Singaporeans love buffet. Singaporeans also love exploring new stuff. With the influencers showcasing their staycays at the newly-opened JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach (I could literally smell the fresh paint from their posts!), many of us will also be tempted to try the new buffet place housed in the same compounds – Beach Road Kitchen. N and I went to take a look to see if this place is worth our calories (and moolahs).
Due to the design of the hotel (which was built around the heritage buildings originally sitting on the land), Beach Road Kitchen was not in the same building as the hotel; that does not mean you cannot take the excuse to walk one round in the hotel reception area (like we did :P)
Also due to its unique design, most of the dining area enjoyed good views of the outdoors, no thanks to the full-height glass windows and minimal kitchen space. On the other hand, the tables were carved out in numerous enclaves, with the food stations peppered amongst the seats. For example, after taking the grilled chicken, you would have to worm through the crowd to get to the seafood section.
The Food Stations at Beach Road Kitchen
Speaking of seafood, they have an entire space (think: walk-in fridge (not walking fridge)) devoted to the seafood. This meant that seafood remained cold due to the enclosed space, though there was quite a squeeze trying to get to the food. One unique menu item they had was a full lobster (not half, not thermidor), albeit a mini one, that was worth trying out.
Hot food items wise, I had mentioned the grilled station, which was beside the Indian food section. There was that typical Chinese food station (food-to-note: Hokkien Mee and Fried Rice), pastry section and dessert station. The dessert section took up a noticeably larger space than the others, where one could find a nonya kuehs, tarts, cakes, cookies, soft-serve ice cream and ice-cream in cups.
Another notable station was the Laksa Bar. One can choose their noodles and ingredients from a (literally) wall of options, pass them to the chef, who would cook them and serve it piping hot to you bathed in laksa gravy (the food, not the chef).
Let’s start from the laksa – the gravy was watery and lacked umami. Most of the desserts were passable. I only had their ice cream cups, 3 flavours of it, and I must say the only one worth eating was Coconut (while N preferred Gula Melaka). Despite our disagreement, we thought we would avoid the Mango flavour at all cost.
I tucked in to the seafood first, and I had high expectations of them. Meeting high expectations, as it turned out, was not Beach Road Kitchen’s strength. Though I said the cute mini lobsters were worth a try, it was for the spirit of “been there, done that”. There was this fishy taste that bordered on being stale. The bamboo clam was totally inedible, clams was just OK, and the oysters were too salty and non-juicy (may I say I was eating the Ally McBeal of oysters?).
If you ask me, even the Ah Ma walking into the seafood section was fresher than the seafood she was putting on her plate.
The staff was courteous, with the younger ones observed to be attempting at mastering service language. They were prompt in clearing the tables and topping up water. There was an episode, where we witnessed a matriarch of a family (they apparently reserved a tonne-load of seats that filled up a good section of the dining area) wanting to combine that tonne-load of seats into one mega-dining table that would make even the twelve apostles appalled. Despite the insistence to fulfill that funny request, there was not a second where the server showed impatience or expressed insolence.
However, my only bug was the glass; I noted at the start that the glass was obviously not cleaned properly (the whole glass was translucent instead of clear, like the glass standing beside it). Apparently no one saw that. And when I pointed it out to the young server, she looked back at me with her big eyes and said, “It’s not dirty, Sir.” I had wanted her to judge for herself the quality of cleanliness of the glass, as I thought it would provide a good learning experience for a new staff like her. In the end, I gave up and simply requested for a new glass because we were getting to nowhere with my feedback.
N and I agreed that anybody who wants to try out this new place should give it more time to fine-tune their food and service quality. 1 year should suffice.
Beach Road Kitchen
30 Beach Rd, Singapore 189763