Food Safari @ Singapore Marriott Hotel

For the last 17 years, since the day they opened back in 1995, Singapore Marriott Hotel has earned quite many accolades and approval ratings for not only its very convenient location at the heart of Orchard Road, but also for its quality service and luxury accommodation for the many tourists who have walked through their doors.

This 5 star hotel has recently undergone an overhaul with a $35 million refurbishment and is now ready to present a much improved and renewed Marriott Hotel with its newly revamped guest rooms as well as more casual fine dining options.

At a recent media tasting, we were given a tour as well as a sampling of the 5 restaurants located within the hotel itself, after its multi-million dollar renovation and this gastronomic journey was hosted by none other than the very talented, accomplished and passionate Executive Chef Kevin Thomson of the Singapore Marriott Hotel.

JAVA+

Lobby level
7am-11pm daily
(65) 6831 4605

Newly launched and the latest addition to the Marriott Hotel dining scene, Java+ is a deli cum cafe cum bakery. This 3-in-1 novel concept allows easy takeaways of sandwiches, cakes and pastries. Of course, dining on site over a cuppa coffee is also a very viable option with its inviting open concept of natural lighting and comfortable chairs. In the evenings, one can also unwind after a long day over a glass of wine with the wide range of reds and whites available and some Spanish tapas.

We sampled some Shaved Serrano Jamón served with melon, tomato chutney and marinated olives on the side.

Chef Kevin shared with us that these slices of cured ham have been cut from the back leg of the Iberian pigs that have been fattened on only acorns. And if you rub the fat of the ham onto your lips, you will actually be able to smell the nuttiness and taste a tinge of sweetness of this oak nut. Honestly, quite remarkable and brings testimony to the saying ‘you are what you eat’ and am in this case, referring to the pigs.

We were also offered some pinchos which are actually snacks commonly eaten in Spanish bars.

The Manchego with quince paste (L) was not quite anything like I have had before. While we usually enjoy quince in a jam form and we are more familiar with it as marmalade, the fruit this time was more of a reddish solid block of paste that was meant to cut through the fattiness and tanginess of the cheese with its sweetness.

The Anchovy with ratatouille (R) on the other hand, packed a very strong tomato salsa flavour and matched the saltiness of the anchovy quite beautifully.

And I was definitely won over by the Croquettes Jamón. These bite sized battered little spheres were deep fried to perfection without any oiliness or greasiness. Filled with a creamy bechamel sauce and bits of cured ham, these croquettes bring new meaning to a crowd pleaser combination of melted cheese and ham.

POOL GRILL

Level 5
11am-11pm daily
(65) 6831 4627

As its name so aptly describes, this restaurant is dining alongside the gorgeous Marriott Hotel swimming pool. The versatility of the soothing sounds of the poolside water fountains with the iconic Orchard road buildings in the background makes it an excellent location as a dining venue for both corporate and more intimate gatherings.

The Tableside Caesar Salad is a signature creation here at Pool Grill and before you dismiss the good people here at Marriott for being presumptuous for having a meagre salad as a specialty, the Caesar Salad here is indeed quite special.

For starters, the dressing is made entirely from scratch in front of you by your server. Not a usual sight at restaurants but certainly a refreshing change. Enjoy the theatrics and personal touch put together as your server conjures up your own personal dressing. You will be invited to taste it along the way as some may prefer more mustard or less saltiness and it will be tailored to your own preference.

After which, your salad will be plated up and served with diced tomato, bacon bits and shredded cheese toppings with a dressing just the way you like it. And since that Caesar dressing was made right in front of your eyes, you will see that only the freshest ingredients are used, with no added sugar or preservatives. Definitely a caesar salad that dieticians would approve of!

Other offerings here at the Pool Grill include the Foie Gras with Burgundy Grape and Raisin French Toast. This French delicacy, well loved by many, would enjoy the rich and buttery texture blending so well with the sweetness and subtle acidity of the burgundy grape. And I personally felt that the matching of a raisin french toast lent a very different feel from the usual accompaniments it is otherwise served with.

WAN HAO CHINESE RESTAURANT

Level 3
11am-10.30pm daily
(65) 6831 4605

Well loved by many Singaporeans and affectionately known for reproducing authentic Cantonese classics, this award winning restaurant has earned quite the reputation for not just Chinese cuisine, but also its popular dim sum dishes. With its gold and black themes and decor that lends a very opulent feel and the framed artworks that hang along the walls of the restaurant, dining here certainly is an elegant and pleasurable experience.

