The Buffet at the Fullerton Hotel – Thanksgiving it was not

We should have pictures of the Thanksgiving that wasn’t. After all, our friends aren’t holding back posting pictures on Facebook of the food they gorged on last week! What is amazing is the lack of photos showing the combination of Twinkies and cranberry sauce. After all, if the Twinkie ever goes away, why not enjoy it with a favorite Thanksgiving pairing, i.e. cranberries! It is healthier than the deep-fried version of the Twinkie at the Orange County Fair. I am going to miss the Fair in 2013. Too bad, so sad.

My wife was hoping for some traditional Thanksgiving fare but we knew it would not happen on the 4th Thursday in November. Her work schedule is just too chaotic. Some nights she can make the 6 PM workout class but others she gets home as I start to fall asleep. This makes planning meals during the week, especially a holiday not recognized anywhere other than the United States, a challenge. Luckily, she found a buffet-style Thanksgiving dinner at the famous Fullerton Hotel. Not only did we anticipate the hotel would have a great selection, but it is a 5-7 minute walk from our apartment. This means YAW could lay me on my side and roll me home! That’s the best! You can’t beat a buffet meal that concludes with a barrel roll home.

Recently one of YAW’s peers moved here from Kentucky for 6 months to help on her project. He brought his wife and 2 boys, 11 and 8. And another American from the tiny, small State of Texas was here for a few weeks. Therefore we thought it would be fun to go out as a group. We booked a table for all of the Americans. Please don’t be offended but I looked forward to similar accents at the dinner table! It is a homesick thing.

We arrived promptly at 7ish for the 7PM reservation. We saw the buffet but the items didn’t look very Thanksgiving-ish.  I was walking slowly by all of the food stations. I’m hungry. Although I saw a large table fully stocked with my favorite part of any meal – dessert – I did not see any pumpkin pie. I did not see any mashed potatoes, yams or even green beans. I can’t stand the latter; it really wasn’t a loss.

Once we sat down, my wife inquired about the lack of seemingly Thanksgiving type morsels. Well…they of course had a Thanksgiving buffet on Thursday! Not Saturday. What? First of all, dinnertime in Singapore is barely the same 4th Thursday in the US (well, it actually is just 13 hours ahead from EST) therefore why can’t they do it another day too? Really? “Oh, we have turkey,” said the waitress but I asked about Pumpkin Pie and there was none. I really, really like Pumpkin Pie. I would forgo all the other stuff and just eat at the Pumpkin Pie table if 1) it had been Thursday and 2) it existed.  There must be a pie store in Singapore that makes it. A new goal!

My poor wife. She was sure the website said the date for Saturday and I know she would not have booked the typical Saturday night buffet had she known. However, we had a group of 7 Americans talking about stuff, just general stuff, and it was good. When they started to talk about work, I ended that thread! I have attended enough work-related meals that I have met everyone on my wife’s project. I could even step in today, in any meeting, and talk intelligently about the ongoing project so that anyone would think I am just another US consultant! I have thought about it. “Yes, this is the scan factory and we feel it will be fully utilized within 2 weeks, processing 1,000 credit card applications per day.”

The Fullerton Hotel buffet did have quite a selection. It actually included really good turkey with cranberry sauce. Just a taste of Thanksgiving but it really was some of the tenderest turkey I have had. You can choose the $68 option that includes everything except the outside BBQ and Satay station. Or there is the $88 option that includes the BBQ and Satay (not really worth it) and all-you-can-drink Tiger beer or Singapore Slings. Which do you think I chose? Did you guess the endless Tiger beer? You betcha! (I had two – so stuffed).

There was a very good sushi station, a seafood station with crab legs and prawns, and a lot of different meats in local and regional styles. There was an Italian station and outside a satay grill and a BBQ grill with chicken, meat, lamb, etc. It wasn’t really that great for the BBQ items. The indoor items were all fairly good.

