Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Shabu Sai: Japanese Shabu Shabu Buffet

Riding on the wave of steamboat in Singapore, Shabu Sai has opened a second outlet at Orchard Central. Quite unlike the shabu shabu in Japan, the version here reminded me of the Sichuan Yuan-yang Pot, in which diners can choose 2 different types of soup. 

free flow of pork, chicken or beef upon order
From the six regular soup base including curry dashi, tomato, seaweed, tonkotsu, We picked the Spicy and also the Special flavour for May/June-Yuzu Salt which claimed to contain collagen.

While waiting for the soup to boil, one can start selecting from the buffet counter of fresh vegetables, including Japanese shoots(竹の子) and white radish (daikon). Other unique items include the orange fish balls and the vegetable balls.
The meat are served in bamboos, not purely for presentation, but because it has anti-bacterial properties to keep the meat fresh. One was the normal fish paste, while the other was the minced beef with lotus.
One thing that differs from the first outlet at Causeway Point is the addition of assorted sushi. The rice lacked the acidity of vinegar and was rather dry. I prefer the mini donburi with bits of unagi and egg but the sauce was too little.  

The largest disappointment of the day, unfortunately, was the Soup base. Both the Spicy and Yuzu salt we had chosen were extremely salty, and tasted no different from each other. The Spicy version lacked the spice while the latter had no yuzu fragrant or flavour. 



The tasting samplers of other soup bases had the same problem: too much MSG, except for the seaweed soup which was very bland. The seasonings were excessive to the extent that the salty juices infiltrated all the vegetables and meat which were "shabu-shabu". 


As a result of the soups, the wide variety of sauces, from the standard Japanese ponzu dressing to korean chilli bean paste became wasted or rather redundant.  

Unless you bring your own water, free flow of drinks and ice cream are available when you topped up $1.99. The food kept me very thirsty until the next morning. To put it short, the soup bases still has plenty of room for adjustment. Otherwise it would be good if there are kettles of hot water on the buffet table for standby to prevent a salt attack.
 
Lunch:
Weekdays (Mon-Fri)             Adult: $16.99++ Child*: $9.99+

Weekends/PH                           Adult: $16.99++ Child*: $9.99+
Dinner:
Weekdays (Mon-Fri)             Adult: $24.99++ Child*: $9.99+

Weekends/EvePH/PH           Adult: $29.99++ Child*: $9.99+
*Child: Between 5-9 years; those below age of 4 dine free 
 

SHABU SAI
#08-09/10/11 Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Rd.
Tel: 68846760
Mon-Fri :  Lunch 1130-1500 (Last Order 1430)  Dinner 1800-2230 (Last Order 2200)
Sat/Sun/PH: 1130-2230 (Last Order 2200)
This was a media tasting session.
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