Wednesday, October 13, 2010

MELT ~ The World Cafe

5 years ago, still undergraduates, I attempted to surprise Yuan on his birthday at MELT ~ The world cafe with only $150 cash in my pocket. Since it was a virgin visit to a 5-star hotel buffet, we naively ordered a bottle of still mineral water with 2 glasses of apple juice, clocking an amount that nearly drained both pockets.

MELT ~ The world cafe

Somehow or rather, that was a very memorable birthday celebration that stayed deeply embedded in both Yuan's and my memory bank. 3 years ago, I was back at MELT for a company's lunch but the experience was so different from the first.

Perhaps, the problem lies with my dining partner. Hence, to relish old memories, decided to celebrate Yuan's birthday at this very special place (11th birthday spent with me and the 1st as his wife) and I would say the overall layout of the restaurant has been pretty much the same, just like our relationship.

Using warm hues of crimson and brown, the distinct Asian atmosphere is further enhanced via the use of bamboo motif, rattan screens and latterns.

Central Ice Bowl

The Central Ice Bowl (available for dinner and brunch), housing Boston lobsters, Spanner crab, tiger prawns, Peruvian scallops, Cherry clams, Black mussels and Freshly shucked oysters, have always been a highlight among buffet goers. Hence, it is no surprise that some of the seafood ran out pretty fast and took awhile to be replenished.

Land of the Rising Sun

In general, the restaurant is divided into 4 main section to diversify the crowd and this area of the buffet line houses the Seasonal Boutique Greens + Crudités, Appetizers + Salads and Bread with an extensive selection of Cheese.

As our visit happens to fall during the German OktoberFest (ends 10 October), the selection of appetizers and salads focus on German salads such as Bohnen und erbsen (German white bean and pea salad), Kartoffelsalat (German potato salad), Rotkohlsalat (red cabbage slaw with grapes and walnut vinaigrette), etc.

Sushi & Sashimi

The Japanese station, located near the bread and appetizers, serve a selection of nigri sushi, maki, sashimi and Japanese cha, zaru soba and sohmen.

Chef Bernard (BBQ @ the Alfresco)

BBQ @ The Alfresco, a major highlight for MELT's buffet (only available for dinner from Thurs to Sat and the Sunday brunch), showcase an extensive array of meats and roast. These are grilled upon order and served to your table.

Whole suckling pig is something not to be missed for the tender, juicy and well-marinated meat.

Food from BBQ @ the Alfresco

For the OktoberFest special, this BBQ station focus alot on the various types of sausages ranging from Frankfurter sausage (Long thin sausage made from pork and lightly smoked), Weisswurst (boiled White sausage made from veal, seasoned with parsley, onions, salt, pepper, and sweet mustard), Nürnberger rostbratwurst (grilled Coarsely ground lean pork seasoned with marjoram, salt, pepper and cumin), Bratwurst (grilled Pork in a natural casing) and Bockwurst (boiled Finely ground pork and beef mixture, smoked and seasoned with a variety of spices). In general, the sausages are lightly salted and are quite similar to Pan Pacific sausages which retail in places such as Cold Storage.

Beef burger, grilled lobsters and Cajun chicken breast are the other highlights of this station.

On other days, this station serves a wide range of meat, namely Rotisserie of spring chicken with redang spice, Roast pork knuckle, Tenderloin filet steak, Basil spiced rub T-bone lamb, Whole saba seasoned with salt, Chicken and Lamb Satay with peanut gravy and condiments. Not forgetting accompanying dishes such as Grilled aubergine with pesto, Corn on the cob (with husk on grill), Baked potato with condiments, Grilled white onions, Beef tomatoes with basil oil and Portobello with truffle oil.

Oktoberfest Signature Dishes

Crispy pork knuckle, Bavarian Roast chicken and German sea bass in Brioche Dough are the other highlights of the OktoberFest at the usual carving gallery.

In general, the crackling is inconsistent in terms of the crispness but all pork dishes are well-received as the natural pork smell is inevident. Not only are most of the dishes well marinated, they are very juicy and tender.

On the other hand, we didn't like the German sea bass in Brioche Dough as the bread-like Brioche Dough is relatively heavy for the stomach. No doubt, the fish is fresh and tender but the overall is quite bland.

