Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Crab Buffet at Ellenborough Market Cafe (25 June- 12 Jul)

Black pepper Sri Lankan crab
The Crab Temptations Buffet Dinner is back at Ellenborough Market Cafe! It's only for two weeks, from 25 June to 12 July 2009. This year, Swissotel Merchant Court Singapore sought not just media but food bloggers as well to preview the food and give feedback.

Here are photos of some of the dishes that will be available. These were presented to us a la carte in a private dining room (that I never knew existed). Please note that they are still work-in-progress, so what you get at the buffet may vary a bit.

Black pepper Sri Lankan crab (above). I still prefer black pepper over white pepper for crab, so I was glad to see this.

Salad of Hokkaido Crabmeat with Apple and Walnut
Salad of Hokkaido Crabmeat with Apple and Walnut. This is a starter/appetiser. What's impressive is the very tangible chunks of crabmeat in the salad. Most of us felt this would be best presented in individual portions, instead of in a massive bowl.

Nonya curry crab that's more Indian than Nonya
Nonya curry crab that's more Indian than Nonya, thanks to Masala spices. It's very delicious though, and the flower crabs used were lovely and sweet.

Fragrant Thai Sauce Crab
Fragrant Thai Sauce Crab. Oh, I really liked the tangy, sweet and spicy sauce on this crab.

Crab Risotto
Crab Risotto. Extremely rich and creamy, but a little bland. Maybe it didn't help that we had just been through the spicy and intense flavours of the other dishes.

Wok-fried Sri Lankan Chili Crab
Wok-fried Sri Lankan Chili Crab. What crab buffet would be complete without Singapore's chili crab? Interestingly, the sauce here is not the waterlogged variety you get at most places. It's thick and almost pasty, but deliciously so.

Fried man tou buns
Fried man tou buns. The perfect accompaniment to chili crab. The hotel deliberately sourced mini bite-size buns to go with the crabs, based on customer feedback.

Many kinds of desserts at Ellenborough Cafe
There are also other dishes, local and international fare, at the buffet. We did not see or try these, but the press release mentions Paper Wrapped Chicken with Chili Dip, Braised Beef Brisket with Jade Turnip Vegetables Curry, and Peranakan dishes like Ikan Chuan Chuan (deep-fried mackeral fillets topped with a non-spicy ginger and fermente bean sauce).

What we did get to see and taste are the many kinds of desserts at Ellenborough Cafe. About half a dozen Chinese desserts, various cakes, bread and butter pudding, chocolate fountain, fresh fruits, and...

The signature durian pengat
...of course, their signature Durian Pengat, which has for years drawn people to the cafe. Their version now is much lighter than it used to be, whipped to a delicately airy texture. This just means you can eat more of it without getting "jelak" (satiated)! The taste is still gorgeous.

Kueh dadar prepared a la minute is really quite different!
We were also treated to some "Kueh Dadar" made a la minute. I wondered why they would dedicate a live station to such a simple snack, but once I tasted it, I realised kueh dadar made fresh on the spot tastes so different! It's comfortingly warm and extra soft.

Ellenborough Market Cafe is at Swissotel Merchant Court, Singapore
I remember a time when it was so difficult getting reservations at Ellenborough Market Cafe. You often had to call two weeks in advance. Now with the crab buffet going on for dinner, I'm sure the place will be packed.

The crab buffet costs S$46++ (adult); S$23++(child aged 4-11), and is for dinner only. HSBC cardholders get to dine free with every three paying adult diners.

Warmest thanks to Sok Hoon and Yvonne of Swissotel Merchant Court for being such lovely hosts, and for valuing blogger feedback for the crab buffet.

Ground Floor, Swissotel Merchant Court Singapore
20 Merchant Road
Singapore 058281
Tel: 6239-1848
Open daily
Breakfast: 7am to 10:30 am
Lunch: 12 noon to 2:30 pm
Dinner: 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm


  1. wow wow wow .....I think it's a great deal. I bet my crab-lover friends are going to scream(aaaaa....) if I tell them this. Tks for the review! ^.^

  2. Yes, I also think it's a really good deal. Yum yum! Enjoy the buffet! =)

  3. Cheers to blogger feedback. Hehehe. I had a crab time.

  4. must tell my aunt, she's a crab lover! ;-)

  5. i absolutely loved the kueh dadahs! (:

  6. Great blog--very nice food pictures. I just started an Italian food blog at


    and the hardest part is taking good pictures.

    Stop on by!


  7. you had just drown me with lovely crabs! :)

  8. Crab? Buffet? In the same sentence? Count me in! :D

    (Now if only someone would help me with shelling the darn crustaceans... :P )

  9. I can only drool!!!! :D

  10. i don't like crabs because I'm lazy and don't like to get my hands dirty. lol! but that day i went on thursday, it was the first day of the promo, and they are almost full house! singaporeans do love their crabs man


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