Asian market at the Fairmont hotel in Swissotel is a hotel Asian food buffet establishment. Tucked in the second floor of Swissôtel The Stamford, you may know it otherwise as the hotel connected to Raffles City mall. It sits facing Raffles hotel across the road. Geographically, it is situated centrally in the Singapore City Hall area with its own MRT station, the eatery is easily accessible by public transport.
The Asian Market restaurant is one of the two hotel restaurants located within the building. One being Fairmont hotel and the other being Swissôtel The Stamford with their Cafe Swiss establishment.
A welcome by the staff brings you a rather longish shaped restaurant which curves towards the left following the building’s curved facade.
Conducive homely environment
The layout of the restaurant buffet is well centralized. It has a capacity of about 270 diners through central and chamber seating. Counters of food line the walls on both sides of the seating areas. Dining tables here are located centrally in the middle of the restaurant.
I particularly like the layout as it does not exclude any patrons from the buffet spread. This is unlike Triple three at Orchard. The only areas I see excluded are private event dining rooms. Otherwise, there is no area in the restaurant where you can’t see the food from your table.
Plenty of Asian food varieties
International buffets usually feature sections of food dedicated to cuisines from a region. Examples include Japanese (Sashimi), European with western roast, Italian with pizzas and Pasta and an Oriental cooked food section.
Moreover, Asian market brings about this oriental cooked food section further by showcasing the lateral breadth and depth of Halal-certified authentic pan-Asian cuisine. This is brought to you through more in-depth Asian specialization in each of the cuisines within the immediate region. This includes food from Thailand, Indonesia to India (and of course Singapore) just to name a few.
For starters, you get two choices of Asian style soups such as chicken soups as well as more western flavor cream-based soups.
The spread is not large but still pretty extensive and well curated in variety. There is an extensive Indian section with a selection of curries, dalls, lentil and rice with accompanying soups to start your meal. Moreover, it is pleasing to know that there are also freshly-made Prata prepared courtesy of a stationed Indian Chef.
The chef is friendly and makes an assortment of standard pratas or to any customised fillings to your liking. He still full of smiles despite being under a rather heavy workload serving queues of patrons for his pratas.
Meats and Roasts
In addition to Indian tastes are the roasts. The highlight here are the Thai Style Roasted Beef. It is an Asian take on the traditional western roast sprinkled with an Asian flair.
Additionally, you get barbecued grilled seafood fish selection such as Sea bass. You can’t get any more Chinese than having such oriental Ze-char seafood favorites. The grilled fish is good. It spots a crispy fried outer and a juicy and creamy interior without being too dry.
The same applies for the meats too. They are well marinated and tasteful. They are almost medium-rare and really juicy on the insides. In comparison you tend to get such good quality beef even on buffets costing at least $20 more per head than what Fairmont charges.
Additionally, if barbecued Satays count as Asian roast too, you are in luck. You have a full assortment of chicken, Lamb and Beef Satays. They are all freshly prepared at what Fairmont calls “Live action stations” cooked by on-site Chefs. This completes the dining experience offering dishes through both static self-help as well as freshly cooked food prepared in front of you.
A mix of fresh and cooked seafood
Furthermore, no food cuisine, Asian or not is free from Seafood. You get an assortment of Japanese Sashimi as well as fresh oysters. Seafood is served throughout the various counters, from the ice bed of the fresh seafood section. This include Sashimi from the Japanese counter, shell fish and Singapore’s favorite Chili crab form the cooked food deli counters. The oysters are fresh and are replenished often despite being a fast-moving item.
Moreover, on the Japanese platter, surprisingly, you have a choice of small Japanese sushi counter. Notably, it serves only salmon Sashimi, as well an assortment of Sushi and Maki platters. The selection is not large at first look, but it compliments the selection from the Japanese Asian cuisine perspective.
The Sashimi quality is not top notch, but it is firm and good for the price segment. I found the Sushi selections tad lacking in variety. But it is not something the restaurant will wish you place emphasis on given other better foods offered.
Additionally on the cooked food section, you pot full of Chilli crab. Everything here is self-help and you can literally douse your dish with crab and the accompanying chilli sauce. It goes well with servings of deep fried Mantou. Completing the Seafood lineup includes Kung Pao Style Crayfish and Garlic Steamed Prawns. These come with their respective gravies and best topped over your choice of fried rice or fried noodles from the cooked food counters.
Local delights and Desserts
In addition to Chef counter stations are DIY cooking spots too. Here, you can have a go at preparing yourself local dishes such as a bowl of Laksa. You get to decide on the ingredients and noodles which you get to stewed in cookers of boiling water on the counter. You top it up with your selection of condiments (parsley and chili sauces). Other dishes includes fired Oyster Omelette and specialties Braised Duck Rice.
You finish up your meals with an assortment of typical Asian desserts and tropical fruits. The usual suspects here includes Rojak, Cheng Tng and Portuguese Egg Tarts. You can even DIY your own cendol or ice kancang. The fruits and vegetables served at the salad bar are fresh.
The must-try will be the Durian Pengat. It has a rich creamy, sweet and luscious authentic flavor. It does have the pungent durian smell, but not too overwhelming, especially for first timers to the fruit or those who aren’t too big on durians.
A friendly Halal restaurant
The Fairmont restaurant prides itself as one of the best Halal restaurant chains in Singapore. The selling point will be it is clearly a Halal certified eatery. It was awarded a 5-star Crescent Rating. Hence, no problems bringing your Muslim friends and families over this place.
There are two meal sessions of a lunch and dinner openings per daily. The rates are also different on the weekends (Saturday and Sunday). Dinners are further split into two seating sessions, with the first seating running from 6:00pm to 8.15pm and the second seating from 8.30pm to 10.30pm. Service was good too, and the restaurant is even provided complimentary birthday cake for any patrons celebrating the occasion.
Affordable and check for bank deals
Moreover, the restaurant price point is affordable too. It not easy to find hotel buffet priced in the $60 range within the city. At about $68++ for a weekend dinner (About $58++ for weekdays), Asian market is priced below most international buffet restaurants. It is about $20 cheaper on average than most hotel buffets. When I was there, a couple of banks were offering a 1-1 special, effectively halving your bill when you dine with an even number of diners.
All in all, this sumptuous buffet reflects the diversity of flavors and cultures within the region. This is one of the few proper Halal certified foods eateries serving quality food worth recommending. The spread is not large, but it was still pretty extensive, surprisingly enough to go around. I was able to have a savor food choices from every counter before getting full. I was genuinely surprised with the quality of food offered.
Also, if I were to bring my Muslim friends out for a treat, now I know Asian market will be a good choice.
Asian Market at Fairmont Singapore
Swissôtel The Stamford
80 Bras Basah Road, Fairmont,
Opening Hours, Lunch:
Monday to Friday- 12:00pm to 2:30pm
Saturday & Sunday- 12:00pm to 4:00pm
Sunday to Thursday- 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Friday and Saturday- 6:00pm to 10:30pm
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