Asian Wok & European Pan

The gastronomic experience offered by MELT lies greatly on the hot stations. Food served under warming lamps tend to be dry after prolonged exposure but not in the case in MELT. Not forgetting the live pasta and asian noodle stations, one can expect a beautiful "orchestra" of cuisines of Thailand, India, Vietnam, the European continent and local favourites at this section of the buffet.

Most of the dishes from the section of the buffet, particularly the Chinese dishes earns nods, particularly the Sweet and Sour fish, Pork rib with guiness sauce, Crisp oyster omelette with silver sprouts and thai chilli, Crispy Chicken and Cherry Garden's Chinese roast duck with plum sauce Wok.

German Table

Part of this section is presented with an array of German food ranging from Sauerkraut-suppe (cabbage soup), Reibekuchen (German potato pancake), Butter pilaf rice with sausages, Braised Pork Belly in Black Beer, Rindfleisch-Eintopf (German beef stew with celery seed), Fleischpflanzerl (braised veal meatball), etc. For those who has visited MELT, one will know that the list goes on and on as the portion of each are of small quantities, rotated and replenished at a regular interval.

Selection of Indian Tandoori and Kebabs

Similar to The Line, there is a certain degree of emphasis on the Indian food, given the skewers of meat hang in the background and the presence of a Tandoor (i.e. cylindrical clay oven).

As expected, the Tandoori chicken and Chicken tikka won our hearts for the perfect marination and tender, juicy meat.

The Spice Pot

With quick turnover, the naans, be it plain or garlic are served soft and warm. As for the selection of Indian curries, apart from it being slightly salty to my liking, the multiple rounds made for this station makes me conclude that this is way better than the Indian station presented by The Line.


Desserts are extremely popular at MELT, considering the amount of diners we saw at this station for the early half of the buffet and depending on how one looks at it. The replenished cakes are different from the ones originally served at the start of the buffet. Either you have lots of room to try all the cakes served or you end up with a different variety at the second half of the buffet.

Dessert Shooters

Apart from cakes, the buffet spread for the desserts is extended to waffles, bread and butter pudding, a good selection of fruits, nonya kueh and chocolate fondue.

Serving staff are designated at various parts of the dining area and the prompt and meticulous service deserved a big thumbs up. Not only are the plates and water being cleared and refilled at regular intervals with little prompting, every single staff demonstrates a commendable level of warm hospitality with smiles displayed on their faces all the time. This makes the dining experience in MELT more enjoyable.

Also, the main highlight in MELT lies on the extensive variety and most of the dishes are well-executed. A contender to The Line and a clear winner when it comes to the taste of individual dishes, in particular the Chinese and Indian food. However, when it comes to Japanese food or Western carvings, we can't help but to recommend Triple 3 and Checkers Brasserie respectively.

Buffet Lunch
$56++ per person

Sun Brunch
$338++ (with free flow Cuveé Belle Epoque Champagne, wines, beers, cocktails, juices and soft drinks)
$138++ (with free flow Perrier Jouët Champagne, wines, beers, cocktails, juices and soft drinks)
$98++ (with free flow juices and soft drinks)
$48++ (for children from 4 to 11 years old)

Buffet Dinner
$68++ per person (Sun to Wed)
$78++ per person (Thurs to Sat)

Child price for Lunch and Dinner are as follows
Free of charge for children from 1 to 3 years old
$28++ for children from 4 to 7 years old
$38++ for children from 8 to 11 years old
Full adult price for children from 12 years old and above

The following are on-going promotion for credit cards (not valid on eve’s of public holidays, public holidays and festive seasons)
Citibank – 15% off on food bill (valid till 31 December 2010)
HSBC – 15% off on food bill (valid till 31 December 2010)
Amex – 15% off on food bill (valid till 31 December 2010)
OCBC – 15% off on food bill (valid till 31 March 2011)
UOB – 15% off on total food bill or 1 complimentary lunch/dinner buffet with 3 full paying adult. (Only valid for the first 4 paying adult until 31 December 2010)

MELT ~ The World Café
Mandarin Oriental, Singapore
Level 4
5 Raffles Avenue
Marina Square
Singapore 039797
Tel: 6885 3082

Operating Hours-
Noon – 2.30pm (Lunch)
6.30pm – 10.00pm (Dinner)
Noon - 3pm (Sunday Brunch)


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