Ban Heng @ Habourfront Centre

11:33

Ala Carte Buffet again! 

Honestly, I still can't fathom my family's obsession over such buffets... Give me international buffets over this anytime! 

Anyway, this time round, we headed to Ban Heng Restaurant located at Harbourfront Centre. It was in a rather secluded area right beside the carpark on the 4th floor, accessible via lobby C, and really hard to locate. 

We made a reservation beforehand, so a waitress led us to the restaurant from the carpark.


The restaurant interior was basically a ballroom, with all those rounded banquet tables. It was definitely spacious. There was even a self-service table for you to take the desserts and soup (but variety was extremely limited.)


It was rather empty at around 6pm but the restaurant filled up really fast, especially at around 7pm. Almost all tables were filled by then. 

There were 2 choices for Ala Carte Buffet and Menu B's dishes looked more appealing than Menu A's, so we didn't exactly mind forking out an extra 10 bucks or so per pax. (It was supposed to set us back by $28.80+ per pax but of course there were hidden costs involved! After the $1.50 for tea, and GST and service charge, it amounted to around $35 per pax.)

As for the dishes, there were a lot of hits-and-misses. Some tasted pretty decent, but they were not exceptionally noteworthy or memorable. Most tasted average, and some even slipped below that standard (oh the horror!)


Poached Live Prawns: I could safely say that this was one of the better dishes of the night. Even though the flavour of the dish did not stand out, the freshness and succulence of the big fleshy prawns more than made up for it. 


Shark's Fin with dried scallop and crabmeat: Thick, flavourful, with a generous portion of ingredients. Yes, the chef nailed the soup but I would still prefer the fish maw's soup from Boon Tong Kee for it was richer in flavour.


Braised 10 headed abalone with mushroom and spinach: This was a great dish! The abalone was chewy, the gravy was silky and the spinach was tasty! 



Chilli Crab: Out of all my experiences with Chilli Crab dishes from Tze Char stalls to renowned restaurants, this has to be the worst Chilli Crab ever. For starters, the sauce tasted funny. It had this weird soy-sauce flavour in it that makes me wonder if the chefs really did wash the wok properly before cooking this dish. The chilli was way too spicy, and the richness of the gravy did not even seep into the crabmeat (not that it was even rich to begin with). 


Scallops and jellyfish in XO Sauce: Thumbs-up for the tender scallops! 


Frog meat with spring onion and ginger: The texture of the meat was smooth and the flavour managed to infuse itself into the meat. That was one of the few rare dishes that got it right. 



Deep-fried Soon Hock with superior soya sauce: Crisp outer skin, tender fresh fish meat, coupled with the slight sweetness of the sauce makes it a tasty dish. 




Wok-fried venison with black pepper sauce: Venison was sliced into strips, and it wasn't as tender as if it were cut into thin slices. There was a strange smokey taste that clung onto the venison and the black pepper sauce was too overwhelming. I couldn't even taste any other flavours besides the smokey pepper. All I could manage between pants and the frantic gulping of cold Chinese tea was, "Holy shits! that's freaking spicy." 



Fried long bean with sambal: It was an average dish. 


Deep-fried chicken wing: Notice the resemblance between McDonald's McWings? It was crispy, but lacked the tastiness of McWings.



Steamed Tofu with minced pork and preserved turnip: Presentation-wise, it was really appealing. However (bet you were expecting the "however" in such statements), the tofu was too bland, and only the toppings tasted good out of the entire dish.


Deep-fried pork ribs with sweet and sour sauce: At least the texture of the pork ribs wasn't too rubbery and tough to be chewed on (though it was dangerously close to being so). At least I could taste the sweet and sour sauce. BUT REALLY. Even I can whip up a better dish than this! Guess I should be getting used to the disappointment.




Wok-fried prawns with Oat meal: The prawns were not fresh for this dish, for the meat had gotten peeled off together with the shell and the flesh was kind of mushed up. Only the cereal appealed to me. 


Scallops with special sauce: The sauce was way too sweet for my liking and it didn't go well with the scallops. Nuh-uh.


Steamed chicken with shallot oil: The chicken was tender, and tasted pretty similar to those white chicken you'll get at chicken rice stalls. The oil rings in the sauce put me off a little though.


Barbecued crispy duck: The flavour of the spices was prominent but the skin wasn't at all crispy. 



Crispy Roasted Pork: THAT is what I call crispy! The skin gave a satisfying audible crunch upon first bite and the thin strip of fatty meat in the middle made it a great dish! 


Drunken Chicken: The taste of the wine wasn't naturally infused into the meat. It was as if someone dunked the whole chicken into the wine and then pulled it out again. The meat was also rather rubbery. URGH.


Chilled Shredded Jellyfish: It was a decent appetiser hard to go wrong with. 

Dishes took a long time to be served initially but the pace picked up after the first 40 minutes. The rate of plate-clearing was good but it was really troublesome when we had to top-up the tea on our own. I had to constantly pass the jug around the table. (Really, I should be the one charging the service charge instead. haha.)

Overall, the standard of dishes there was quite a disappointment and not worth the amount at all. 

The Seafood International Market and Restaurant's Ala Carte Buffet would win, hands-down. (Review here.)

I guess I won't be going back again.

Address

1 Maritime Square
 
#04-01HarbourFront Centre

Singapore 099253

Business Hours
Lunch - 11:30am - 2:30pm

Dinner - 6:00pm – 10:00pm

Contact
Tel: 6278 0288 / 6278 1354
*Reservations required.




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