Sakura … I am not talking about the cherry blossom in Japan which the name stands for. I am refering to the Sakura International Buffet Restaurant that belongs to the suki group of restaurants here in Singapore.
Sakura … The restaurant serves seafood buffet and with it’s name, it can be mistaken for a Japanese restaurant. Well, it is and it may not be is. The restaurant serves Japanese dishes like sashimi sushi , tepanyaki AND they also offer western and oriental cuisines mostly with a touch of Malay, Chinese, etc., all being locally prepared.
At Sakura you can eat and drink all you can but make sure you don’t waste not even a single crumb as the restaurant will charge you with $5 per 100 grams of food you waste.
We (me, Kristine and Aba) are suppose to be going to Sentosa yesterday afternoon but we have miscalculated the time. The two had to go check a room at Yishun at 4PM and they went out (from the flat) at past 4 (duhhh can anyone teach these couple time-management 101???) I got to Dhoby Ghaut mrt station at around past 7PM and knowing that we won’t be enjoying the views at sentosa on a dark night so I suggested that we go there some other day and obliged them to choose what they want to do or where they want to go tonight instead. I am no good tour guide. I’ve no idea where the good places to go in Singapore despite my more than 2 years of stay here. So letting me decide on that matter will make everything futile. Kristine suggested that we go for a buffet dinner. So while waiting for them at the dhoby ghaut mrt station, I googled the nearest restaurant that serves buffet. There’s sakae sushi at the park mall which is just a walking distance away but Kristine doesn’t want to eat there anymore. Yuki yaki is far and it will take us forever to get there. Kuishin bo is a bit expensive for us right now and it will also take us forever to get there as the branches I know are in suntec ang jurong point. And there you go, Sakura, which is just an escalator away, atop this mrt station. The “slow-foot duo” arrived, at last, a little past 7:30PM and both of them are blaming their lateness on the slow red line train (seriously? They need to be briefed on punctuality!!!)
T’was my second time to dine in Sakura. The first time was at the Jurong West branch during a colleague’s (Susan Sulaiman) farewell dinner. I had diarrhea the moment I got home, that was because the oysters and the salmon sashimi were not fresh!
We didn’t make reservations so we just walked in the restaurant. We had to paySG$ 30.05 per person upon entry. The price included the meal plus drinks. That’s cheap for a seafood buffet dinner.
“Ok for you to eat out?” the male receptionist asked us with a stoic demeanor. I think he asked us twice because Kristine nudged me “’te, sa labas daw tayo kakain” (she was trying to explain to me that the guy is asking if it’s alright for us to have a sidewalk seating) pointing at the rows of tables and chairs outside of the restaurant. I was just staring at the receptionist blankly vexed by the guy’s unfriendly and arrogant behavior. “Is it already full inside? Can you give us a table for 3 inside instead?” I asked politely, I even managed to smile (we can see from where we were standing that there were vacant tables inside the restaurant and he doesn’t even want to squeeze us in?). “All reserved” came his scripted and recorded-like reply without even butting an eye and without even smiling. Then he repeated his first question “Ok for you to eat out?” My sister answered “yes” or “ok” I don’t know which one exactly , I just nodded. “Table 55” the male receptionist grunted while handing me my card and receipt. What’s with this guy and his attitude? Either he hates his job or he just finds us annoying.
Anyway, As I’ve mentioned, the price is considerably cheap for a buffet dinner at SG$30.05 per person. I get to eat beef steak, shrimp tempura, boiled prawn, baked prawn, baked mussels, oysters, scallops, lobster & potato salad, kani & asparagus salad, squids, and my favorite salmon- salmon sashimi, steamed salmon, grilled salmon, and crispy fried salmon skin (in small servings only).
Sakura serves a wide variety of dishes from appetizers( scallops, sushi, sashimi, called prawns, salads, soups, satays), main course (dimsums, noodles, rice, vegetables, fish, & seafood dishes, grilled beef, pork, lamb chops, and fishes), an assortment of desserts (from ice creams, cheesecakes, chocolate cakes, molded chocolates, fruits, yogurt and jellies) and drinks (softdrinks, iced teas, hot teas and coffee).
This is food paradise for someone who has a big stomach and insatiable palate. Well, it is really impossible for us to try all of the dishes. I just had a bit of this and that to taste but I gorged on my favorites salmon, prawns, oysters and scallops and that was good enough for me- I got my money’s worth!
Customer service Lacking – the food servers need to go on training to improve their customer service skills. If you are in the F&B, or retail industry and your job is to serve/mingle/socialize/meet people, you need to act and look like – friendly, approachable, and accommodating. That is regardless if you have problems with your colleagues, your boss, or even the whole of humanity; regardless if you’re tired or your feet are sore or even if you are dead sick. A smile should be pasted on your faces. BE POLITE (!!!) and DON’T BE RUDE (!!!) (like the unbecoming attitude of the receptionist and the rude food server that brought our grilled fish and beef steak). Nonetheless, there will always be at least one good apple among the rotten ones that spoil the barrel and we commend Soon Heng for being that good apple at Sakura Dhoby Ghaut Green branch. He was cordial enough and fast at cleaning up our empty plates 🙂 Thanks to him.
Stale fishes dished out on the tray. I had already downed a few pieces of salmon sashimi when I noticed that they were not fresh nyay and I wonder if Kristine and Aba noticed those too. I’d better check the sashimi before getting one. I’d be more careful next time or maybe I need to wear a higher grade contact lens the next time I dine at Sakura so that I’d have a better visual view of the foods being served.
Overall, we had a satisfying dinner at Sakura– tummy and palate-wise. Good value for money that is. I’d be bringing Frederick to try Sakura’s buffet, definitely (we’ll just have to try another branch with friendlier crews). Sakura may not have outlandish dishes, but I’m sure my husband will love the food there and I can’t wait to see him devour salmons and tunas.
– Sharosem (17October2010)
PS: We went to Mustafa afterwards. Aba and Kristine bought a pair of barbells/dumbbells and a set of table tennis paddles and balls as they are both convinced they already need to work on losing some fats and flabs and w few gained weight (oh no, that’s not true, that’s a lie! you are still both thin- skin and bone thin )
Off topic : While I was enjoying a buffet dinner, my husband on the other side of the world was having fun too. They partied last Saturday night where they get to enjoy food, beers, wines, and a lot of booze and spirits. Just stay sobber Dear and don’t forget to eat before you drink beer/alcohol.