Sherman's Food Adventures: PLAYT at The Park Lane

PLAYT at The Park Lane

After a pretty rough ride back on the ferry from Macau, I was really not in the mood for food...  Let alone a buffet...  However, my uncle had other plans as we ended up heading to one of his favs - PLAYT at The Park Lane.  As the name suggests, it is located in the Park Lane Hotel and was formerly named Cafe One.  However, the same setup remains with stations dedicated to seafood, sushi, Chinese (including house-made Dim Sum), pizza, International, made-to-order noodles and a wealth of desserts.

Other than the large selection of seafood, in particular shellfish, the most enticing station was the Sushi and Sashimi.  Prepared to order, there was a selection that included hotate, amaebi, tuna, hamachi, salmon, snapper, yellow herring fish roe and octopus.  My favourite of the bunch was the sweet and buttery hotate and tender hamachi.  There was also a selection of nigiri and a few maki rolls.  Again, everything looked rather appealing and in fact, most of it was good.  Of course, the most appealing to me were the mirugai, abalone and hokkigai.  The sushi rice was a bit on the gummier side, but it was acceptable.

Onto the Seafood, we found smoked salmon, conch, crab, shrimp, mussels, lobster and freshly shucked oysters.  They didn't skimp on the details as there was a plethora of sauces to go with the 2 types of oysters - Cumbrae and Isigny.  I enjoyed the Isigny more as they were smaller and sweeter.  Both were appealingly briny though.  As for the other shellfish, the mussels were plump and the shrimp were meaty.  I thought the lobster was slightly overdone, but still good nonetheless.  The crab was okay, but then again, I'm not a huge fan of this type of crab.

One of the more surprising things about the buffet was the Dim Sum.  Normally, most buffet joints serve frozen Dim Sum acquired from a 3rd party.  Not here.  Everything is house-made and it showed.  The Ha Gau were very impressive for a non-Dim Sum restaurant.  The skin was thin with a nice elasticity while the shrimp filling was in large chunks and had a nice sweet buttery snap.  I thought the Siu Mai was equally decent with a rebound texture as well.  It was on the denser side though.  Adjacent to the dim sum was a selection of Chinese Food including BBQ.  If that wasn't enough, there was freshly made-to-order pizza as well.

Some of the dishes in the International Food section were quite good including the Lamb Curry, Red Wine Ox-Tail and Tandoori Chicken.  Apparently, they have specialized chefs that prepare each type of cuisine.  So the Indian food was pretty legit.  Not the best I've had, but definitely serviceable for a buffet.  I thought the paella suffered from sitting too long, but it's a buffet...  A rather hot item was the foie gras served on crostinis.  These were buttery, but a touch overdone. Heck, they even had Bird's Nest Soup served in their own little bowls.  I thought the silky viscosity of the soup to be on point while the flavour was pleasing.  There was plenty of crab to make up for the modest amount of bird's nest.

For Dessert, there was an impressive array of goodies including Bird's Nest Egg Tarts featuring a flaky if not a bit pasty tart shell.  The egg custard was pretty good (on the firmer side) and was not really all-that-sweet.  Other than that, there was a selection of hard ice cream, cakes, chocolate fountain and fresh fruit.  I only went for the fruit since I was super full at this point, but as you can see the buffet didn't lack variety.  Furthermore, the quality was fairly high with all things considered.  No wonder the place is super-busy.  At the same time, we didn't feel rushed nor were there many long lineups either.  Plenty of food to go around.

The Good:
- Wide selection
- Decent quality
- Didn't run out of the popular items

The Bad:
- Some things don't hold up in a buffet such as the paella
- Chinese BBQ was okay, but the display didn't look so hot (things were cold)


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