Sunday, July 5, 2009

Crab Extravaganza, Ellenborough Market Cafe

If you are hankering for this particular crustacean, Ellenborough Market Cafe's current Crab Temptations will keep your mouths (and hands) busy. The Ultimate Crab buffet dinner from 25 June to 12 July 2009 features crab, crab & more crabs alongside with their international, peranakan & local spread.

Salad of Hokkaido Crabmeat with Apple & Walnut

Braised Shark's Fin Soup with Crabmeat

Crab Risotto

Crabmeat Fried Rice w Asparagus & Flying Fish Roe


Couple of shortcomings aside, the appetisers contained fairly generous inclusions of crab meat to boot. What took centrestage was the real deal...4 enticing variations of crab which decently impressed. None was excluded from spice, but every dish bore its own distinct traits and flavours. Nonya Curry Crab whirled past like a marsala-injected fusion, Fragrant Thai Sauce Crab a unique execution perked up by basil oil, & Black Pepper Sri Lankan Crab dutifully releasing potent peppercorns. The Wok-fried Chilli Crab also debilitated my assumptions of fiery chilli- here's one sweet gravy surprisingly milder than the others.

Unfortunately more flaws than fancies were garnered for the rice dishes. The Crabmeat Fried Rice needed to tone down, whilst a weak stock was simply inadequate to uplift their overcooked Crab Risotto grains.

A crab feast cannot go without my favourite Man Tous. Deepfried to an even golden brown, i was glad Ellenborough's MTs soaked hardly any squirm of grease. Scaled down too for buffet-inclined reasons.


It's always wise to halt before the crab-aphobia invades...and move on to freshen our earlier passive sweet-tooth. Their signature Durian Pengat is a perennial mainstay, or the row of assorted tongshuis many locals would fancy. While the rest cozied up on those, i filled my plate with western slices- a Pistachio Cheesecake dotted with real nut nibs & a reliable Bread & Butter Pudding, drizzled with bean-less vanilla sauce but nevertheless yummy. The other unsuspecting triangle was later identified to be Durian Cheesecake and so, instantly rejected to a side. Durian's not my thing.

And THEN came these friendly green bolters that drew the big bang finale. I was never a fan of peranakan or nonya food and would instinctively skip the cultural components (esp desserts) at buffets. Never would i imagine myself to glow upon a Kueh Dadah like a kid-sees-lollipop reaction! When you have it fresh and warm, it makes a whole world of difference.

Bestow on Chef Ivy's prized dessert, where your teeth sinks into porous, gently browned skins that relently subdues to pressure... stretching apart & freeing moist coconut shards simmered with gula melaka. *sudden serotonin rush and my hand reaches out for another.

For once i proclaim, i'm loving a peranakan kueh.

Note: Portions pictured are designed for a tasting session and may differ from the actual buffet spread. My sincere thanks to Sok Hoon & Yvonne, marketing communication managers of Swissotel Merchant Court for their kind hosting.


Ultimate Crab Buffet is available for dinner daily from 25 June to 12 July. Priced at $46++ per adult, $23++ per child.

Ellenborough Market Cafe
Lobby Level, Swissotel Merchant Court
20 Merchant Road
6239 1848

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