Straits Café: Lo-Hei & Poon Choi

Fifteen days. As we ushered into the Chinese new year, this time, our cow friends. The date at Straits café, cong-er and feng-er indulged for the finest feast. It has been the longest time since cong-er remember the last time she had lo-hei, and the first time for feng-er to try Poon Choi. The rabbits, the goat, and the pig. Triple harmony.

The finest. All in one pot. The best to start a brand new year. A traditional Chinese new year delicacy, Poon Choi ($198 for 5 person), composed of many layers of premium seafood, meat and vegetables. Abalone, shark fin, scallop, sea cucumber, prawns, Chinese sausages, duck feet, roasted meat, mushroom, fa-cai. A total of 14 ingredients, & 6 hours of effort. A symbol of wealth and prosperity, the abalone and shark fins in the middle. The whole taste was simple divine! Sea cucumber, or Hoi sam, a secret for our ladies to stay eighteen every year.  Although the roasted pork wasn’t crispy anymore, but the meat was brought to another level after immersing in the pot with the other ingredients. And not to mention the Chinese sausages, which had the normal red colour ones, and the darker coloured, liver sausages. The duck feet was there in place of goose feet; my first time trying it. Without being overly salty, the gravy absorbed the essence of all the top ingredients. Worth its weight in gold.

The Prosperity Yu Sheng, with the vibrant colours, that so reminded us of the joy and happiness during the festive season. Every year without fail, the auspicious Chinese salad will present itself. Tossing the vegetables, the aim is to attain a higher high, just like our life. Wishing Gong xi fa cai, Nian nian you yu, all the lucky greetings for our family and friends. With a choice of salmon or ikan parang, Straits cafe rendition comes in $38, $48 and $58 for its small (2-4 person), medium (5-7 person) and large (8-10 person) portions respectively. All buffet at Straits cafe with the exception for high tea, includes free flow of Fa Cai Yusheng.

After the new renovation of the restaurant during Oct 2008, Straits cafe reopened amidst much fanfare, with the contemporary design and transparent windows which allowed natural lighting to fill the restaurant, and for those interested, people-watching as well.

By order, one will usually start with the salad counter, with some appetising greens to clear the palates before moving on to the savouries. Not that I care anyway, the temptation to resist the desserts were too much for me. Those pretty, petite sweets, we started taking photos of them first, of course. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the pork belly for my stomach to begin on a light note.

Another great appetiser, the chicken salad was just as refreshing as any green salad. The slightly sweet and sour Thai sauce, enhanced the chicken, making it a welcoming starter.

The cold seafood station which has the likes of fresh oyster, cold crabs, squids, and prawns. You know Singaporeans being Singaporeans, the likelihood that they attacked the most expensive food in the buffet is palpable to all. And with fresh oysters, it definitely helps.

Special praises must be reserved for the chefs whom consistently cooks up each bowl of the infamous Straits café Nonya laksa. For that day, there’s also the bak ku teh available. There will changes everyday, with wanton mee, satay been hoon, lor mee rotating, alongside the mainstay laksa.

The infamous Straits cafe Nonya laksa. A bowl of this local favourite, was enough to justify the popularity and status of this dish to the restaurant. Nonya laksa comes slightly sour sweet, with rich and strongly spiced coconut gravy. However, the oilyness of the laksa meant that not everybody could accept it. One man’s meat is another man’s poison.

Jumping from the local dimension, we found ourselves in the Japanese era. The sushi platter was easily another favourite of diners there. Within minutes of a new plate brought out, the platter looks sad, not that the sushi wasn’t good, but because everything was finish.

Well to quote somebody, the tofu wasn’t photogenic. Indeed.

The freshness of the Sashimis were maintained by keeping them inside a transparent closet, to minimise the contact with the air. Also to let people take as little as possible! Well, just her mischievous thought, I’m sure the chefs would be more than happy to let you have your fill of sashimis.