Of course there was the obligatory ice cream station with 4 different flavors and a dessert table with all kinds of goodies! I tried 80% of that table and was happy with most of it. We were stuffed. We were already on the dessert selections when the waitress came out and said the lobster would be out in a few minutes. What? Well it comes with a lobster half-tail for each of us! What? I just ate three chocolate brownies, tiramisu, some lemon cookies, chocolate-raspberry cake, vanilla ice cream, some type of berry cobbler, and you want me to eat lobster? That’s gross. I ate it. It was not very good actually – a little tough and not too flavorful. But that was independent of my dessert foray pre-lobster.

Now we were double-stuffed. We were like those double-stuffed baked potatoes they might have provided had this been Thanksgiving! Ha!

Two+ hours later, we split the bill and hobbled out. The really nice thing was when the manager heard about the mistiming of Thanksgiving and the website, we were only charged $68 each versus the $88. That was a very generous gesture. The Fullerton Hotel is a decent deal for the price and the selection is very good. Even if you just eat a couple of forkfuls of each item, you may not cover it all.

Although I have not tried it yet, and YAW has, supposedly the Hyatt buffet for about $130 with free-flowing champagne is much, much better. Hmm – when is that?

P.S. The funniest part of the evening was when the 8-year old mentioned he would do something “Gangnam style.” If you don’t know what that is, crawl out from under your rock and Google it. Watch the YouTube video! As we left the hotel, he even did the dance for us out front. It was so funny! When people walked by, they stopped and started laughing because even they knew what dance the little 8-year American kid was performing.



CUT by Wolfgang Puck, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

CUT by Wolfgang Puck: Expensive but well worth it.

UPDATE: January 2013 – I have to say this place will be the financial death of us! After our 3rd visit there just this month, we calculated over 10 visits since the first time we tried The Cut last fall. It never disappoints! We now eat at the bar every time and my standard is the US filet medium-rare. Once we found out they also have a less expensive steak and frites meal, which is the perfect size, that seemed to clench it. The bartenders are great and they talk to you! We haven’t found this as true at DB or Mozza’s which are across the way in the mall

Steak. The Final Frontier. Wait, that’s not right. Well you know what, for today it is! There are a few things we really miss living in Singapore. One of course is a good steak. I am talking about the juicy, medium-rare, bone-in, grade-A, cooked in 10 pounds of butter, filet from Mastro’s that I so miss. The second is good Mexican food. I am not going to spend any time on the latter here. It is an ongoing quest and we are coming close.

But Steak I have found and the restaurant is Wolfgang Puck’s CUT here in the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. Located inside the busy (and way too expensive) mall, this restaurant is the classical dark wood interior you would expect from a good steak house. CUT is the 3rd steakhouse for Chef Puck, the first being in Beverly Hills, CA of course. As you walk in, there is the obligatory bar and a few tables. This is especially handy if your first time to CUT you do not know shorts are not allowed in the dining room! Fine, I’ll eat at the bar. We did, but this is our 2nd visit.

The bar experience, during our first visit, was great. The bartenders are young and willing to chat. The restaurant plays classic rock most of the time and asking the bartenders if they know the song or group from around 10-15 years before they were born is an interesting game. I’ll warn you they cheat! There is an app for the iPhone that tries to identity the song it hears and of course they use this trick, albeit on the sly. When I ask the name of the song and I see one hand dart under the large bar, I know they are cheating yet once again. However, it is good sport. Both times, Lugis was there and he has great drink recommendations. Watching the bartenders here mix the drinks, using super large ice cubes, shaking, and pouring, is as much fun as ordering. Keep in mind this is Singapore. Cocktails are not cheap

On this 2nd visit, we spent a few minutes at the bar but then, being appropriately attired for an evening out with the wife, we proceeded to the dining room.  By the way, it was Saturday night because when I called on Wed. for Fri reservations, they were booked. Call early in the week! Continuing, the mix of patrons is young and old, some local many tourists, and the atmosphere is relatively quiet. The wait staff is hyper-attentive and is on-hand immediately should you need anything. When they ask you about bread, get the pretzel rolls! They are the best!

