Friday, July 9, 2010

Sunday Brunch @ M Hotel

To a certain extent, how impressive a buffet to most depends strongly on its price tag. Apart from that, the head chef plays a strong role in dictating the signatures and theme of a buffet.

When asked for recommendations, it is easy to list the big names but to cater to a family of 4 or friends gatherings, it is never feasible as not everybody is willing to pay so much for a single meal.

Located in the heart of the financial district and it being not far away from the city, M Hotel seems to be an ideal choice for Sunday brunches. At least, the drivers are spared from the expensive hourly parking. Also, having priced at $48++, it sounds affordable for families and gatherings.

Cafe 2000, M Hotel

Cafe 2000 is not easily missed, having situated at the lobby level of M hotel. Moreover, this hotel is renowned for its chicken pies so it will not sound foreign to most foodies.

Adopting an open kitchen concept coupled with the use of warm lighting and wooden furniture, it provides a causal and leisure dining area.

With half the restaurant being paneled with glass windows, vehicles traveling along Anson Road is alot lesser, thereby giving an impression of a lazy Sunday. I mean, how often are we in Tanjong Pagar Singapore District on a Sunday morning.

Salads and Smoked Salmon

In any buffets, one can expect the regular suspects of salads and appetizers.

Appetizer, Greens with various dressings

Though not shown in the pictures, I have to admit I love the hotel's hand rolls. The bread is warm with a thin crisp crust. The crumb (inner part of the bread) is soft and goes very well with the softened butter. In addition, this is the only buffet I have come across (till date) that serves nachos with cheddar cheese dip. Cheese is cold but rich enough to satisfy.

Seafood on Ice

Sashimi and fresh seafood are often the highlights in all buffets. Selection is decent with crayfish, crabs, oysters, prawns, etc.

Sashimi is only limited to salmon and tuna; cut upon request. Fish is fresh but not cut against the grain, giving it a "shredded" texture.

Chicken, Fish and Beef

Although selection of hot dishes are limited when compared to other buffets, Cafe 2000 do serve alot of meat, huge beef meatballs, chunks of BBQ chicken and Grilled fish, unlike the regular fried rice and sauteed vegetables.

Pizza and Satays

Pizza and satays were not bad in terms of taste but having served for long under buffet heat lamps, one can expect certain batches to be slightly tough and dry.

South Indian food and curries

As Chef Ganesan Ashouk was in charge at our point of visit, we were pleasantly surprised by the South Indian food served. The curries were flavourful and the mutton curry was my favourite for its tender meat and rich gravy.

Instead of serving the common briyani rice, Chef Ganesan Ashouk presents his very own Assam rice. Using Basmati Rice (if I am not mistaken), Chef Ganesan Ashouk blended his selection of local spices which is not easily reproducible in other hands, since the proportion and type of spices used depends alot on experience and preference. The end result is a mix of tanginess and spiciness that is easily accepted, so much so we ended up with more than 3 servings.

Tandoori Chicken with Chef Ganesan Ashouk

The other favourite of ours is Tandoori Chicken. Instead of cooking in a clay oven (tandoor) or on a grill, Chef Ganesan Ashouk does his in a döner kebap ("rotating roast") manner. Having cooked partially in the hotel's oven prior the brunch, the meat is cooked slowly by an electric burner and sliced upon request. Unlike the Tandoori we had in other buffets, the meat is served juicy and warm.

Local curry laksa, served with tofu puffs, fishcakes, quail eggs and prawns, is also part of the buffet line. The gravy is not overly spicy and is on the milky side. Not exceedingly overwhelmed with Hae Bee Hiam (Spicy Dried Prawns) and is easy on the stomach, considering there are other selection in the buffet.

Carvings - Roast Beef, Sausages and Pork Ribs

Roast beef and pork ribs glaced with BBQ sauce are decent in terms of taste and are easy on chewing.

Disappointment comes with the tough sausages having placed under the heat lamps for long. Pasta live station was sloppy given the limited toppings and bland taste. Moreover, the pasta served were inter-contaminated with the cream sauce, bolognese sauce and olive oil.

Nonya Kueh and Cakes

Desserts are made in-house and the turnover for the desserts are relatively high. One major setback for this section is that the cakes were sliced in huge portions so either they got smashed while diners attempt to take a smaller portion or one is full after eating 1 slice.

By the time we hit the dessert station, most of the desserts were replenished with alternatives. Based on the few desserts we had, we have to admit that they are relatively decent, given its price tag.

The Nonya Kuehs are good due to the use of strong, fragrant coconut milk. Lychee cake is a refreshing treat and (to me) a better variant of Pine's Garden Lychee Martini Cake. Chocolate mousse has a smooth texture with a hint of liquor and layered nicely on a thin layer of chocolate cake. As usual, the shooters were artificially flavoured with mango syrup and strawberry syrup, making it relatively disappointing.

Shooters and toppings for chocolate fondue

To start off, the cafe isn't very big so there are times when there is a build-up in the human traffic. Food is constantly replenished but the empty plates and water were cleared and refilled in a delayed manner. Overall, the experience is pleasant and for the first time in a buffet, we felt that the Indian food deserved more attention than the International spread.

We also have to give credits to the manager-in-charge who make it a point to ensure all his diners are at ease and also introduce the highlights of the brunch after his guests are seated. Not forgeting the warm hospitality of Chef Ganesan Ashouk who values customers' feedback, his time to arrange a take-away for the hotel's signature chicken pies and explaining the dishes available at the brunch.

However, the meal didn't start off pleasantly with a huge hiccup on the telephone reservation side. The confusion came when I wanted to postpone my reservation by 1 week but the person on the line was so impatient to hang my phone call. It was only when they called to re-confirm my first reservation then I realize the change was not made. To make it worse, when I turn up for my second reservation, they didn't realize my existence and called me 30min later to ask if I will be coming or a cancellation is required when we were already in the restaurant. Not forgetting we were only seated 15min after the time made for my reservation.

Semi Buffet Dinners at Cafe 2000 include a fine array of appetisers and live stations, which includes fresh seafood on ice, choice canapes, salads and pasta made on demand, together with a main course of your choice from Cafe 2000's Chef's Specials.

As the theme changes every month, the theme for July is Everything Singapore where local fare such as Grilled Sambal Chilli Stingray, Braised Duck Thigh with Five Spices Herb, Crispy Noodles with Assorted Seafood, etc. will be served.

Semi Buffet Dinner
$40++ (A), $22++ (C) per person (Sun-Thurs)
$45++ (A), $25++ (C) per person (Fri, Sat)

Sun Brunch
$78++ (A) (with free flow of Mumm Champagne, wines and beer)
$48++ (A) (with free flow juices, NO alcohol)
$24++ (C) (with free flow of juices)

Credit Card discount as follows:
For now the current promotion is
For DBS credit cardholders

1st visit: 15% off total bill & receive 15% discount voucher for next visit.
2nd visit 30% off total bill (after utilizing 15% return voucher)

Valid through 31 July 2010 & for dine-in only, unless otherwise stated.
Vouchers issued are valid until 31 August.
Vouchers issued are applicable for use at any of our participating outlets
Not valid on eve of and on Public Holidays and special occasions (etc Father’s Day), unless otherwise stated

Cafe 2000
M Hotel Singapore
81 Anson Road
Singapore 079908
Tel: 6500 6112

Operating Hours -
6:30am – 11pm (All Day Dining)
11:30am - 3pm (Sunday brunch)


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