I'm a person of habits. When a restaurant leaves enough impression on me, I will remember that experience fondly and eagerly look forward to the next visit, so much as to reserve special occasions for it. Such is the case of The Line, buffet restaurant of Shangri-La Orchard, where I celebrated my birthday this year!
When it first reopened after a major renovation, I was awe-struck by its futuristic decor, unimaginable range of cuisine and oh-so-good quality. Think grilled lobsters, parma ham with melon and chocolate fondue. That was more than 5 years ago when such items were out-of-this-world luxurious!
Fast-forward to present time, when hotels are competing fiercely for the best buffet spread. While the environment still pleased me, I couldn't help but notice that the place has really, aged. Cutleries/utensils looking worn-out, tables with scratches and the cool-looking orange bars with obvious patches of dirt on the inside. I am willing to turn a blind eye to that, as long as the food is still good!
Shangri-La is holding their anniversary promotion of 39% off total bill at any of their restaurants. Prior bookings are required, but the online procedure was pretty hassle-free. The theme for Wednesday dinner was Oysters Night with free-flow of Archipelago Beer. For the guzzlers!
Blame it on my poor photography skills, but I found The Line's lighting to be really difficult to work with. Apologises for the orange-ish hue!
Live Oyster Counter: The freshly-shucked oysters were faultless. Creamy, sweet and with natural sea-saltiness, they were indeed one of the best I ever had! Salmon Sashimi: Just normal Crabmeat with Diced Mango: Loved the very refreshing (and lazy me) creation!
Soup: Couldn't remember if its clam chowder or a cream-of-something, not memorable anyway. Rojak: Good if you had the sudden craving for it, otherwise very normal.
Thin-crusted mini pizza: Soggy base. Seafood risotto: Interesting with the usage of barley grains instead of rice. Stuffed Ravioli: Mushy. Live Pasta Counter: It wasn't a matter of timing, but the fettuccine quality was just not up to mark, breaking easily and rather tasteless.
Cheese Flan: Cold and coarse. Grilled Beef: Manageable with watery sauce. Yorkshire Pudding: While I didn't have a proper one before, I'm sure a good one wouldn't taste as rubbery as this with overly sour hollandiase sauce.
Nope, no lobsters, prawns appeared only for one round (and that was when I just arrived), and I left the exotic crocodile and ostrich meat untouched.
Dim Sums: Wide range but pretty average craftsmanship. Laksa: Surprisingly good with a rich and creamy broth.
They used to have a live counter for Wanton Mee, but that area was welled up, presumably for renovation.
Prata: I used to love their buttery, crispy prata and I'm glad that it was still pretty well done. Satay: Ordinary, Tandoori Meat Choices: Tough and over-laden with spices and sauces.
Macaron: Plain horrible with a chewing gum-like texture, I kid you not. Chocolate section: Redeemed some points with thick velvety cream and smooth cakes Green Tea Cake: Clearly lacking, if any flavour. Strawberry shortcake and mango cake fared well though.
Live Crepe Counter: Jam selection was too sour. Decent tiramisu, creme brulee and strawberry puff, while I appreciate one of the chef's effort in arranging my cheese platter nicely.
Bill for 3 was $168 after taxes and discounts. One word to sum it up: Disappointing. Please don't make me add another word in front. For its original price of $78++, I feel that The Line had severely faltered over the years with very little items standing out.
Maybe I had too high expectations of it, maybe first-timers will still be delighted. All that pleasant memories will remain as memories and sad to say, promptly struck off as favourite buffet place.
The Line 22 Orange Grove Road, Basement Shangri-la Hotel Tel: 6213 4275