Friday, July 13, 2012

Chiso Zanmai- Hunting for Herbivore Food in an Omnivore Buffet

Just not long ago I went out for a gathering over lunch with my friends. Well, as usual none of them were vegetarian, they loved Japanese food and wanted a buffet and I can't possibly force drag everyone to a vegetarian restaurant (:B I would love to though). So actually I was the one who suggested the place for them.

Chiso Zanmai @ The Central at Clarke Quay was my choice! It only recently opened and they serve up a very affordable Japanese buffet lunch (12-3pm) for only $14.90++ for weekdays! The place is rather large and spacious with a bright and natural lighting, nice place for gatherings with friends/family! (:
Take only what you can eat! There's a price for wasting precious food!

I had browsed through reviews online and thought that there would be a small but decent enough selection for a herbivore like me without being too expensive compared to other Japanese buffets. So... What were the results of my hunt of herbivore food in an omnivore restaurant? (:

A peek of the parts of their buffet line with vegetarian options!:
Some Appetizers

Some of the Hot Food

 Corn Croquette

 Toppping for soft serve ice cream. But the machine was out of order.... (-.-)

Round 1!

Deep Fried Eggplant in Bonito Broth
Not the soft and creamy eggplant. A lil' strong and weird taste of the broth...

Matcha Tofu
Gosh REALLY AUTHENTIC AND STRONG MATCHA TASTE. A hit for matcha-crazy people. (; More like a tea dessert than appetizer.

Corn Tofu
Mmmm.. Not bad actually! A strong corny(hahaha), soy sauce flavour. Their tofus are very silky and smooth~

Soba Noodles w Blanched Broccoli and Inari
Soba was so ordinary and dry, prolly cos I couldn't add the broth cos it had fish stock in it. ): Broccoli is plain old broccoli albeit a little tough and inari tasted as well as an inari could be~

Edamame w Sesame Tofu Paste
Edamame is edamame but the paste was rather interesting, very light nutty flavour but not too fascinating. Just okay. (:

Round 2!

Sweet Potato and Lotus Root Tempura w a small Fried Yam
Sweet potato is always nice (I'm biased sorry), lotus root too crunchy hard and I prefer my tempuras really lightly crisp on the outside and tender soft on the inside... Acceptable only. Fried Yam was.... Kinda weird, not creamy soft inside and had a strong weird flavour (I fear it's contaminated by meat...).

Black Sesame Mont Blanc Tart
I like this~! Not too strong, smooth nutty flavour of black sesame and chestnut twirled into the cream paste accompanied by an acceptable tart shell~

Matcha Tiramisu and Matcha Red Bean Swiss Roll
Swiss roll is forgettable. Matcha tiramisu was rather unique, but very light on both tiramisu and matcha flavours though! Would be great if stronger~ (:

Opera and Strawberry Cream Cake
Opera is alright like normal chocolate cakes with a crunchy layer in between, not bad. Strawberry Cream was slightly sour and sweet, but normal too~ A pity I didn't get to try any of their cheesecakes which are apparently quite good.
Matcha Warabimochi
Their matcha stuff are generally great, fragrant matcha powder dusted upon a smooth chewy cool jelly warabimochi~

Soy Milk Pudding w Maple Yuzu Sauce
Ahh yummy stuff here! Luscious silky soy pudding (like beancurd agar agar? (; ) with delicious not too cloying maple yuzu sauce!

Mochi w White/Mung Bean Paste Filling
All mochi is the same flavour regardless of colour~ A very chewy version of mochi, not too sweet but I prefer a softer bouncier and meltier mochi skin~ 

Fried Beancurd in .... Broth?
A lil' oily, beancurd skin encasing the silky tofu was really thin and delicate but somehow the broth had a very strong savoury taste that was a lil' overwhelming for me.

Round 3!

Matcha Red Bean Jelly and Hojicha Jelly
Tea jellies are super refreshing and delicious there! Especially recommend Hojicha jelly, light and pure roasted tea flavour, very satisfying after heavy flavours!

Tiny bit of Matcha Pannacotta
Really similar to matcha tofu except that this isn't made of soybeans. (: Super great pairing with adzuki beans as you can see in the following pictures. (;

Matcha Egg Tart
A definite MUST-TRY there! (^-^) Super warm, crispy and buttery flaky tart shell holding a smooth pudding-like filling laced with matcha flavour and studded with adzuki beans. What's best? No disgusting strong eggy taste. :D

Corn Croquette and Radish in Miso Sauce
Croquette was woah, really crispy yummy skin with a strong savoury lava liquid-y corn sauce! Radish was, like a radish..

Round 4!
Don't take the fruit jelly (the blue one), nothing amazing, alot of colouring.

I love the adzuki beans~~ Which are supposed to be toppings for the non-existent soft-serve ice cream.


In the end I'm the one who ate the most despite being the vegetarian with lesser food options... (*v*) I guess I gorge too much at buffets hahaha.

Happy friends~ (;

Overall, I feel that for vegetarians, it is definitely not exactly worth your $$$ to eat at Chiso Zanmai if you're looking for authentic savoury Japanese cuisine. But if you're okay with eating alot of desserts (like me haha) then it'll be slightly more worth it cos much of the vegetarian options are desserts, it was overall quite enjoyable actually. Though of course I don't think I'll go again, I think it's an option if your omnivore friends want a buffet and you still wanna meet them for a meal! (^-^)

But if you're a lacto-vegetarian or vegan, then don't go for the buffet... There isn't much point unless you can really eat alot of tofu, inari, jellys, i.e. the same few common foods over and over again to get your money's worth...

For meat-eaters, according to my friends, it's rather worth it for the weekday lunch price especially, and the food is decent enough though not to the level of wow wow. (:

It was definitely a very interesting experience trying to find vegetarian in a meat-eater buffet (my first time actually), anyone know of any other omnivore buffets that has a decent selection of herbivore food? Do comment below to tell me! (^-^)

Chiso Zanmai
6 Eu Tong Sen Street (The Central), #02-17
Tel: 6221 3177
Lunch (12pm-3pm)
Weekdays: Adult $14.90++   Child (below 1m) $9.90++   Senior (above 60) $12.90++
Wknds & PH: Adult $19.90++   Child (below 1m) $9.90++   Senior (above 60) $17.90++

Dinner (6pm-10pm) with Sashimi

Mon-Thurs: Adult $24.90++   Child (below 1m) $14.90++   Senior (above 60) $22.90++
Fri-Sun & PH: Adult $29.90++   Child (below 1m) $14.90++   Senior (above 60) $27.90++

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