Hai Tien Lo Buffet – Huge spread with some excellent dishes

Hai Tien Lo

Pan Pacific Hotel near City Hall MRT

I have always been thinking when to go for Hai Tien Lo buffet and yes, finally got to try it today. Priced at $68++, I thought a more compelling occasion is needed to go for such a premium buffet and yeah, to celebrate the dad’s bday. Have been here once for the set menu during Chinese New Year and was impressed by most of the dishes. I know, it sounds a little ironic that I am more willing to pay for ala carte dishes than buffet as buffet always feel overly stuffing and may compromise in quality.

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Alright, there are a few sections in the buffet and dishes from the first two sections could be ordered only once. The braised abalone with the uber smooth, silky beancurd splashed with conpoy sauce was a hit. Abalone was definitely very fresh and pretty big. Love its springy texture while the beancurd has a wok hei fragrant on its outer layer.

DSC_1122Buddha jump over the wall. Very rich fragrant broth, it contains loads of nutritious ingredients, such as abalone, collagen rich tendon, tender chicken meat and scallops!

DSC_1129Baked Crayfish with Lemon butter sauce was another memorable dish as the creamy butter sauce was delicious yet not cloying as the zesty lemon gives it a slight citrusy punch. Crayfish is super fresh and its meat could be pulled out so easily! Very delicious dish indeed.

DSC_1132And this last dish that could be ordered only once is Hokkaido Scallops and Coral Clams with XO chilli sauce. The scallops were not overcooked as it’s still moist within while the coral clam has an addictive springy texture. However, it tends to be slightly too salty. Would have been perfect if it is less heavy tasting.

DSC_1124Steamed sea perch with preserved vegetables and bean curd sticks. Simple dish but usually wouldn’t go wrong when fish is fresh!

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The big 4 that I will usually get at a Cantonese restaurant. We have non fatty and nicely grilled char siew, super tender soya chicken and pretty good roast duck. Also got the smoked duck with salad by the side that didn’t pander to our palates as it tasted like ham. 

DSC_1134Mango salad with Crispy fish skin. This would have been perfect if soy sauce wasn’t used. It is an oriental style mango salad and thought it would have been better if the Thai rendition is served instead. Somehow the soy sauce makes this dish a little too salty and doesn’t accentuate the addictive sour taste. Fish skin though was pretty well fried.

Fat cow palaceLets briefly zoom pass the dim sum menu which only fills up one page. The fried prawn roll, cheung fen, carrot cake and chicken feet were not bad but not excellent I felt. They all felt like a near miss. While the carrot cake has a good crispy skin, its inside is quite bland and isn’t as addictive as it should be.

DSC_1138The only dim sum that I liked more was this pumpkin cake that consists of yam bits and dried shrimps in it. Its taste is similar to that of yam cake but softer, smoother and lighter.

DSC_1140This wasabi mayonnaise fried prawn wasn’t oily at all and has a slightly crispy ‘skin’. The wasabi mayonnaise wasn’t overly heavy and went really well with the prawns. Love the cube of nicely carved sweet watermelon underneath it. Prawns that are nicely presented indeed.

DSC_1141Some fresh, succulent poached prawns to further increase your seafood intake that goes very well with the chilli served.

DSC_1143Fried rice with Prawns and fish roe. The rice has a very interesting springy consistency while the fish roe gives it the bubbly texture. Very fragrant rice over here that makes you want more.

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And though we were stuffed, we all felt lucky that I’ve ordered the Wok-fried noodles with shredded chicken in superior soy sauce. Noodles were not greasy at all and each strand was coated with a heavy wok hei fragrance. Very delicious plate of noodles here.

And so like most other buffets, though priced at a premium pricing, there are some hits and misses. The hits were really spot on while the misses all felt like near misses actually and could have been made better easily. I guess the best cantonese buffet that I’ve enjoyed so far (for the same pricing) is still Cherry Garden at Mandarin Oriental as more interesting dim sum and mains are served over there. Nevertheless, Hai Tien Lo still has a pretty good buffet I reckon.

Verdict: A good restaurant for buffet.

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