in time for Singapore’s 51st National Day. Traditional hawker food takes center stage with items such as Singapore Laksa, Oyster Omelette, Satay and Nasi Lemak as well as creative interpretations of evergreen hawker fare like Chicken Rice Maki Roll and Chili Crab Brioche lining the buffet spread. I distinctly remember dining at The Line exactly a year ago when I sampled the Golden Jubilee buffet which also had a number of unique snippets of Singapore dishes. While the theme last year was based on the culinary team’s vision of the future of Singaporean cuisine, this year’s theme puts a strong emphasis on the past with dishes that have long disappeared from Singapore’s food courts and bakeries.
I was amazed to find The Line almost full despite it being a Tuesday evening. As usual, I started by going to the Japanese section. While it had all the typical sashimi and maki, I was astounded by the Chicken Rice Maki Roll. At first glance it looks like your typical sushi roll but look closely and instead of seaweed, you’ll see chicken skin lining the rice.
For those who are more health-conscious, there is a station that makes decent Popiah or Singapore-style fresh spring rolls. I was also on the lookout for kueh pie tee since it practically uses the same shredded vegetables and shrimp as its base but didn’t find any that evening.
Moving on to meatier things (no pun intended), there is also a wide array of international items available if the inclination is to have lamb rack and 200-day grain fed beef ribs instead from the carving station. The offerings are more subdued when compared to the Sunday brunch (which is understandable).
One of the items I really liked when I tried the Flavours of Singapore dinner buffet was the creative fusion of nasi lemak and Cantonese-style rice rolls – the latter of which is a typical dimsum item. While rice rolls are typically tasteless without the sauce and meat filling, I thought Chef de Cuisine Vincent Wong’s interpretation provided for a good balance with the saltiness of the crushed anchovies and nuts plus the sweet-spicy flavor of the sambal from the nasi lemak giving the rice roll a previously unearthed flavor.
The Chendol Bubbles replaces the Teh Tarik Bubbles which featured prominently in last year’s buffet. It’s set within a counter near the carving station which makes it easy to miss so do try it when you visit.
Aside from this, you have your traditional hawker and zichar dishes such as Char Kway Teow as well as Chili Crab. There is also a satay section with a variety of skewered meat.
If you fancy a bit of Indian cuisine, The Line comes up with a variety of curries and dhall, as well as your ubiquitous Tandoori Chicken.
To add a very traditional and homey ambiance to the buffet, The Line also brings in pop-up fruit stalls for guests to sample durians from Malaysia such as the D24 durian and the sought-after Mao Shan Wang. For those looking for more to savor, there are other exotics such as mangosteen, rambutan, longan and jackfruit – fruits which are seldom found in a hotel buffet.
As is practically expected from any buffet at The Line, the dessert spread is nothing to sneer at even for a weeknight offering. The Lava Cake immediately grabbed my attention with the oozing chocolate right at the center.
There are also plenty of traditional Singaporean desserts to choose from – very traditional cakes that one would expect to find in age-old shophouse bakeries from eons ago.
The Line’s dinner buffet is priced at S$79++ per adult every Monday, Wednesday and Sunday, and at S$92++ every Friday and Saturday. Prices include coffee and tea. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the buffet is priced at S$98++ per adult and S$108 respectively, and includes an enhanced seafood selection, house-pour sparkling, red and white wines, draft beer, soft drinks and chilled juices. The Flavours of Singapore enhancement to the dinner buffet will run until the 14th of August 2016.
22 Orange Grove Road
Reservations: +65 6213 4398