One of my objectives for staying at Copthorne King’s was their famous Penang buffet lunch/dinner at their Princess Terrace restaurant (another star of the hotel was Tien Court, a Chinese Cantonese restaurant at level 2).
Located at the hotel lobby, Princess Terrace Cafe is an open-concept buffet place offering a wide spread of Peranakan food. One can find regulars like Kueh Pie Tee and Chicken Satay, or some lesser-seen goodies like Sambal Prawns (deshelled), Prawn Noodles and Tau Huey. Due to its popularity, a reservation is recommended, preferably done 1 week prior.
Lunch was split into 2 seatings, 1 at 12pm and another at 1.45pm, while there was only 1 seating for dinner at 6.30pm. My attempt to reserve a table online was unsuccessful, so I tried my luck at doing it in person (after I was rejected for early check in to my staycation at Copthorne King’s) and the lady was very kind to squeeze a seat for me!
Speaking of the lady, she was not all smiles, but exuded a charm of class and knowledge such that one just felt comfortable with her helping you out. I was very amazed, when I asked for the bill at the counter after the meal, that she remembered where I sat and also addressed me by my surname!
Back to the Penang buffet, the variety was superb! The range of Penang/Peranakan (pardon me, I really think there’s not much difference between the 2, perhaps all can be referred to as Straits Chinese cuisine?) food was wide. From the usual Fried Kway Teow to Chicken Satay (they didn’t even try to be politically correct by having Mutton or Beef Satay, just Chicken Satay), Yam Cakes (drenched with umami red sweet sauce and fried shrimp and onion toppings), Kueh Pie Tee, Spring Rolls (packed with goodness), Otak Otak and Prawn Mee… among the other items. There was also a section of kueh kueh and Peranakan desserts, lined up outside the entrance, housed in hut designed kiosks.
First, the Kueh Pie Tee and Spring Rolls were made on-demand – and they tasted better than those self-service ones found at… other Penang buffet restaurants I dined in. To be frank, I had been having self-service Kueh Pie Tee for so long, that I actually forgot how nice Kueh Pie Tee tasted, until I was at Princess Terrace! The ingredients was moist, but not excessive such that it softened the crispy and fragrant biscuit cup – exactly the right balance of texture for a Kueh Pie Tee!
The Prawn Mee was famous, though I was not impressed. The stock was not rich and the prawns were shrimps (unlike those shown on the posters seen around the hotel compounds), though well, those were full shrimps (you know how you always get a half-prawn for prawn noodles?).
The satay was too ginger-ish (though I must say they have plenty of meat on a stick), while the otak otak was too watery (they have full shrimps inside and the taste was rich with coconut flavour).
My personal favourite was the Mee Goreng, which was basically fried yellow noodles drowned in Chilli Crab gravy. That heavenly taste of ketchup followed by the spicy kick was too good to be true!
Another item that appealed to me was the Fried Chicken in Lemon Sauce – perhaps it was fried food, or perhaps it was the sweet and sour sauce. This food item was a great combination of 2 mundane textures that made it a superb choice as comfort food! I could just sit there and pop one chicken bite after another endlessly…
A surprise was their Curry Chicken. The regular food item of Singaporean food scene turned out to be super yummy – sweet and spicy, though not too stimulating. On the placard labelling the food items, the organisers suggested to pour the curry chicken over the Nasi Ulam, a mixed herb rice served beside the curry chicken, that blended perfectly with the curry!
Dessert wise, I only took the kueh kueh I knew the names to – there were too many items and I was too full by then to try everything. The Ang Ku Kueh (kueh shaped in the likes of a tortoise and dyed red, for those uninitiated ones) was small enough to gratify my taste buds without tiring it out with the sweetness. The Pulut Hitam (Black Glutinous Rice Porridge with Coconut Gravy) looked watery, but tasted up-to-grade nonetheless.
For those who go for dining “experience”, you can make your own Ice Kacang or Chendol at the self-service counter. Alternatively, make your own Rojak and spam the gravy till you have to gulp down 3 glasses of water!
And speaking of beverages, I liked that coffee was free flow, and available in the form of an espresso machine – self-service style.
Buffet lunch/dinner at Princess Terrace is not cheap – it starts off at S$50, excluding taxes. However given the good quality of the food, I think this is a good place to indulge in good old (literally) Singaporean food (though they said it was Penang cuisine, the cultural divide is blurred after all these years).
If you enjoyed reading this Penang buffet review, please like and share my post to your friends! Or you can read my other reviews on Peranakan buffet at Claymore Connect, high tea style at Merchant Court hotel, or just good old Cantonese food at Xin Restaurant.
Till then, eat happy!
All photos and videos were taken using Olympus TG870 and Google Pixel XL, and edited with Snapseed.
403 Havelock Rd
(inside Copthorne King’s Hotel)