When I wrote 16 place to visit to my daughter this was one of those. She's traveling with low budget, but I promised to balance the accounts, so she had a possibility to have a Sling here. It's expensive but that's the way, when something comes popular, the prices climb up, but if you travel from other part of the world, don't count last pennies.
Whole hotel is beautiful and you might get your drink in the bar served with really peculiar glass. Don't miss The Drink, I drank my first one after 20y ago and still I tell that to all who are going here.
I am a big fan of great buffets and nothing pleases the glutton in me more than discovering a generous buffet spread that is not only very varied, but provides great value for my dining dollars.
I am pleased to say that the Bar & Billiard Room at the venerable Raffles Hotel is such an establishment. Set within an decor that exudes an elegant old world charm, but not in a stuffy kind of way, its casual class, excellent team of service staff and well-prepared delicious fares makes it really hard for me to raise any faults with it.
On some evenings, to quote their website, "live piano music and the snazzy jazz vocals of Claressa Monteiro entertain and complete the mood for dining in sophistication and style". How very true.
From Monday to Saturday, both the Lunch and Dinner buffet are served at S$48+++ and S$59+++ per pax respectively. On Sunday, a champaign brunch is served at S$119+++ per pax. Some people may find these prices a tad expensive, but in all honestly, considering the quality of spread that is being served and their really excellent service, it is honestly a bargain.
Please note that the "+++" means that all prices listed are subjected to a 10% service charge and a 1% government tax, followed by another 5% GST. Diners who pay by their UOB issued credit cards are entitled to a 15% discount.
Favorite Dish: I would not really know where to start, but honestly almost everything is good. Seafood lovers will certainly be delighted to know that for dinner, there is an unlimited serving of chilled lobsters, big crab craws, and fresh oysters. Sashimi lovers will appreciate the spread of raw tuna and yellow tail in additional to the usual sake, or salmon.
I think the lobsters deserve special mention because unlike some other buffets I had been to, the lobsters were really constantly being refilled. Based on this alone, I think the price for the buffet is very well-justified.
There are also many other food stations available, which serve things from soups to various hams, to salads prepared on demand, as well as an outdoor barbecue station. I was quite intrigued by the interesting selections of the bite-size morsels of appetizers served on a spoon or a small saucer - It was a great way to try out a wide variety of flavours and textures without over-stuffing myself.
The desserts, with a decadent spread of chocolate pralines, puddings, mousse, baked items, and ice-cream are rather good as well, and I was certainly delighted that the chocolate sauce available was actually made from Valrhona chocolate. Really good quality stuff.
When you are done with the buffet, there will be a coffee and tea service provided to provide a nice finish to a wonderful meal.
This place is really popular, especially among tourists, so you definitely need to make reservations. Not very much variety here though - the spread consisted of the usual high-tea items and some local favourites - finger sandwiches, scone with jam and cream, chicken pie etc. The finger sandwiches were pretty good. Just something about sandwiches cut into little pieces that makes it taste better than usual :) The scone was quite good too. Nothing quite like a simple scone with fresh cream and jam...
They also had a varieyt of dim sum - siew mai, egg tart, char siew pao, char siew so, and otah. Everything was pretty decent, but nothing was exceptionally good. For desserts there were kuehs like onde onde... but what was horrible was the waffle! It was rock hard and totally inedible.
Hmm, I guess the main reason why people come here is not so much the food but more the atmosphere... All the decor here definitely adds to the colonial atmosphere - from the iron gate right in the middle of the restaurant (so pretty I just had to take a picture of it), the elegant paintings, the little potted plants on each table... and the harp player definitely helps to transport you back to the days of Sir Stamford Raffles.
I do have to mention though, that I was a bit disturbed to find that the plates and cutlery were old in a scratched-up way (as opposed to being old in an antique way) and the napkins had little holes in them. Maybe the grand dame is due for a makeover....
For $37+++, this is not the best place to come for high tea if you're looking for a good spread. But definitely worth coming at least once, just for the experience...
Sheepishly, feeling like the obvious tourists we were, we went up to the Long Bar in midafternoon. It is a beautiful place - lazy wooden ceiling fans, rich spiral staircases, bamboo-backed menus, dark gleaming (long!) mirrored bar, gorgeous paintings around. The waitstaff was attentive and not at all condescending to us Americans ordering a couple of Singapore Slings and a calamari appetizer. The Slings were tasty enough (seemed a bit weak and pricey) and the calamari was fine (again, overpriced for the portion and nothing-spectacular flavor). The real joy is in relaxing in a comfortable place with so much history and being able to say you had the famous Sling where it was created.
If you want to have a very nice dinner with your partner or somebody who will be this in the close future, the Raffles Hotel is a good location. The Raffles is also good to a have a cocktail but I prefer the Billard Room because the most favourit bar is like a tourist disco and the Singsling you will get in every place in the Raffles.
There also some really nice restaurants across the street of the Raffles which offer very good food but remember it will be more expensive like 5 S$ in the Hawkers or Food courts.
Anyway, there is food everywhere over town and I would give the advice to check out everything you like.
If you want to have a nice few over town by night, go to Chinatown and check out the Roof Bar. It is a little spot and maximum space for 15 people and the Jug is about 18-20S$ but it doesn't matter. There is only a smal sign on a door (Pagoda St.).
Bar and Billiard Room 1 Beach Road Singapore 189673 (65) 6337 1886 fax (65) 6339 7650 firstname.lastname@example.org this bar is an amazing place. The ambience just oozes history and you can almost feel yourself taken back in time. It is the place to frock up a bit and have a Singapore Sling. However beware of the price. The price is high, a Singapore sling will cost $16 SGD and a local tiger beer cost $11 SGD. A diet coke can cost $7 SGD so beware non alcoholic drinks are a bit rich as well. This is not a place for a budget traveller to spend the whole night but some times a splurge is worth it.
Although staying at Raffles may be beyond your budget it is not too expensive to eat there. The Tiffin Room serves a wonderful Indian and Asian hot buffet. The surroundings are elegant and refined while service is impeccable. Each time I went to the buffet to get more food I would return to my table to find my napkin had been neatly folded by one of the attentive staff!
It is truly a very special dining experience.
It seems the hotel grounds have turned into a thriving and expensive tourist trap although is impeccably maintained. Upscale stores are embedded into the hotel patronized by the well heeled but mostly bug eyed straying tourists.
Favorite Dish: The NZ rack of lamb was superb and lobster app. was killer. All was well presented.