The food at RWS

As mentioned in my previous post “A Staycation at RWS”, I am reviewing the food experience we had at Resorts World Sentosa in this separate post. Though I have to state upfront that I didn’t take any pictures of the restaurants or food.

When we arrived at Hotel Michael, we had lunch at the Italian restaurant, Palio, since it’s convenient. To be honest, I didn’t have much expectations because the hotel is run like a China man shop.
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But, to our surprise, the food turned out to be better than expected. We ordered the 2-course set lunch of appetizer/dessert and main for S$22++ each. A margherita pizza which Buddy also took, a green salad, a spicy tomato pasta and a hazelnut crunch cake.

The pizza is freshly made and though not as good as the one from Bruno, it can rival Spizza. Buddy loves pizza, though so far he had only tried those from Spizza and Da Paolo Gastronomia. He enjoyed the one served at Palio, and even ate the crust. We didn’t give him the spicy pasta, but it was very well done too. My only beef is the small portion of the cake. In fact it is so tiny that it can gobbled up in two mouthful. Buddy is also a cake lover, and he said “yummy” to the cake.

The next morning, my husband suggested that we had breakfast at Palio as well, also for convenience so that we could spend more time at Universal Studio. Palio offers breakfast buffet at a fixed price of S$22 nett for each diner. That sounds rather reasonable. But turns out the price also reflects the quality of the food. In a word, breakfast sucks!

The mini pancakes were not fluffy and broke into pieces when I tried cutting them. The tiny chocolate cupcake, which Buddy picked, was dry. Buddy only had half a cupcake, and refused to finish it. He stuck to having watermelon instead. (You can’t go wrong with fruits though there was limited choices, other than watermelon, there were only honeydew and pineapple.) My husband had some sausage and bacon, and remarked that he was only having them for the protein since there was no other options. Seriously, for a low quality breakfast, S$22 is expensive.

It had been some time since we last checked out RWS, which was about a year ago. The food scene has changed a lot, with more choices now. But quantity doesn’t equate to quality. Still there are some which have been rather consistent, like Coca Steamboat Restaurant, which also has an branch at Takashimaya mall. We used to go to the latter when my husband wanted a steamboat fix, and he loves the freshly made dipping. They still have it at the RWS outlet. In fact they offer a dinner buffet for S$44++ per person, and you can select from a wide selection of ingredients including seafood such as oysters and prawns, meat, and lots of vegetables and mushrooms.

Our dinner didn’t get on a good start, no fault of the restaurant. It was because Buddy didn’t nap earlier in the afternoon, and we thought we would have an early dinner so that he could sleep earlier. Unfortunately, at 5.30pm, Buddy started to get cranky. My husband rocked him to sleep and we thought we could then put him in the stroller. But he woke up with a wail when we tried. In the end, my husband ignored the resistance and placed him on the stroller. We had to take turns to have dinner as we pushed him around. Luckily, after a short nap, he was willing to join us for dinner.

Back to the food at Coca, the ingredients are pretty fresh and the dip is as good as before. If you like seafood, then taking the buffet is a good option, and in fact I recommend it for a healthy dinner. We also received attentive service at the restaurant. We didn’t have to ask for refill of water, and the staff was quick to help us open the door when we went in and out with the stroller.

When we were at Universal Studio, we had our lunch at Loui ‘ s NY Pizza Parlor, not by choice but for convenience since we were at the New York zone.

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We didn’t order a whole pizza, and instead asked for a slice of margherita pizza (again, since this is easy for Buddy to eat) and a meatball Bolognese pasta, and Buddy wanted a watermelon cup as well. Perhaps because the slice didn’t come from a freshly baked pizza, I find the taste average, and even the pasta is nothing special (and worse they are a little cold). Though Buddy had a little pizza, he had mostly watermelon again. (Yes, I realize he is a fussy eater like me.) The reviews at Hungry Go Where were positive; I can understand for those who ordered the freshly prepared whole pizza. But for the pre-prepared food, it was basically just to fill the stomach, nothing great about it. I would really reconsider about returning.

We had an afternoon snack at Mel’s Drive In, located at the Hollywood zone. Basically like a fast food restaurant, with similar offerings to Burger King or . But Mel’s is more expensive because you are paying the the price for smaller portion.

