A reservation was made, the menu was studied, the reviews were re-read and more importantly, the stomachs were cleared.
It's amazing how far
people we would go in preparing for a buffet.
A few items on Jing's Weekend Ala Carte Brunch Buffet menu are limited to one serving per table. These are the must-have items like crab and novel fish. With such rule comes an expectation that these dishes will be the major highlights of the brunch. Quite true in the case of the deep fried soon hock or marbled goby; fried to golden crisp (love biting the fins) and drizzled with an intensified soy sauce. No cumbersome crab for us that day as the whole process of dissecting the crustacean itself could cost us a significant duration that was best spent on better things instead; like the endless selection of dim sums.
One of the many dumplings we ordered that afternoon; steamed crystal abalone dumpling. My favourite was the single huge meat dumpling served in a bowl, drowned in a mixture of black vinegar, soy sauce, chopped red chillies and coriander.
At the barbecued meat station, we ordered the crispy roast duck that quickly became a favourite with its crackling exterior and savoury meat. There was the steamed chicken with wine, served with jelly fish and ginger/coriander sauce as well.
If this was not a buffet, I'd only needed a bowl of rice to go with the steamed fillet of Chilean seabass with preserved vegetable to substantiate my brunch. But it is a buffet and carbs should be consumed wisely. So, no rice unless the other dishes are really awful. Having said that, I was glad we made a last minute decision on the enticing stir-fried E-fu noodles with brinjals. With a simple sauce, some aromatic oil and smooth textures of the noodles and brinjal strips, the dish was all the exclusive carbs we were compelled to succumb to.
There must be a slot somewhere that can still fit in a meat dish or two before desserts, we convinced ourselves. So, I guess the perfect transition dish would be the sweet and sour pork; deep-fried lean cuts of pork coated with an appetisingly red tomato sauce. A good sweet and sour tomato-based sauce, to me, lies in the density of the flavour. Or in a more domestic sense, the choice of brand. It's more of a Heinz here, which is a good thing.
I don't recall any particular favourite dessert, even with the inclusion of egg tarts. Towards the end, a plate of minimalistic fried cubes was revealed at the desserts station. How fortunate of me to not be the first taster because as it turned out, those were cubes of deep-fried durian custard. Apparently, the custard was really dense. There was durian flesh in the filling too. I guess that must be right as the flavour got stronger as the minutes painfully went by.
Honestly, I lost count of the number of dishes we had that afternoon. It must have been between 15 to 20. Or more. We started off at 12 pm and ended around 2.45 pm (yes, that's about 15 minutes before they closed). Believe me, it's not really an achievement anymore. We've done better.
With each dish, I reminded myself that this is a buffet and that reasonable taste and quality are all there is to be expected, regardless of a restaurant's prestige. I mean, is there such a thing as a gourmet buffet, especially with this kind of pricing? I definitely had fun stuffing myself silly with commendable Chinese dishes from Jing. A nice place to eat, chill (it's the weekend, afterall), eat more and in between, drink plenty of water because some dishes are quite heavy on MSG. That's my major concern.
Oh, and by the way, Jing's latest menu has changed slightly since I last visited. So, go their website for the latest menu.