Sunday, January 08, 2006

Pig Out at the Grand Corpthorne Waterfront

I am a pig. Yes ... a pig. I ate so much this evening I think I must have put on 5 lbs. It's a good thing I do not own a weighing machine because I think I will be terribly depressed after this.

My friend, Marie, managed to score two buffet dinner vouchers at the Grand Corpthorne Waterfront and very kindly invited me to share it with her. I was thrilled as I have not pigged out since my stomach bug trauma. I prepared well.

Loose, comfy dress in a dark shade to hide massive stomach and any possible food stains from ungainly mastication ... Check.

Limited jewelry which may weigh you down during the many treks to the buffet line .... Check.

Wet wipes ... Check.

Pale lippy so no one would notice when it rubs off from eating ... Check.

Camera for food porn ... Check.

Comfortable shoes ... Check.

No lunch so I will be hungry as hell by dinner ... Check. (OK, I cheated .. I had a persimmon)

I was ready, pumped and dangerous. I will take no prisoners ... I will devour and conquer ... bwahahahaha.

Marie and I checked out the cost of the buffet dinner via the Internet. Apparently it is S$38+++, which we thought was extremely reasonable but did not bode well for the quality of the food.

So I was very pleasantly surprised to find that I did enjoy the food. The service was excellent despite a slight hiccup in the seating arrangement when I first arrived. For some reason, Marie and I were seated in opposite sides of the room waiting for each other with no clue that the other was already there.

Once we finally managed to be seated together, we made a determined beeline to the buffet line. I was astonished at the variety of food available. To be honest, I had rather snootily assumed that the Grand Corpthorne Waterfront would have a dinky buffet line with the typical two platters of "fresh" seafood and single table of cooked food and maybe half a table of dessert which would consist mostly of cut fruits.

But I was truly put in my place (which was right by the sashimi counter like four times) by the wonderful array of food at the Cafe Brio at the Grand Corpthorne Waterfront.

There was a table of fresh salads and cold items which were not terribly remarkable or unusual. I tried the smoked salmon which was second rate and I was glad I only took a single piece. The arugula salad was adequate but really ... how badly can you mess up salad?

However, there was a very unusual entree that my curiosity would not allow me to pass without grabbing a portion. Perhaps it was the presentation. Propped delicately in the centre of a tiny heart-shaped dish were two plump raw oysters lacquered with a creamy white blanket. Peering shyly beneath the oysters was some amber jelly with a sprinkling of red pepper dices. I had no clue what it was but it intrigued me enough to try it.

I discovered the pale creamy substance covering the oysters was mayonnaise. No, no, no! That is so wrong! Everything in me protested this sacrilege. The amber jelly-like strands below were Chinese cured jellyfish. It tasted really odd and I truly wondered what drugs the chef was on when he or she concocted that. What a waste of very good raw oysters.

I adore seafood and so I headed straight for the fresh seafood counter. I was extremely delighted to note that not only were the seafood fresh, abundant and varied but they were well presented and constantly topped up. I was impressed.

I was terribly restrained and restricted myself to two raw oysters. Just in case they were crap. I saw they had a sashimi counter and I was there faster than you can say "Banzai!"

It was a wonderful start to dinner. I was very pleased with the quality of the sashimi even if they were not sliced to the correct thickness. The oysters were wonderfully fresh and creamy and I found myself going for seconds. And thirds.

I tried the mussels which were meaty and fresh but not the most flavourful. The boiled crabs were simple and delicious but I was too lazy to go beyond the single crab claw and pincers. Marie had never seen crawfish before so she was curious to taste them for the first time. I love crawfish even if they are kind of fiddly to eat so I grabbed four. We also grabbed a plate of boiled prawns. I dressed mine fairly simply with a shallot and red wine vinaigrette and Marie flooded hers with Thousand Island. I had to avert my eyes with a suppressed and discreet shudder.

I was fairly full by then but I galvanised myself to go the distance. Humming the theme of Rocky in my head, I went back into the field.

This time, Marie and I devised a cunning strategy. We would grab different items of food. Clever, huh? And then we would share it! Diabolical, no???

OK, I am a lame buffet person. I do not pile my plate in the desired fashion of maximum height and weight. I like to have a plate where I can actually see what I am eating. I prefer to savour the many dishes separately so I can gauge the quality of each dish. No, not for I the mixed plate of unrecognisable food. Small portions. Frequent trips. Happy camper.

Marie headed for the carvery counter while I looked around the hot dishes station. There was a lot of Asian dishes. I chose a single grilled jumbo prawn which turned out to be plump and delicious, some arugula and mixed salad, braised mixed mushrooms and black pepper beef with peppers.

The braised mushrooms were abominations. The chef had cooked them to death in a tasteless and overly starched cornstarch solution that was reminiscent of wallpaper paste. Awful, just awful. Somehow they had also managed to seep out every bit of taste from the mushrooms. Truly a remarkable accomplishment.

The black pepper beef was marginally better. At least it had taste but I disliked how the chef appears to have a vendetta against all vegetables. Again, he punished the peppers and sugar snap peas horribly by overcooking them to almost a mush.

