Revisiting Absolute Haven

26 APR 2009 – [INVITED SESSION]

First up, thanks to Panarai for the invitation which prompted us to revisit Absolute Haven and sample their new weekend brunch (Sat – Sun, between 11:30 am to 3:30 pm). This weekend brunch is really a semi-buffet, with an evolving Buffet menu of over 20 items (that I counted… yes I can count…), and includes a choice of scrambled or fried egg, a selection of 5 mains and 2 desserts…

Absolute Haven

Absolute Haven

When I studied the menu, my attention was drawn to the GRILLED KING PRAWNS as it was in UPPER CASE & BOLD… But I saw none when I was checking out the Buffet… I was then told by the waiter that the grilled king prawns are served directly from the kitchen, and that its unlimited! “No Catch? Unlimited?” I muttered to myself with raised eye-brows…  Frankly, I was skeptical initially, but believe me when I say that the GRILLED KING PRAWNS were the shining star there. I shall get to them further down…

Let me first list out what was on the Buffet menu for that day…

  1. Marinated Mozzarella with tomatoes & basil pesto
  2. Grilled King Prawns
  3. Seafood salad with mix capsicum & lemon dressing
  4. Marinated smoked duck breast with orange wedges & balsamic dressing
  5. Assorted cold cuts with green olives
  6. Thai chicken salad with lime dressing
  7. Assorted mushroom salad with Italian flavours
  8. Parma ham with melon
  9. Mix grilled vegetables with pickled onions
  10. Baby octopus with assorted pickles
  11. Smoked salmon with cape & celery
  12. Potatoes salad with mayonnaise & apple
  13. Foie Gras terrine on toasted bread
  14. Asparagus salad with egg crushes
  15. Marinated mackerel with Japanese cucumber in sweet & sour dressing
  16. Grilled scallops with garlic confit & basil pesto
  17. Assorted cheese platter
  18. Greek style Tuna salad
  19. White bean salad with spring onion
  20. Fuka Hirei (Sharkfin in Japanese vinegar dressing)
  21. Assorted cakes & pastries (Brownies & Chocolate Mousse Cake)
  22. Soup of the day (Onion soup)
  23. Freshly brewed Coffee & Tea 

Like all buffets, there bound to be hits and misses… However, for me, I thought this buffet spread definitely had more hits than misses! Also, at this level, it really comes down to personal preferences (ie: wifey is not a cheese lover; I dislike mackerel… etc), with the exception of a couple of  items with much room for improvement… For one, I thought the Onion soup (of the day) could be better, as I found it to be rather bland…

Soup of the Day...

Soup of the Day...

 A few of the salads were not particularly outstanding, but it may be due to the other enticing star appetizers/dishes within the Buffet spread that truly out-shone everything else…

Now, let me try to highlight the stars that left the deepest impression…

Plate 01

Plate 01 (Smoked Salmon & Mushroom Salad)

The smoked salmon was almost perfect for me… Would’ve loved for it to be a little more smokey taste… The mushroom salad, especially the juicy button mushrooms which took up the flavourful dressing, was just awesome. The Italian flavours, whatever it was…  really a big hit with wifey.

Plate 01 (Grilled Scallops)

Plate 01 (Grilled Scallops)

The grilled scallops, together with the garlic confit & basil pesto, was nice. I’d almost wish for it to served directly from the kitchen too…

Plate 02 (Assorted Cold Cuts & Marinated smoked duck breast)

Plate 02 (Assorted Cold Cuts & Marinated smoked duck breast)

Firstly, the blurry red mass lying under the pickles by the back of the plate was the baby octopus. Eat it whole and feel it explode in your mouth… The asparagus was fresh and crunchy… Now, the star here was the perfectly marinated smoked duck breast… There’s a strip of sinfully fatty part, but thats what made this heavenly!!

Plate 03 (Parma Ham & Mix grilled Vegetables)

Plate 03 (Parma Ham & Mix grilled Vegetables)

For this plate, lets start with the tooth-picked Parma ham with melon. The Parma ham was nicely cured and not overly salty as some I tried before. Went very well with the melon that added depth. Going clockwise is the nicely grilled mixed vegetable. Next to the vegetable was the Seafood salad in zesty lemon dressing, followed by a slice of cheese from the assortment of cheese platter… Sitting inconspicuously in the middle of the plate is the Foie Gras terrine on toasted bread… Ahhh the classical taste of Foie Gras… so rich… so sinful… so free flow!!

