My Mom and I were in the mood for a dinner buffet the other night and dropped by Cafebiz at Traders Hotel. Following a $2.2 million renovation, this place has been transformed from Traders Café, a coffee house, into the current Cafebiz, a nice restaurant that offers Asian-style buffet. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Cafebiz. The food and service were top-notch, and scored full marks with me.
One of the first things I sampled was the Alaskan crab. The crab meat had the sweetest, richest and most succulent flavour! I am no crab expert, and found it hard to believe that this was the natural flavour of the crab. Whoa!
The lobster paled in comparison. Its flesh was totally bland! On a scale of 1 to 10 its flavour was a 0; there was no taste to it at all! Again, I am no lobster expert. But isn’t the lobster supposedly king of shellfish?
Of course there were the usual fares like sushi and sashimi. I stuffed myself with heaps of salmon sashimi, my absolute favourite! One of the unique offerings at Cafébiz is their lok-lok (dip-dip) station with sticks of raw food such as crab claws, prawns and chicken meat. To accompany the lok-lok, there is a huge array of sauces such satay gravy and sambal belachan (fermented ground shrimp). Yum! No worries if you aren’t too adept at cooking. A chef stationed at the lok-lok booth would offer to cook it for you in soup and serve it at your table. Great service!
Another example of great service was when I asked for teriyaki sauce. Being a picky eater, I always, always ask for teriyaki sauce when eating Japanese food. But they did not have it, which was rather unusual for an Asian buffet restaurant. So, the waiter got the chef to MAKE the teriyaki sauce from scratch. Wow! I could not be more impressed!
There were very few offerings of dim sum however. I tried the crystal dumpling and prawn dumpling which were not so good in comparison to those at dim sum eateries. But the chicken bun that had been slightly baked was a real treat! If I wasn’t so stuffed already I would have downed a couple of those yummies.
What sets Cafébiz apart from other buffet restaurants is that it has several unusual offerings. Apart from the lok-lok as mentioned earlier, there is also Churrasco, a South American specialty. A couple of waiters make their rounds with huge skewers of grilled food, stopping at each table to slice off chunks of meat onto the diners’ plates. We were offered sausages, chicken wings, and roast pineapple!
As if that’s not enough, Cafébiz also offers authentic la mian (hand-pulled noodles)! An in-house chef hailing from China is available to hand-make la mian upon request. He was rather enthused to “pull” some noodles for me but I had to decline as I was stuffed! He then offered to chop up a roast duck for me! But once again I declined and asked for a chicken drumstick instead.
Mom and I both agreed that the chicken drumstick was awesome! The meat was smooth, succulent and juicy. On the same platter is some tandoori chicken and other North Indian food. Those were prepared by an Indian chef and were delicious!
More unusual fares followed at the hot food station. There were dozens and dozens of delectables with names I have never heard of. Not being very adventurous, I tried out the safer options such as Kung Pao chicken with cashew nuts (very yummy), fish fillet cooked in pistachio sauce (an instant favourite) and Moroccan chicken that came together with some fruit in yellow stew. I can’t exactly remember for sure.
Desserts! Arranged in neat rows were these fruit jelly cocktails. They came in cute delicate glasses and had flavours such as lime, apple and mango. For me they sort of served as appetisers for the desserts that were about to follow. Appetisers before the real desserts, get it?
The ice cream counter was a very modern one. It had just eight flavours, but I really liked the fact that the ice cream was not too hard. I was able to scoop comfortably. You know how some places serve ice cream that is so frozen you have to break a nail and a knuckle just to get a scoopful? Over here the temperature is set just about right. Also, when you place the metal scoop back in its holder, there is some sort of suction mechanism that automatically cleans it instantly. Wow!
And what’s a buffet without cake and tarts? I enjoyed the pandan cake and tiramisu. Thankfully they had been cut into very thin slices. Cafébiz must have anticipated that its diners would be too stuffed to polish off regular slices. I loved the prune pie most. It’s one of those pies that come in a big metallic platter and you scoop off the portion you want with a huge ladle. Then you have fun drenching it in vanilla syrup. And I absolutely love vanilla syrup!
And now, the grand finale. Are you ready for this?
Ta-da! A five-tier chocolate fountain! How glorious it looked! The chocolate was absolutely heavenly!
There were the usual dipping foods like fruits, marshmallows and hard biscuits. I didn’t exactly care for those fruits. As with chocolate fondues, I like my chocolate with marshmallows! And boy did I love it! I stood there by the fountain, skewer in hand, and helped myself to all the chocolatey goodness. For that moment in time I was in chocolate heaven. Warm chocolate in my mouth. Warm chocolate everywhere. I didn’t even notice I was dripping chocolate all over the place until a waiter helpfully pushed a plate beneath my chin.
Finally it was all over. A tall glass of orange juice to cleanse my palate and aid in the digestion, and we’re all set! That was the most wonderful meal I’ve had in a long, long time. And with such wonderful, five-star service, it certainly wouldn’t be my last visit to Cafébiz.
1A Cuscaden Road
Tel: +65 6831 4374 | Website
Mon – Wed lunch buffet (12-3pm): S$39++
Mon – Wed dinner buffet (6.30pm): S$50++
Thu – Sun dinner buffet (6.30pm): S$55++
February 3, 2007: My list of Best (& Worst) Restaurants in Singapore for 2006
– Winner of “Best Buffet”
– Nominated for “Best Service”