Anyhow, the excitement sets in when our tutorial mate revealed that this 3-hour lunch buffet is only going to cost us SGD14.90 each and an addition of SGD1.90 if one would like to have a free flow of beverages like coffee and Japanese green tea. However, one thing for sure, I wasn’t expecting much from this Japanese lunch buffet with its affordable pricing range based on the beliefs that there is no free lunch in the world and there aren’t many good fool deals around in Singapore.
Welcome to Chiso Zaimai.
This buffet restaurant isn’t exactly housed within mall at The Central. To enter, you would need to walk to the back of The Central mall (facing the Singapore River) and take an escalator up to the second floor where the restaurant is situated. And as usual, most Japanese restaurants have this practice of displaying replicas of their dishes and specialities to entice any hungry passer-bys.
The restaurant has quite a good spread of Japanese delicacies. I wouldn’t call this a huge spread but at least, there is quite a variety of food to choose from – from the usual sushi to ramen.
Okay, here comes the tricky part. How could I still manage to eat healthy at a buffet with so many finger-licking food temptations around? Not to forget the sublime desserts at the corner which you probably can’t resist by the sight of it. Honestly-speaking, you wouldn’t opt to eat clean in a buffet since you would have probably paid quite a substantial amount for a meal. At this point, we all of this inert drive or to put it negatively, greed, that urge us to maximise our outputs to make our inputs worthy and that would mean eating more than we can stomach. But don’t let this bubble of thought get hold of you. The perk of a buffet is to allow you to sample the many dishes available and not for you to eat til the buttons in your pants pop.
You can’t eat healthy fully but you could strive to eat as healthy as possible – as much as you can. As with all buffets, there would always be this salad section where you could get a good dose of leafy vegetables and crunchy cherry tomatoes and cucumber. Sadly, Chiso Zaimai didn’t cater a good selection of vegetables and salad ingredients. So for appetizer, I had just a few miserable pieces of lettuce and cherry tomatoes with some salad sauce.
After appetizer, I went on to each section to sample a little of my favourite dishes like tempura, sushi and sashimi. For sashimi, they only serve salmon that day and is obviously everyone’s favourite as the salmon slices run out very quickly. The salmon slices were thick and it tastes rather fresh. I would usually coat the slices of sashimi into some soya sauce mixed with some wasabi for a spicy and tangy kick.
The sushi, tepan and tempura were mediocre. Edible and filling for the stomach but not exactly delightful or superb. It does requires some skill and effort to prepare the best Japanese sushi, tempura or ramen and it’s difficult to find a Japanese restaurant which prepares food the way Japanese chefs would in Singapore. There probably are but I am pretty sure there are only a handful of such restaurants or eateries in Singapore.