Grilled King Prawns...

Grilled King Prawns...

Remember when I said I was skeptical about the GRILLED KING PRAWNS? Well, I am a believer now. Freshly hand-picked daily by manager/owner Phyllis before the sunrise, the huge King Prawns are grilled upon order… and yes, it can be free-flowing from the kitchen… Unlimited… However, the key thing for me is… you do not have to get your hands messy as the GRILLED KING PRAWNS were served semi-de-shelled… I can indulge in these succulent grilled king prawns all day long… Definitely the STAR of the Buffet spread and a Absolute MUST for Prawn lovers!!

Coleslaw with Seaweed

Coleslaw with Seaweed

Coleslaw with Seaweed (not on the menu), I think, will be a great inclusion if served with the Grilled King Prawns… However, I reckon the mayonnaise dressing of the coleslaw can still be experimented upon for some improvement…

We were getting pretty full from the endless flow of delicious appetizers…  However, a choice of five mains were still available, one for each of us:

  1. Grilled Beef with potatoes mousse, asparagus, maderia sauce
  2. Marinated cod fillet with spinach, tomatoes broth
  3. Marinated eel unagiwith cauliflower, grill fish sauce
  4. Australia lamb rack with herb crust, confit eggplant and mustard sauce
  5. Roasted chicken thigh with capsicum, lemongrass and sugar pea, sweet chilli sauce
Last time here, I tried their lamb rack, so I promised myself to try something new… Chicken was a little mundane… not a fan of cod or eel… so I went for Grilled Beef, medium rare…  Wifey went for something she’s been craving- eel unagi.
Main 01 - Grilled Beef

Main 01 - Grilled Beef

To be brutally honest, I did not quite like the presentation of the Grilled Beef… Perhaps that was due to the dim lighting, as it came across as a chunk of rock. Done-ness wise (medium rare), it was perfect for me. However, I found the outer layer of the grilled beef to be rather tough possibly due to the cut of the beef… I’d prefer the maderia sauce to be stronger in flavor, but it did help bring out the natural taste of the more tender interior of the grilled beef…

Main 02 - Marinated eel unagi

Main 02 - Marinated eel unagi

Wifey found the marinated eel unagi to be perfect in every sense… the eel… the sauce… The only item missing is a bowl of Japanese rice! We learnt from Phyllis that Chef is very particular with the ‘in-house’ made sauce of the eel unagi and that there are NO SUBSTITUTES!! “Run out of sauce? NO more eel unagi as mains!!”… What integrity… Bravo!

Besides the assorted cakes and pastries from the buffet spread, we also get to choose either a Citrus Sorbet dessert with Korean Strawberries or a Tiramisu with berries and chocolate sauce… We took one of each.

Korean Strawberries with Citrus Sorbet

Korean Strawberries with Citrus Sorbet

To me, the fresh strawberries with sweet refreshing citrus sorbet was a clear winner over the Tiramisu.

Tiramisu with Berries and Chocolate Sauce

Tiramisu with Berries and Chocolate Sauce

Decent but definitely not the best… perhaps, my standards for Tiramisu has risen way too much now…

Chocolate Mousse Cake - Buffet

Chocolate Mousse Cake - Buffet

As we sit and chat, I went back for the dessert on the Buffet Spread… I am really liked the chocolatey mousse cake and had ended up with a few extra helpings of that… The freshly brewed coffee was solid too!

To sum this weekend semi-buffet brunch up… it was a hearty feast filled with many gastronomical delights… At $39.00 per person, I think it is very well priced considering the never-ending flow of delicious, succulent Grilled King Prawns and top-end items such as Foie GrasGrilled Scallops, Smoked Salmon etc… Definitely well worth it…

 

My Final Rating: 8/10

Address:
70 Prinsep Street, Singapore

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2 Responses to “Revisiting Absolute Haven”

  1. I enjoyed looking at your photos, and it is too bad that some of them are not as good as they look.

    Cheers.

  2. gaz0307 Says:

    Hey, I do agree with that, but like all buffets, there are bound to be hits and misses 😛

    Thx for dropping by…

    Cheers…

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