Swissôtel Merchant Court Singapore’s Ellenborough Market Café offers scrumptious local delicacies and tantalizing international cuisine.
You can choose to sit inside the elegant restaurant or outdoors along the banks of the Singapore River. Its decor has a colonial and Peranakan feel to it with dark rattan chairs, white marble topped tables and chic retro black-and-white checkered floors.
This restaurant offers an à la carte menu as well as daily lunch and dinner buffets. We were fortunate to try their delicious buffet during our stay at Swissôtel Merchant Court. What sets this buffet apart from other hotel buffets in Singapore is the variety of specialty Peranakan dishes. Peranakan or Nonya fare is the result of blending Chinese ingredients and cooking techniques with Malay spices. Plenty of these traditional dishes are offered, including the quintessential Ayam Buah Keluak, a dish combining chicken with a type of black nut native to Indonesia called buah keluak, to produce a rich sauce that is sweet, spicy and sour.
Another popular Peranakan dish on this spread is Kueh Pie Tee – thin and crispy pastry tart shell filled with a spicy, sweet mixture of thinly sliced vegetables and prawns. There’s actually a dedicated kueh pie tee station where a chef specially prepares this dainty Nonya dish. First, a layer of turnip (beng kuang or jicama) goes in, then prawns, carrots, crumbly boiled eggs and other ingredients, then topped with more turnip, spicy chilli sauce and it’s finished with little cilantro leaf. So when you bite into it, there is a delightful contrast of textures with the crackling shell.
If you’re a seafood lover, then you’ll be happy to know there’s plenty of crab, lobster, prawns, and mussels on this fantastic buffet. There’s even a dedicated Japanese section with varieties of sushi, including fresh salmon and tuna sashimi. Indian dishes also make an appearance, including the flavourful Mutton Madras Curry, and the buffet also has a cold food station where you can toss your own caesar salad in a wooden bowl.
For those with a sweet-tooth, there’s a great selection of tropical fruit including, rambutans, dragon fruit, lychees, longans, etc. Plenty of cakes such as Chocolate Swiss Roll and Coconut Green Tea Mousse are offered, alongside Mango Pudding, Vanilla Creme Brulee, tarts, sweet soups, and assorted Nonya Kueh/ Straights-Chinese desserts.
Ellenborough Market Café’s signature Durian Pengat (pictured above) has for years drawn both tourists and locals to this restaurant. Sweet, smooth and creamy, this pungent mousse is whipped to a delicately airy texture, and is certainly a must-try dessert for all durian lovers.
Warmest thanks to Hanli Tan and Rainus Chong of Swissotel Merchant Court for being such gracious hosts!
Ellenborough Market Café
Swissôtel Merchant Court
20 Merchant Road
T: +65 6239 1848