I tasted Marie's platter which had a chicken curry, the braised mushrooms (sigh), a seafood curry, and some fried udon noodles. The curries were both supremely mediocre and we both concluded that we could cook these way better. The fried udon noodles were a little better but I was not totally enamoured of it although Marie rather enjoyed them.

Marie's trip to the carvery station was a little more successful. The lamp chops were average but the roast lamb was quite lovely. At first, we were inclined to snub it since it looked really unappealing and the chef manning the counter had a thoroughly lost look that did not inspire confidence. However, we gave it a try anyway and were wonderfully surprised at how tasty and succulent the roast lamb was.

The other dish Marie picked up was a beef moussaka. Eh? Beef moussaka? I love moussaka and have honestly have eaten some of the best. So I am fairly fussy about my moussaka. A beef moussaka, eh? I decided to be open minded. I asked Marie to taste it first.

Amazingly, Marie had never had moussaka before so she really enjoyed it. I saw the corn kernels in it and was immediately mortally offended. But I gave it a go anyway. It was definitely no moussaka. It was more like a bastardised cottage pie. Lots of beef mince with corn kernels and the chef went to town with the tomato sauce. It was odd but still fairly tasty.

By now, we made a decision to make space for the important things - dessert. The dessert counter was wonderful. Lots of petit fours and cakes and ... a chocolate fountain! Chocolate fountains-wise, it was a pretty modest specimen but hey, it was a chocolate fountain! Marie headed there with great purpose as I collated a well rounded platter of cakes and petit four.

There was bread and butter pudding. I cannot resist bread and butter pudding. It is genetically ingrained in me that I cannot pass by pudding. It is not possible. Kill me, torture me, offer me Hugh Jackman's body nekkid and hog-tied (to me!) under my duvet ... I still cannot give bread and butter pudding a miss. I took a small portion and drizzled it with the vanilla sauce.

I saw a lovely looking dark cake which was labelled as a champagne pear and frangipani cake. How exotic! I love frangipanis. It is one of my favourite flowers and I was even wearing a frangipani flower in my hair tonight! It was a sign. I plated one onto my platter despite Marie's doubtful looks.

(Picture on left proves the frangipani in hair claim. I know ... so Ah Huay but I am just that tackily attracted to flowers. Sigh!)

Marie insisted that I commandeer a tiny little chocolate ball encrusted with crushed peanuts for her. I was fairly dubious. It had the plasticky look of processed desserts and looked highly suspect. But I obligingly took a single piece for Marie. The last piece of dessert I took was a lush looking chocolate mousse cake. The dark chocolate and the glorious orange of the physalis decorating the cake was just too much for me to resist.

Reaching our table, I noticed that Marie had claimed a bowl of gula melaka. I was beyond thrilled. I adore gula melaka. Happily, we piled our booty on the table and gleefully tucked in.

Marie attacked the mystery chocolate ball first. She was convinced it was a macaroon but it looked like no macaroon I've ever seen. Marie's expression at first bite was rather telling. When she asked me what the mystery black substance in the middle of it was, I was equally mystified. It was not chocolate. Marie was not sure but she thought it could have been a sweet black bean paste. All I can say is ... eeeuuuwww. She discarded it after just one bite.

I tried my bread and butter pudding. Sigh ... major disappointment. It was mostly custard with hardly any hint of bread. The vanilla sauce was just that. Vanilla sauce. No bourbon. No hint of alkie at all! And no taste too.

The chocolate covered strawberries were delicious even though the strawberries were not totally ripened to my liking. I give kudos to the Grand Corpthorne Waterfront for using high quality chocolate for the chocolate fountain. Marie gobbled the chocolate covered marshmallows but I gave those a miss.

The chocolate mousse cake was calling my name. Marie was not impressed that the cake was layered with chocolate mousse on the top and a blueberry jam filled sponge at the bottom. I rather like the combination. The chocolate mousse was rich but not over-poweringly so. But I did think it could be richer and more dense. The chocolate ganache was very luscious though and I enjoyed every forkful. I can think of a dozen chocolate mousse cakes I would prefer so this cake was just slightly above average in my estimation.

Next up was the champagne pear and frangipani cake. I could see the piece of pear embedded in the dark cake but I was rather puzzled as to what gave the cake its dark hue. At first bite, I realised it was cocoa. It was a rather strange tasting cake but not unpleasantly so. Still, it would not be a favourite cake of mine and I really could not figure out where the frangipani taste was.

Marie started in on the gula melaka and I felt the pressure to join her before she finished the lot. It was incredibly delicious! Each morsel of the sago was well cooked and separated and coated with the smokey sweetness of the gula melaka and rich creaminess of the coconut milk. I was deliriously happy and making orgasmic noises. It was definitely the most fabulous thing on the dessert menu.

But no, there was another tiny little treat. A petit four that I almost missed. I love meringues and when I saw a little gleaming white dome with swirls of brown perched pertly on top of a pastry shells, I just had to have it. Marie scorned it. I took a delicate little bite and suddenly, I was Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. I started moaning and closing my eyes at the most wonderful surprise. It was not a meringue. It was a tiny key lime pie!

