What is it? There’s been a lot of hype about this place ever since it opened in 2011, mainly because it takes so long to get a reservation here, sometimes even up to three months! We were very curious to see what was on offer for such a lot of anticipation.
The place: Within the confines of the artsy Hotel ICON, which aims to combine traditional and modern Asian hospitality in its function as a training hotel as part of the PolyU, which also means you get the added bonus of extra attentive and enthusiastic staff still in the early stages of honing their trade. The decor of the restaurant is agreeable and features high ceilings and practical furnishings, but the actual buffet design is the real hero. It’s beautifully arranged to look like a food market with open kitchens, highlighting the chefs at work and vast displays of tantalising dishes; this is a restaurant where style points are all firmly aimed at the food with the seating area acting as purely functional.
The food: With a huge variety of dishes, this is a special extended eating affair and should be treated as such. The staff mentioned to us that many of their regulars come at 6:30pm for dinner and stay right through till 10pm. It’s nice to know up front that this sort of endurance eating is encouraged so you can really plan your day’s eating (or not eating) accordingly to take advantage of the full offering here ($688 on weekends and $648 from Monday to Thursday). The delights range from East to West with stations for Cantonese, Indian and Malaysian, to cold meats, sushi, pasta and pizza.
On the evening we dined, patrons were particularly thrilled by the seafood and meat selections, filling plates with Boston lobster, prawns, mussels, clams, short ribs and ribeye. There was also a promotion on while we were there with a Thai guest chef serving up bowls of spicy glass noodles and other Thai specialties. The dishes we sampled were exactly of the quality you would hope for in a buffet and we particularly swooned over the double boiled coconut chicken soup that was phenomenal and sent us into real danger of filling up too quickly right from the getgo. There is of course also fruits, cheeses, and a gargantuan dessert bar with a large durian selection that showcased pretty, petite sweets of all types to completely finish you off.
Verdict: It’s dangerously stocked with a wonderful array of flavours. We wish we’d planned for more time and visited each station individually (rather than stockpiled on one plate) to specifically focus on each as the regular customers were clearly and skillfully doing. As long as your focus is fully on the food, and on eating many different types under one roof, this is the plentiful buffet to spend your money on and worth the long stroll through to TST East.
The Market 2/F, Hotel ICON, 17 Science Museum Road, TST, 3400 1388