Pan Pacific Hotels Group launched a promotion to celebrate International Women’s Day, where one lady dines free when accompanied by at least one paying diner. This promotion was applicable for weekday buffet lunches and dinners at Pan Pacific Hotel, PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay, Pickering and Beach Road. As buffets are typically wasted on my husband and I (we hardly eat that much), this 1-for-1 deal lowered the barrier and made it slightly more worth it for us to take on.
After looking through the menus at the various restaurants, we settled on PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering. Based on some online reviews, the food was supposedly very good so we were eager to try it out.
We arrived around 6.30pm and queued up for about 10 minutes before being shown to our seats. The restaurant exudes a contemporary vibe with little notes of greenery here and there. I love how the space was bathed in natural light through the floor-to-ceiling windows, giving it an open and airy feel. Unexpectedly, as I was walking towards the entrance to take a few photos, I was abruptly stopped by a staff as I was flouting the “no intermingling” rule. Even though I didn’t know anyone else here to mingle with, I guess my actions could be easily mistaken as such. Anyway, I do think I got all the photos I needed!
To place our orders, we were given a QR code to scan, directing us to a menu page. Our orders were then served a la carte to our tables. Given the reviews I’ve read about the food here, I must say we were really disappointed. Amongst all the dishes we ordered, most were mediocre and a few were either excellent or horrid. Some of the dishes I would hesitate to reorder are the dry ramen (noodles were completely dried out and almost crunchy), the smoked chicken salad (chicken was rock solid) and the miso chicken bolognaise (tasted like salty minced meat). We were thinking if it could be because we were one of the first few customers and our orders arrived almost immediately, so we might have been served food that was pre-prepped and sitting on the counters for a while already. The food from our second round of orders generally tasted better.
On the plus side, there were some standout dishes like the crayfish laksa (flavourful broth and well-cooked, non-rubbery crayfish), salmon sashimi (quite fresh) and the mini angus beef sirloin (seasoned well but don’t leave it out for too long as it can become quite tough to chew). In addition, the desserts were surprisingly delicious, except the strawberry shortcake. They had the right level of sweetness, were conveniently bite-size and constructed with finesse.
There were hits and misses with the wait staff’s service. Some were friendly and communicated with us when they served us our food, some simply placed the food on our table and hurried off to the next table with no acknowledgement of our existence. Also, it seemed like all the staff were instructed to prioritize clearing the tables of finished plates. While I appreciate how that elevates the dining experience, we couldn’t help but feel watched due to the sheer frequency of overt checking by the staff, much like a hawk eyeing its prey and waiting for the perfect moment to swoop in. That didn’t put us at ease very much.
Thankfully, what saved our impression of the service here was the cashier who settled our bill for us. She was so warm and personable, greeting us with a smile and offering to help us take photos to commemorate the occasion. We recognize that it’s not easy dealing with customers all day and still come across so genuinely as she did in her interactions. It was a great end to our evening (:
My overall rating of the experience: 3 out of 5 stars. We were initially going to give this experience a 2-star rating because of the mostly unimpressive food and the inconsistent service quality from various wait staff. If this weren’t a 1-for-1 deal, the full price for two diners would not be value for money at all. Comparing to what I’ve seen on other reviews, it is possible that the restaurant has scaled back on their offerings and quality to tide over the covid season. However, because of that lovely cashier who was such a gem, I’m bumping up the rating to 3 stars to show my appreciation for her efforts to make us feel welcome (: Do note that if you want hot and more freshly made food, it might be a good idea to come at a slightly later seating to avoid the first batch of food sitting out in the open.