Crab Temptations @ Ellenborough Market Cafe, Swissotel Merchant Court Singapore

Ellenborough Market Cafe at Swissotel Merchant Court is running a Crab Temptations dinner promotion from 25 June to 12 July 2009. During this period, diners will be able to indulge in a variety of crab dishes in addition to the regular spread of International, Local and Peranakan specialties.

Crab Delicacies
Image courtesy of Swissotel Merchant Court

I was fortunate to have been one of the bloggers invited to a tasting lunch a few weeks back but had not had the time to blog about it till now.

Salad of Hokkaido Crabmeat with Apple & Walnut
Salad of Hokkaido Crabmeat with Apple & Walnut
(not the actual presentation at the buffet)

We started with a Timbale of Hokkaido Crabmeat Salad with Apple & Walnut. The salad was impressive as we could bite into succulent chunks of crab. The dressing was light. The use of apples and walnuts in this dish made me think of it as a crabby interpretation of a Waldorf Salad. The plating was pretty impressive so we asked if this would be the actual presentation at the buffet. Our hosts clarified that this was just for the tasting session and that their plan was to place the salad in a large bowl at the buffet spread. We all voiced our reservations as this would encourage inconsiderate diners to pick out the crab chunks from the bowl. We hope they have taken our comments to mind and presented the salad in shotglasses so each diner can have their fair share of crab.

Braised Shark's Fin Soup with Crabmeat
Braised Shark's Fin Soup with Crabmeat

The thick soup had conspicuous chunks of crabmeat in it. I didn't like the flat flavour of the soup as it was akin to standard wedding banquet fare. Though I confess to enjoying Shark's Fin Soup, I hope they'll redirect their efforts towards making another dish preferably sans shark.

Nonya Curry Crab
Nonya Curry Crab

The Nonya Curry Crab was my favourite crab dish! It had the right balance of spiciness with a hint of garam masala. The others felt that it had a pretty strong Indian influence, I guess its because of the coriander and cumin seeds. This is a Must-Try!

Black Pepper Sri Lankan Crab
Black Pepper Sri Lankan Crab

The Black Pepper Crab was pretty good as the sauce was fragrant but not overly spicy nor sweet. The small piece of crab (I asked for a small portion) that I ate was pretty juicy.

Fragrant Thai Sauce Crab (on the right)

The sweetish, spicy and slightly tangy sauce for this dish reminded me of Mae Pranom's Nam Prik Prao (Thai Chili Sauce), which is used in some Tom Yam Soup Recipes. I like the addition of deep-fried curry leaves in this dish though the sauce in general was a tad too sweet for my liking.

Crabmeat Fried Rice with Thai Asparagus & Flying Fish Roe
Crabmeat Fried Rice with Thai Asparagus & Flying Fish Roe

The fried rice contained generous bits of crab meat and the Thai Asparagus added a nice crunch to the dish. The seasoning was just a little too bland for my taste but it was a great way to load up on carbs. Eating crabs can be such a time-consuming and messy affair, having this dish served midway helped offer slower eaters like me a chance to get some food in our stomachs while we worked on extracting flesh from the crabs.

Wok-Fried Sri Lankan Chili Crab
Wok-Fried Sri Lankan Chili Crab

I generally hate Singapore-style Chili Crab because the sauce is sweeter than it is spicy. I would have preferred it if the flavour profile was spicier than it was sweet.

Fried Man Tou - to go with the Chili Crab
Deep-Fried Man Tou (buns) to go with the crab

I sampled some of the chili crab gravy. It was not excessively sweet but as I prefer savoury flavours and seemed to be the only one who liked the Nonya Curry Crab, I used the curry gravy as a dip for the Man Tou instead.

I had to leave early and so I left before the Crab Risotto was served. The others teased me about missing out on Ellenborough Market Cafe's Durian Pengat (we were supposed to help ourselves to desserts from the buffet spread). Fortunately for me, I don't like to eat durians or much desserts for that matter, so I wasn't too bothered about the lost opportunity. If you wish to read more about the Risotto and desserts, check out Hungry Cow's or Camemberu's blog entries.

The Ultimate Crab Buffet Dinner promotion is available daily for dinner only.

Ellenborough Market Cafe
Swissotel Merchant Court, Singapore
20 Merchant Road,
Singapore 058281
Tel: +65 6337-2288

Ultimate Crab Buffet Dinner (from: 25 June to 12 July 2009):
Adult @ S$46++ & Child @ S$23++

HSBC Credit Card or Debit Card holders: One dines for free with every 3 paying adult diners.