We had the opportunity to try some of Wan Hao’s signature and premium offerings which were certainly a treat.

The Spanish Iberico Char Siew had us mouthwatering with its dark red shiny glaze exterior and that all familiar smell of barbequed pork. Not your regular char siew, but a cut instead from the Spanish Iberico shoulder, this was tantalizing to the taste buds and char siew you will never forget. The marbling and distinct muscle fibers of the meat were gorgeous and with meat that was so fleshy and robust, it is no surprise that customers love ordering this signature dish.

And not forgetting the famous Peking Duck served with traditional Chinese Crepes.

Carved so skillfully by Chef Yuen Fook Kong, this classic Chinese dish was well executed and simply a delight to savour especially with the duck’s skin still piping hot, the quintessential sweet bean sauce and garnish of shredded cucumbers.

The Wok-fried Beef Tenderloin topped with Light Wasabi Sauce served with Chilled Fresh Pear marinated in Sour Plum is one that beef lovers will appreciate and enjoy. Tender beef chunks that were so easy to bite into, I loved how the wasabi sauce added a different dimension to the dish overall, making it less ordinary. The chilled sour plum pear too was a nice touch of sweetness and colour.

CROSSROADS CAFE

Lobby level
7am-1am Mondays-Thursdays
7am-3am Fridays and Eve of PH
9am-1am Sundays and PH
9am-3am Saturdays
(65) 6831 4605

Back at the ground level of Crossroads Cafe, early risers will be pleased to know that both Western and local breakfast options are available from 7am onwards with daily specials available on their blackboards that you can look forward to.

We tried the Salt & Pepper Calamari marinated in pineapple juice, another unique creation by Chef Kevin. Crunchy and especially good with a squeeze of lemon, these calamaris are certainly good as a snack or appetiser.

The 100% Wagyu Burger with melted Raclette cheese, tomato dill pickle, shaved red onion and chipotle mayonnaise in toasted buns will be a favourite with the kids. Easy to eat, delicious, packed with veggies and that thick juicy wagyu beef patty, it was not difficult polishing off this platter at all.

MARRIOTT CAFE

Lobby level
6am-10pm daily
(65) 6831 4605

One of the more popular dining establishments, Marriott Cafe is a crowd favourite for their buffets and afternoon teas. And now after the refurbishment, they are back with an open kitchen and multiple live stations, creating a more vibrant and bustling environment.

The Crispy Pork Saddle with Pancetta Prune and Mixed Herbs or commonly known as pork belly, was lean and tender with a beautiful crackling crisp golden brown exterior. The mixed herbs and prunes stuffing packed a myriad of flavours and textures, reminding me a little of Christmas. Served with applesauce on the side, this was yet another successful fusion dish that deserves applause.

Seafood lovers get excited! Because this paella has been cooked specially with you in mind. Definitely one for sharing, the very fresh ingredients of fish fillet, mussels, prawns and short-grain rice sauteed in a lobster bisque had soaked up the strong flavours of the broth quite beautifully. And together with the bright colours that make up the paella, this is quite a seafood extravaganza in a pan.

And ending off with some special desserts.

From R to L, the Crossroads Old School English Trifle had distinct layers of whipped cream, custard and liqueur that was pretty to look at through the glass container that it was served in. But the liqueur used was a little too intense for me. The Eton Mess however, was my personal favourite with its lightness and airiness of the meringue that had me wanting for more. Coupled with the sliced strawberries, this was a sure winner. And sitting in the cute little white saucer was The Marriott Cafe Sticky Date Pudding which was just the right size and not too heavy. Loved the cute little mold the pudding was baked in and the rich toffee sauce it was bathed in.

While Singapore Marriott Hotel is not exactly the first hotel that comes to mind when one is thinking of dining venues in town, this scenario is most likely to change in the near future. With a wide array of delicacies and tasty food options in various different cuisines, there is simply something for everyone here at Marriott Hotel. So do stop by the Marriott Hotel the next time you need a pit stop from shopping or simply looking for a bite to eat, you might just be surprised.

Thank you Betty and Shanthi of Grebstad Hicks Communications and the staff of Marriott Singapore for the invite and warm hospitality!

320 Orchard Road
Singapore 238865
(65) 6735 5800

Singapore

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