Tim Palace


A typical trait of a Singaporean would be the common love for buffets and I'm on a quest to try out all buffets available here!

It was a completely serendipitous discovery that Tim Palace, under Gim Tim's group of restaurants, was offering a semi Ala Carte lunch buffet promotion. 

It seemed like a pretty great deal, considering the plethora of dishes and sides that were available.

Located on the third floor of Safra Toa Payoh, Tim Palace's interior was an extremely spacious ballroom. I think Tim Palace also offers services like the provision of banquets for wedding dinners and etc.

When my family arrived at 11.45am, the place was already quite packed with families. Thank goodness I made a reservation beforehand. 

Immediately, we started off with ordering the chef's recommendations (that could only be ordered once).

The shark fin's soup was too starchy, and the chicken broth didn't stand out much.

Braised baby abalone

It seemed like this was a neglected dish... Perhaps an "oops-I-didn't-realise-it's-already-cooked" dish. The deep-fried flower garoupa was fried for too long. Dry, tough and plain, the flavour wasn't even infused into the fish properly.

The steamed sea bass with nyonya sauce fared better than the previous fish-based dish. Steaming retained the tenderness of the flesh and the rich nyonya sauce added an intriguing taste to the dish.

Drunken prawns in herbal soup
Fresh, succulent prawns coupled with a flavourful herbal soup that has a slight bittersweet aftertaste. That's one of the more impressionable dishes of that day. 

Crayfish with crispy cereals
The crayfish was dry but slightly chewy. The crunchy cereal stole most of the limelight from the crayfish.

Sauteed scallops with celery
It was a clean and refreshing dish that cleared most of my guilt from feasting on all the other unhealthy fried dishes. At least the crunchy celery made me feel so much healthier. The mildly sweet flavour of the fresh scallop was a welcome change.

Venison with black pepper sauce
The tender venison and spicy black pepper will definitely rejuvenate your senses.

Pan-fried beef steak
Pork chop with hawthorn sauce
The hawthorn sauce transformed a pretty average dish into something interesting. It was a nice twist.

I have to mention that the staff were really remarkable for they whipped up all the above dishes in no time at all. My entire family was rushing to clear the dishes so that more space could be made available for the new dishes. Some pictures were blurry as we were really hurrying in trying to distribute the food into our respective plates and I only had a few seconds to snap the pictures.

Of course, there was the unlimited ala carte selection.

Crispy soft-shelled crab with pork floss
I just loved its crispness and crustiness, especially when you hear that really satisfying crunch as you chomp on it. 

Crispy shrimp paste chicken mid-joint
Yes, this is a really flavourful and delicious dish, especially when it's piping hot. 

Stir-fried chilli clams
An interesting mix of chilli and sourish-sweetness. Even my sister, who normally stays three feet away from clam-based dishes, tried some out. This really says something about the dish.

At a corner of the banquet hall, there was a whole table lined with seafood on ice.

The huge, fresh prawns with easily-removed shells were the more memorable of the seafood laid on their counter. The crab didn't fare as well for it didn't seem fresh and the flesh was somewhat mushy. It was a chore deshelling it. Though the shell scallop looked more photogenic, it had a strange fishy and bitter taste. As for the salmon sashimi, it was thinly sliced and very fresh. Coupled with wasabi and soy sauce, it was the best-loved among all the buffet selections at the counter. Within minutes of laying out the sashimi tray, it would be depleted by customers. Eating more sashimi would definitely make your meal value-for-money.

A meal would never be complete without dim sum and desserts. We had prawn dumplings and the prawns were extremely juicy and fresh. The dumpling skin was not really thick (but not that thin either) and crystalline, enabling us to see the contents of the dumpling. However, it was a little too sticky and dry for me. The deep-fried bean curd sheet roll also had fresh shrimps wrapped in it.The steamed chicken feet was spicy to just the right extent and the flavour totally seeped into the meat. It was made more sumptuous by the fact that it was just out of the kitchen. 

The mini cream puffs were a favourite among my siblings for they tasted like ice cream puffs. The cream was still frozen in the puffs! Those little bandits ran off for multiple rounds of the cream puffs and almost swept the tray clean of them.

A notable mention would be the hot mashed red bean soup. Glutinous, thick with a pleasant sacharrine taste, it became my parents' favourite dessert.

I suppose one advantage of going for meals with a huge family is that you get to taste many different dishes (small portions for each but a great variety).

If I were to compare the ala carte buffets, I would say Seafood International would be the best, followed by Tim Palace, then Tung Lok (honestly I only liked their signature chilli crab the most. The range of dishes available is rather limited.) 

Ambience-wise, Tim Palace was definitely spacious enough but I didn't exactly appreciate their lighting effects. Their staff and servers had really efficient and great service and I think that the meal was definitely worth the price! :)

Location: 293 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh #03-01 Safra Club Singapore 319387

Phone: 6253 5515 (Reservation needed on weekends)

Operating hours: 11.30am - 2.30pm (last order at 2pm)

Weekdays: $25.80++ for adults and $16.80++ for children
 Weekends: $27.80++ for adults and $18.80++ for children

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