Wong Ah Yoke Food Critic recommends

Food Picks: Cooked-to-order buffet dishes at Sky22, Hida wagyu at Keyaki and more

Oysters cooked in three ways - Rockefeller, Kilpatrick and Mornay
Oysters cooked in three ways - Rockefeller, Kilpatrick and MornayPHOTOS: WONG AH YOKE
Char kway teow (left) and roti canai (the Malaysian name for roti prata) (centre).
Char kway teow (left) and roti canai (the Malaysian name for roti prata) (centre).PHOTOS: WONG AH YOKE
Beef is grilled on a leaf in a ceramic plate placed above a small charcoal stove
Beef is grilled on a leaf in a ceramic plate placed above a small charcoal stove PHOTOS: WONG AH YOKE
Family Sharing Wagyu Beef Burger ($46)
Family Sharing Wagyu Beef Burger ($46)PHOTOS: WONG AH YOKE

DISHES COOKED TO ORDER AT BUFFET

If you are talking about the size of hotel buffets, the one at Sky22 in Courtyard by Marriott Singapore Novena is tiny. All you get in the spread are some appetisers and sushi.

But the thing is, that is not all the food you get. The hot food is cooked a la minute and delivered to your table - all as part of the buffet - and that is so much better.

On weekend evenings this month, from Fridays to Sundays, the buffet takes on a seafood theme. And the highlights for me are the hot dishes, of which you can order as many as you want.

There is a big list to choose from, including oysters cooked in three ways - Rockefeller, Kilpatrick and Mornay. My favourite is the Rockefeller, which has the plump oysters baked with a creamy sauce with herbs.

LaLa Bee Hoon is good, too, if you prefer a light-tasting dish that is sweet with clam juices.

The best item for me, however, is the braised short ribs in the Surf & Turf. The ribs are cooked to just the right texture - tender but not soft - and are delicious. They overshadow the grilled lobster that shares the plate because the shellfish is overcooked and dry.

WHERE: Sky22, Level 22 Courtyard by Marriott Singapore Novena, 99 Irrawaddy Road MRT: Novena OPEN: Noon to 2.30pm (Saturdays and Sundays), 6 to 10pm (Fridays and Saturdays) PRICE: $48 for lunch, $56 for dinner. Children up to 12 years old pay half price TEL: 6378-2040


LAST CHANCE FOR PENANG HAWKER FARE

This is the last weekend to indulge in York Hotel's Penang hawker buffet before the stallholders return to the Malaysian island.

The hotel's thrice-a-year promotion, which started in 1986, brings in some of the best hawkers from Penang to whip up dishes such as char kway teow, assam laksa and prawn noodle soup.

Sometimes, a hawker gets replaced and, this time, the person helming the wok at the char kway teow stall is new. The female hawker is as good as the previous guy though, and has already earned the nickname Dancing Chef from the way her body moves in rhythm to the vigorous frying of the noodles.

There is also a roti canai (the Malaysian name for roti prata) stall that made its debut during the last promotion in March, which I missed.

I get to taste it this time and it is good. So are my old favourites, which include the robust prawn mee and the crispy ban chang kueh.

There are no reservations during the promotion, so go early.

WHERE: White Rose Cafe, York Hotel, 21 Mount Elizabeth MRT: Orchard WHEN: Till Sunday, noon to 2.30pm, 6.30 to 10pm PRICE: $29 ($20 for a child) today; $33 ($23 for a child) tomorrow and Sunday


TUCK INTO HIDA WAGYU

Keyaki restaurant at Pan Pacific Singapore has been running a series of wagyu promotions the last couple of years, featuring beef from different regions in Japan.

This month, the focus is on Hida wagyu from Gifu prefecture in central Japan. The beef is cooked in various ways - pan-fried, deep-fried, grilled, teppan - and served in lunch and dinner sets that range from $68 to $210 a person.

Among the more interesting cooking styles is deep-fried Hida wagyu with miso paste, with three cubes of beef breaded and deep-fried like a katsu. The coating is crisp, but the beef stays moist and pink inside.

I also like the course where the beef is grilled on a leaf in a ceramic plate placed above a small charcoal stove. You cook it to your liking at the table and the dish comes with grilled green peppers and deep-fried garlic slices.

WHERE: Keyaki, Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Boulevard MRT: Promenade WHEN: Till Sept 30, 11.30am to 2.30pm, 6.30 to 10.30pm daily TEL: 6826-8240


WAGYU BURGER BIG ENOUGH FOR FOUR

Trapizza on Siloso Beach in Sentosa was closed for renovations earlier this year and officially reopened in July with a new air-conditioned private room and an expanded menu.

Pizzas are still a mainstay, with 18 varieties that range from classics such as Margherita ($20.50) to more creative versions such as Salmon ($26.80), which has a topping of smoked salmon.

Pastas are good too, especially the Trapizza Linguine ($26), with white wine saffron cream sauce and seafood such as prawns, mussels and crabmeat.

But if you are in a group, you should order the Family Sharing Wagyu Beef Burger ($46).

It is huge, with an 800g patty of Australian wagyu topped with bacon, caramelised onion rings, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese and aioli. It also comes with potato wedges on the side.

The burger is enough to feed four people, so it is really good value too.

If you are still hungry after that, get a pizza to share.

WHERE: Trapizza, 10 Siloso Beach Walk MRT: HarbourFront OPEN: 11am to 10pm daily TEL: 6376-2662

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2018, with the headline 'Food Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe