Its time to get together for a meal with my readers to celebrate our birthday.

We originally planned to go Aquamarine at Marina Mandarin, but apparently the lunch menu is local and not really to our palate’s liking. So we changed to the backup plan of Greenhouse at Ritz Carlton which i had once visited couple of years back.

As usual, i was there with my girl the earliest. We went in ahead before the rest arrived and started with some soup. She took the cream of mushroom which we felt was machiam grounded mushrooms (read thick) and was very salty as well. It was addicting though. I got the black chicken herbal soup which also was rather tad salty for my liking.

The 3 ladies arrived and I proceeded with some cooked food. I shall try to recall as many food i had tried as possible.

1) Pasta, nasi briyani, yi fu noodles – not fantastic, should be better if you go along with some of the other dishes.

2) Baked snapper – very nicely done but the servings are too big. Take one piece (chunk) and you are almost 1/4 filled.

3) Steamed king garoupa – nice, almost like home-cooked. But need to get to this before the aunties who would make off with 1/2 the fish single-handedly.

4) Roast duck, char siew, roast pork – not the nicest i have tasted but not too bad either.

5) Tempura – so-so only lah despite freshly fried.

6) sushi – now i was getting disappointed with the sushi. The tuna slice was dried up on the rice roll which was falling apart on its own. It was hard trying to get the sushi pieces onto my plate, it was another to eat it. Quite a failure.

7) Sashimi – not a lot to choose from, tuna, salmon and one more. Not very fresh although the taste was ok.

8) Chilled boiled prawns, crabs, mussels, pacific clams – Being boiled, don’t expect them to be rich in flavours. Prawns and the crabs are naturally sweet but the clams and mussels are bland. I need to soak them in soy sauce.

9) Smoked salmon, tuna with japanese sauce – Not bad, managed to make up for the rest of the food.

10) Dumplings, zui kway, char siew bun – Rather weird to find these heartland local food, kinda messed up my strategy towards this buffet. Yet i can’t bear to leave without at least trying one of each. Dumpling is a little dry, should have the vinegar sauce with ginger slices but cannot find. Zui kway is nice but the cai por is not enough. Char siew bun is very good, but considering how filling it is, i cannot go past one.

11) Cheng tng – too sweet for me

12) Cheese cake, tiramisu and those little cups of mixed fruits cocktail – Cheese cake is nice but for the whole of lunchtime, only one cake is served. My girl was hoping to see refill but it never came. Tiramisu was in a big bowl and for me, this is the highlight of the whole meal. The taste totally exploded in my mouth (haha~~~). Those little cups are too sweet, fail.

13) Ice cream – comes in ten flavours which include maple walnut, caramel, mango sorbet. Taste like expensive ice cream.

There are some other food which i did not try. Soba noodles, the whole of pastry section, salad section, fruits so i cannot comment. But by now you should see that the choices are really lacking.

Having said that, i must really point out that the service standard is impeccable. Waiter/waitress appeared promptly and clear the empty plates (or with the unwanted shells) and our glasses of iced water are never left half empty. The chefs behind the counter are also very polite in asking for your preferences. And one waiter even managed to remember my name when saying bye bye to me. Now this is impressive.

Sat lunch is $48++ so it adds up to around $56 with all the additional charges. 15% off if you have UOB signature/infinite/platinum cards.

Will i come back again? It depends on ultimately what i am looking for, friendly heart-warming service or just good food. Most people will just go for the latter.