My husband was thinking of having a good burger for dinner, and Hard Rock restaurant seemed like a good place to go to. Unfortunately, Buddy started to get cranky and refused to enter the restaurant. He kept pointing to the opposite direction. So we decided to take him for a short stroll. We stopped outside Pisco, a restaurant serving South American food and the menu looks interesting But, again, Buddy refused to go in. My husband decided to take him for a stroll inside the Malaysian Food Street food court while I had to use the bathroom. While in there, he found that the Chinese were no longer cooking the food and instead were replaced by Malaysians. (We had tried the food there a couple of years ago and it sucks. My husband complained then that the Chinese, employed for their cheap labor, didn’t know how to fry a mean char kway teow (fried flat rice noodle with dark soy sauce).

My husband, who has a penchant for local Malaysian food, suggested we had dinner there instead, and we could tempt Buddy with roti prata (fried Indian dough), which he likes. The food court was rather crowded for a week day night, and understandably so, since the prices are more reasonable (compared to the restaurant) and it’s comfort food for the Malaysian tourists (a lot of them), and also preferred by other tourists as well. Indeed, the food is better than before. We had the chicken satay which is well grilled, the roti prata is quite good too, though I am not a fan of the Penang Loh Mee. I guess the Malaysian tourists must have screamed bloody murder when the Chinese screw up their food and RWS had to scramble in the locals to take over.

On the third and last day, we tried something new, Slappy Cakes. This a pancake place that serves all-day breakfast. After the sucky breakfast and pancakes at the hotel, we thought we could finally get good old American pancakes. At least this is what we saw outside the restaurant.

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We went in and got a table just in time, before the crowd came. On each table, there is a hot plate, and on the wall, there is pictures showing how to make pancakes with fillings. It turns out Slappy Cakes is a DIY pancake place, though you can order the breakfast course with pancakes included “Truck Stop”. My husband was a little dismay about it, and understandably so. Why can’t the restaurant provide an option to the diner who doesn’t want to cook the pancakes? So he ordered the breakfast course for himself and the DIY pancake for me.

To be honest, I was initially curious. The pictures on the wall make cooking pancakes look rather simple: pour a layer of batter on the hot plate, add fillings, flip over and voila, you have a beautiful layered pancakes. But when the batter and fillings arrived, and my husband and I looked at the hot plate, we realized we weren’t sure what temperature to set. There was absolutely no suggestion or instruction. The restaurant was also so short of staff that they just dumped the food on the table and ran off to serve another. Basically it is up to the diners to figure out.

My husband resorted to trial and error. He put in the batter on the hot plate and I added the fillings (strawberries, bananas, blueberries and shredded coconut) into it. But it didn’t turn out like the picture. When the pancakes were flipped over, some of the filling spill out. The pancakes were crumbly and fell apart, and the fillings on the pancakes looked like some sort of tumorous growth. “How can people expect to have good pancakes with DIY?” exclaimed my husband. (It’s not as if pancakes are a staple of Asian diet.)

My husband realized the problem, and as he tried with the second batch, he explained, “In order to make fluffy and nice pancakes like those in the picture, you need a thick batter. In fact the fillings should be mixed into the batter so that when one side is cooked and you flip it over, the fillings won’t fall out. But the problem with this batter is that it is runny.” He tried covering the fillings with a top batter. The end result was better, but still nothing like the picture. That is just a marketing gimmick to get you into the restaurant!

Buddy didn’t want to touch the pancakes. He only wanted his alphabet cookies and the blueberry fruit. Even the pancakes in the Truck Stop breakfast were not up to mark. The cook is obviously not experienced, and the rest (bacon, potatoes, scrambled egg) was measly and left much to be desired, and it costs S$20. “If the Americans are served this kind of breakfast, they will storm the restaurant!”   We seriously have no idea how the hell the restaurant was given an award for ‘best dessert 2014’ and received all those good reviews.

Well, I guess at any attraction, there is bound to be a mix bag of restaurants. Unfortunately you can’t really rely on reviews and have to try the food to know for sure. I am interested in the South American restaurant, Pisco, though I do realize the well-presented pictures can be misleading. Still we’ll have to be guinea pigs to know for ourselves.

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