Friday, March 27, 2015

Sakura Charcoal Grilled & Shabu Shabu - A Somewhat Ideal Place for CNY Reunion Dinner @ Ponggol Seventeenth Avenue [Singapore]

Reunion dinner for Lunar New Year a few years ago was usually spent at home, surrounded by either steamboat and / or home cooked dishes. 

I am actually fine with that arrangement but i know it was tough for my mom who would have to busy herself with the preparation and cooking in such a short span of time! Not to mention there was also the last minute spring cleaning! 

Anyway, eating out is the new norm comes Chinese New Year eve and since my parents would not be footing the bill, the children have the final say on where to go! For the most recent reunion dinner, we made a reservation for the remote Sakura Charcoal Grilled and Shabu Shabu restaurant at Punggol.

The first thing you must do before entering the dining establishment; pay. As both parents are over 60 years old, they were given the senior rate! *happy because can save money*.

You may wish to keep in mind that this particular restaurant has no air-conditioned seating! Sweaty persons would either have to swear themselves off from this place or try to get their butt on a seat that faces the fan.

Those who prefer a scenic promenade view could check out the seating at the back. It was also blessed with the occasional breeze to cool that body of yours. 

Do also be mindful that some spots are exposed to the sky (yes, it was pretty rundown); good if it is a clear, blue sky with no birds. Bad if you see storming clouds above and / or a murder of crows. 

Table setup - a typical table was for four persons and consisted of a grill and the steamboat pot. We had to take two tables for the eight of us; not easy with two kids who knew nuts about getting raw food cooked. 

Picture to prove it was indeed red hot charcoal! Rest assured if you are concerned about the smoke; there was literally none that irritated my sensitive eyes. 

After settling in, it's time to grab our food! Most people would of course grab the raw ingredients so that they can start immediately on showcasing their barbecuing / shabuing skills. 

There were the minority who would attack the cooked food section where there were lotus leaf rice,  herbal chicken, pasta etc. We kept going back as the kids preferred the fried stuff like nuggets over boiled / BBQ food. 

I belong to the majority and went straight for the raw ingredients. As this was buffet style, i would not normally reach for vegetables which should be reserved for daily dining and not indulgences.

That's me; my parents and sisters think otherwise. They would load their plates with vegetables and mushrooms! In my opinion, that's a bloody waste of money and we might as well have steamboat at home! 

A meat eater i am and a meat eater i shall be.

Labels were available to tell you what meat to expect although the individual plates didn't quite tell us what style the meat was in; pepper, original, szechuan? One thing is confirmed though; don't expect pork as the restaurant is Halal certified!

Meat wise, you would be pampered with the usual beef, lamb, fish, chicken and even duck! Note, for a shabu shabu tagged restaurant, i found the meat to be too thick for shabu shabu! 

My personal favourite was the skewer section which was essentially our local satays! When i was at Sakura a few years ago, they even served a really meant yakitori! Pity i couldn't find any in my recent trip; maybe phased out. :(

Two chillers with seafood - frankly, i didn't quite like the way they were displayed. They totally didn't attract my attention except for maybe the sotong and prawns. 

Dad thinking what to drink to quench his thirst.

Besides hot beverage like black coffee, cappuccino, latte, mocha, milo, teh tarik, you would also be given the cold dispenses like blackcurrant, lemon tea and even mug root beer, just to name a few! 

Need a dip? Select from the sauce counter! 

Cooked food included quite a few things; namely sushi, fruits, cakes, ice cream and even durian pengat which was seriously yummy! Honestly, i was blown away by the variety! 

My apology for the poorly taken photos but i felt really embarrassed to hold back the diners in front me who have kindly allowed me to take pictures! 

It's finally time to start! Save for the steamboat soup which took a long time to boil, the charcoal grilled cooked fast and i was happy to be able to stuff some satay into my mouth.

Surprisingly, i ate super little! Maybe because i was still recovering from the ailment i was inflicted with in Maldives, my appetite wasn't as voracious and in all, i didn't find the food to be as good as the first time i was there. 

To draw comparison, i would have very much prefer the food in Sukiya despite the lack of a charcoal grilled facility and a significantly smaller variety. 

Oh well, it is the company that counts right?! And both kids kind of have no complaint about the food. Jovyn, especially, love their chocolate cake! To be fair, i thought the rainbow cake was super good; light yet extremely creamy! 

A final look as we simply could not stuff in any more things into my tummy! Oh, i couldn't remember what broth was given even though it was honestly quite bland until you add in all the "hao liao" (hokkien for good ingredients). 

=====

Location
600 Punggol 17th Avenue
[Within Marina Country Club]

Map
As above

Shuttle Bus
Available to / from Sengkang MRT Station.
Check out the schedule here

Reservation
Call 6385-8197

Price
Child - S$16.90
Adult - S$35.80
Senior - S$29.80
[Subject to GST only]

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