For this dinner, YAW had the filet (always a good choice) and I had the steak sampler. Yes, you read that right.  It is actually called the “Tasting of New York Sirloin”.  The tasting includes one USDA PRIME Illinois Corn Fed (120g), one American “Kobe Style” from Snake River Farms (Idaho, US. 120g) and a final piece of Japanese Wagyu from the Shiga Prefecture (Honsu, Japan. 60g). The cuts are served left to right in the order I listed (see photo too) with a sauce to match each style.

Sauce?! This is steak! No, I did not use the sauce although I did sample the flavors.  All 3 cuts of meat were fantastic and cooked perfectly. Of course the Wagyu was amazing and very tender. It was hard to save that for last or at least a majority of it.

New York Tasting Menu

In the picture, you can see the cuts and the side of bone marrow. That stuff is so rich it is like melted butter (good to try once but likely not again).



As a side vegetable, we had a butternut squash dish that was fantastic! We also had a bottle of wine, flown all the way from Santa Barbara, CA. Only we would order wine a 2-hour drive  from home in CA when living 10,000 miles away


To top this off, we had one order of the Baked Alaska desert. Yes, I asked them if they would light it on fire at my table. No, they did not. I think the wait staff thought I was crazy when I asked. Is that only on cruises? It was really good and I look forward to trying it again, even with no fire.

Baked Alaska – okay maybe a little fire.

We love this place and it is high on the list of where we would go often if money were no object. Yes, that is one of our ratings. We don’t use the 5-point system, we use the ‘what if we won the lottery (which doesn’t exist here) and could eat anywhere anytime’ system!

It is well worth the visit for that special dinner. And if any of our friends actually make it over here, we might even treat! (Might).

This small sampler is provided with the large bill




PS. Cafe at Palais on Orchard Road

PS. Cafe has four locations in Singapore and it was highly recommended for Brunch. But being that we are sometimes a tad lazy on weekends, we stopped by at 2:00 PM on a Sunday afternoon one September weekend (yes, this is a late entry – I realized I am lacking on foodie details!). It was a 15 minute wait but you sit right by the dessert case and it is worth a look. I actually debated skipping right to some of the cakes and the apparently famous pineapple meringue that looks like a volcano! That is usual for me, by the way – skipping to dessert. Just ask someone who knows me. Ha!

Overall, the atmosphere is really good at this PS. Cafe and for the food, we would go again. (Our new rating – “go as often as money allows”, “go again”, “once was okay”, “yuck” or something like that.)

We split our food, which seems to be one of the handy Asian customs I am getting used to (unless steak is involved then watchyour fingers!). Our dishes were the chicken tenders with steak fries and a hamburger that is a mix of Waygu and sirloin. Since the tenders already had fries, we switched the side for the burger to a salad. The chicken tenders were some of the best we have ever had. The covering was lightly breaded and crispy but not greasy. The burger was okay and the salad – well it was salad! It was good but I still have a slight aversion to vegetables.. The aversion works well here in Singapore as I find most dishes don’t come with a big portion of veggies if at all! Good for me!

Dessert was a shared carrot cake and a cappuccino. Yes, I shared the dessert buy in my, and the cake’s, defense it was a big slice! It was pretty good. We will go back at some point and have more chicken tenders and try the volcano-looking meringue.

The Rotisserie @ MBFC Tower 3

(Update 20/11/12) – I knew the price had changed and here it is in my blog! The price for the family meal is now $28.00. It increased by $3 in the last few weeks. I know because we now buy this meal 2x per week. Since I work at home, it gives me some healthy leftovers (related of course to our Gym posting for Pure Fitness). In LA at the large member-only warehouse club, the chickens were $7 for a whole chicken! Yet, this is still a good deal and I recommend it if you need something to take home after a long day at work.