But wait, there's more! Snuggled sneakily right at the bottom of the this cheeky petit four was a thin layer of guava custard. It was a most refreshingly and divine combination of taste with the mild key lime mousse. I was beyond ecstatic. I was almost post-coital after consuming that little piece of heaven.

It was an incredibly wonderful way to end my dinner. I give the buffet dinner at the Grand Corpthorne Waterfront a 7/10. It is more than worth S$38+++ just for the fresh seafood. They would do well to improve their cooked dishes though. These were uniformly mediocre and really let the side down on their wonderful seafood brethens. The desserts were either heavenly or bizarre but again, the chocolate fountain, the gula melaka and the guava key lime petit four more than made up for it.

I would happily pay money to go back for the buffet dinner but I was very grateful to Marie for sharing this with me. It had been such a lovely dinner that we decided to head down to One Nite Stand for drinks. I'd not been there in years and it really is not the kind of place I would like to spend my time. But since Marie has been so kind to include me in her dinner, I decided to accommodate her wishes.

On entering One Nite Stand, I remembered why I never went there. It was incredibly crowded and the music was so loud that the shutters were trembling and you could feel the vibrations outside the bar! And it was a total SPG hangout. Lots of tourists. Lots of local and not-so-local girls working the tourist crowd.

Marie and I found a corner of the bar and planted ourselves there. We were a little out of place as we were too old to be SPGs and too young to be someone's irate aunts or mothers come to reclaim their lost young uns. So we quietly sipped our vodka tonics and started people watching.

It was superbly entertaining. By the second drink, Marie and I were in hysterics over the shenanigans of the various Caucasian blokes trying to score with the local hookers and SPGs. It was definitely a numbers game and it was highly amusing to watch them. Until some of them tried to chat me up. I was not sure whether to be flattered or insulted. I decided to be diffident.

The first bloke to try to chat me up was Korean. Thankfully his English was poor enough that I could pretend not to understand him and therefore be able to ignore him. Marie flashed me the "Why does this always happen to you?" look and told me not to get chatted up while she went to the loo. She stated she was not going to interrupt nature's call to rescue me. I stared down at my drink and tried not to make any eye contact with anyone.

Rrrright ... that works. Not. The next bloke had a classic pick-up line. He was obviously English and from the North too. His tack was the "I am very nervous as this is my first time in a disco. Have you ever been to a disco?" This from a bloke who looked like he was in his late 20s and had the hungry, darting eyes of a man on the make.

"No. It is obviously an illusion that I am here in a disco." Duh.

"Oh, I am so nervous because I do not know how to dance. Do you know how to dance?"

"No, not at all. I am a terrible dancer and I never dance."

You'd think he'd have gotten the hint but I had to very discreetly turn my back on him and pretend to engage the wall next to me in conversation before he decided to head for easier pastures. Marie returned from the loo just in time to see the last bit of this comedy act and she was totally cracking up.

We were two sitting ducks there. A few really old buggers kept staring at us and giving us leering grins occasionally but we would exercise our judiciously bad eyesight and not see them.

And then a couple of drinks came our way.

Now, I cannot remember the last time some stranger bought me a drink and did not use that as a pick-up tactic. But there he was. This really nice bloke in a yellow Bintan T-shirt (which proves he is a tourist) with a nice shock of white hair (which demonstrates he is an older gentleman) and a nice smile who had just asked the bartender to get us both a drink on him. We were awfully surprised but we smiled politely and raised our glasses in appreciation and thanks. This man proved he had style. He simply smiled back (not leer!), raised his glass back in acknowledgement and never bothered us the whole night!

It really restored my faith and respect in men. What a terribly classy gesture and how gentlemanly. I never expect this in Singapore where I once saw a man asked a lady he just met to buy him a drink. Men seldom buy you drinks. And when they do, they act like that gives them the right to hound you for the rest of the night. And they are not pleasant at being rebuffed, no matter how gently. This was a lovely surprise and made me remember what it was like to go out for the night and have blokes buy you drinks just because ...

I have no clue who this nice gentleman was but I hope he has a good trip and returns home safe and happy.

The evening would have ended on a perfect note if I had not returned home only to drop my beloved bottle of Benefit Benetint on the floor, smashing it to bits. Terribly despondent, I cleaned up the mess and bemoaned the loss of my favourite make-up item.

Sigh, it only proves there is no such thing as a perfect night. I'll go console myself now by wallowing in my fresh bed sheets.

Categories - Rambling Prose


Blogger AntiLove_SuperStar said...

Wow...a blog that is actually interesting.

Good one.


8:26 am  
Blogger MM said...

Thanks so much for the compliment. You take care now!

7:14 pm  
Blogger OsloFoodie said...

Oh my gosh, what a feast! Here I am past midnight and getting all hungry again. The prawn did it for me. Must go to bed before I ransack the fridge.

7:57 am  

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