Lo-and-behold! The key player for Straits cafe’s dessert counter. Without a doubt, the Durian Pengat definitely was the one we were eagerly anticipating. Well maybe not we, since i’m not a durian lover. The D24 durian smell was so evident that we would have wager our fortune betting on it. I’ve two spoonful, since almost everybody says it’s so, so good, and the sight of people taking a few of the shooter glass at one go, it’s certainly in the bag.

Moving on from the durian pengat, we have the equally famous durian cake. But after tasting the strong D24 durian in the pengat, I found the taste for the durian cake relatively subtle and light. And it’s a good thing since i’ve no qualms finishing the cake. This might not be the case if i’ve start with the cake first before the pengat.

The macha mousse had one of the strongest macha taste, and it’s good for the macha lovers. Most places scrimped on the tea leaves to cut cost obviously, but the generous fulsome mousse definitely surprised us.

We heard good things about their cheesecakes, however the signature New York cheesecake was nowhere in sight.The blueberry cheesecake was there to save the day. Between the boundaries of the heavy cheesy purist favourites, and the light airy rendition, I’ll say it’s somewhere in the middle. And the best part, you can have as many slices as you want!

There are some who boomed and come of age later than others. The Mandarin orange cheesecake was our reward for being adventurous, not giving up without another walk to the desserts counter for the New York cheesecake. Instead of that, we found ourselves with this new cake, in celebration of our Chinese new year. But, the dessert disappointed us as the cheesecake was rather crumbly, not as firm as we thought it will be, and the mandarin oranges were too sweet, which we suspected that it had some help from the sugary syrup.

On first sight, the ice cream bar looks just to be an ordinary one, featuring the likes of your Walls, and Kings ice cream. But boy we were wrong. The black sesame and raspberry gelato were great, definitely not your cheap ice creams. And my favourite, the vanilla bean flavour!

I must say I’m impressed with the variety and spread of the buffet, given the pricing and the location of the restaurant, it’s good that Hotel Rendezvous recognised that they can’t position themselves against the high-end buffets with the likes of The Line, Melt the world cafe. But by bridging the distance between the expensive and the cheap buffets, Straits cafe provided a good alternative to those who wanted good food, without spending too much.

My thanks to Christina, the marketing communication manager of Rendezvous Hotel Singapore, who invited me for the food tasting session. And also my dining companions, who provided me with great knowledge of the food, good company and fun. A n early happy Chinese New Year to all of you!

Straits Cafe
9 Bras Basah road
Rendezvous Hotel Singapore
Tel: 6335 1771

Per-Chinese New Year Buffet Dinner (16-23 Jan)
Adult $45

Reunion Buffet (24 Jan)
Adult lunch $42, dinner $58

Chinese New Year Festive Buffet (26-27 Jan)
Adult lunch $42, dinner $52

(28 Jan-9 Feb)
Adult lunch $38, dinner $48

14 COMMENTS

I used to live around the corner from here and wonder what it was like inside so thanks for sharing. I’m loving your photos, well done. The food looks delicious.

I should really stop reading your blog in the morning, I’m starving!!

trailingspouses last blog post..Tea Anyone?

Nice coverage of the buffet… It seems like they have also improve the presentation and revamp the menu… considering my visit 4-5 years ago disappoints…

Your CNY feast is really useful for ppl who have intention to dine out… Keep it up =)

trailingspouse: haha no problem! Oh no, you shouldn’t, that’s the whole purpose of reading my blog, so that you can get hungry! haha

fen: thanks, we took quite long taking all the photos, i can’t imagine what happen if we go to places like the line where the food variety is even more. lol! yeah they made changes to the menu, and the new chinese chef that they got, is really good.

foodies queen: thanks! :) )

leng leng: haha thanks for dropping by. Have a happy Chinese new year in China! eat poon-choi! :)

ZOMG! *drools*
Haha i was thinking that the tofu must be really sad if it ever gets the chance to read this entry lol!

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