Update (31/10/12) – I notice this blog entry comes up in quite a few searches. If you like large portions, this is the place! We have gone 5 times now, with 2 of those times being a pick-up of the S$25.00 whole-chicken meal. My only complaint on the family meal is the seemingly small portions of the side dishes. Instead of 3 salads and 3 vegetables, I now get 2 and 2. yet that still is just enough for us to split during the first sit down! At least I still get leftover chicken for lunch. When you eat there, however, the portions are big! It is very much American-sized portions which means you should be careful not to get American-sized bellies.

We have yet to try their sandwiches. I guess I should! Are they any good?

– – – – – – – – – – – –

The Rotisserie is a fairly new restaurant on the 2nd floor of tower 2 at the Marina Bay Financial Centre. They serve up 1/4 or 1/2 roasted chicken with a choice of 2 cooked veggies or 2 salads. A 1/4 with 2 sides is S$11. There are also paninis.

The chicken was good, just slightly dry which might be why they offer a large ladle of gravy! (I passed). There is a nice selection for the side salads. Mine is potato, bacon, and egg for one and quinoa red rice and lentil with spicy cauliflower for the other. I should add this is one of the biggest serving sizes i have had since coming here. Environment is nice, clean, and open.

For S$25 you can get a family pack with a whole chicken, salad combo, and mixed vegetables.

Update: (Sept 5, 2012) – recently we bought the $25 deal to have some food for the week (for me at home!) and it was very good. The chicken was perfect. I wish the sides had been bigger portions. When they say salad or mixed vegetable combo, this means 3 different single-serving sized salad choices (in one big cup) and 3 of vegetable. Looking back, I should have stuck with one vegetable (mashed potatoes!) and 1 salad.

There is also a illy coffee stand inside. Because this is the heart of the three tower complex, it can get packed during the week for lunch which id typically close to noon. Open 7a to 10p M-Sa



1st Sushi – Ministry of Food

Sushi and a large variety of Japanese food! This was actually from the prior weekend but sometimes, these gadgets just don’t work as well as you would like! This was good sushi at a reasonable price. Near Bugis MRT station.


Asia Square Food Court

Typical meal for about S$ 9.00 when picking a food court in one of the high rise office buildings. In this case, Asia Square which seems to be the HQ for Citibank here. BBQ pork combo with rice.


Brotzeit German food

2nd time, trying the 2 person pork knuckle and draft beers.

LeVel33 view on a Friday afternoon

A small but good selection of house brewed beer on the 33rd level of a financial building high-rise. Imagine hoisting the large brewing tanks required to brew in-house way up here! Good “beer food” including meat & lamb meatballs, pork belly with spicy mustard and apples, bread with dipping sauces, etc. The house stout is very good and we wonder if the altitude makes it better?!

My favourite snack!


The Exchange at Asia Square has free martinis for the ladies on Wednesday night! Of course we had to stop by for truffle fries as well. Tomorrow is a national holiday here and this place is packed. For the OC crowd think Mastros Ocean Club on a Friday night but 10 years younger.

Anjappar Restaurant – Little India


On a Sunday night we ventured to one of YAW’s favorite places – Anjappar in Little India (76A Racecourse Road). Instead of taking to MRTs (subway), we decided to Taxi it which normally is a really easy thing but for some reason, this driver thought we were headed to his favorite Chinese restaurant and our drive was a few kilometers out of the way! The payment was adjusted accordingly – somewhat. This place was great! It is her 3rd or 4th time and we know we will go back again – soon! Great authentic food, a tad spicy for me, but the mango-yogurt drink really helps with the spice. The picture shows my Dosa with cheese cooked in. Very thin and curved into the cone shape. Y’s is a very spicy version which I let her eat all on her own. We also had specialty mutton dish – charred small cubes also very spicy and also very addicting – along with a standard far Chicken Tikka Masala. I think some egg naan was thrown in as well for good measure. Top it off with a few bottles of Kingfisher Lager and it was a great end to a fast weekend.

We were there around 6:30 PM and there were plenty of spaces. By the time we left around 7:30ish, it was getting crowded.

Oh – and we did take the MRT home once we saw the station was only a few blocks from where we were eating! Much less….