I get to know of Swatow Restaurant from ‘Buffet Buffet 2’, a lifestyle variety program produced by MediaCorp and was telecasted on its Channel 8. The program shown that Swatow Restaurant’s high-tea dim sum buffet is usually packed on weekdays and certainly full on weekend. Seeing this, I am very eager to check them out.
Indeed, it is difficult to get a table if you are walking in. I could not even get a seat when I called the restaurant a day in advance. It ends up that I have to place my reservation a week in advance.
After all the panic over reservation, I am glad to have finally settled in the middle of the crowded old restaurant, ready to get a bite on the cuisines. Swatow High-Tea Dim Sum buffet is a daily affair from 3pm to 5pm. The convenient thing about the high-tea buffet is that the dim sum will be wheeled around you in push-trolley and you just stop the service staff to pick your choice dim sum. There will be different variety of dim sum fresh out from the kitchen in about every 10 minutes. If you have visited Hong Kong for their morning dim sum, you should be familiar with the concept.
Perhaps of my high expectation for the restaurant, I find the experience at Swatow only slightly above average. Of course, I do not have much complaints about the food. In fact, there are many nice stuffs such as the spinach dumplings, spicy braised chicken feet, black sesame buns and abalone salad kueh pie tee. However, I blamed a little on the aged service style. Most of the things here are quite self-service. You could help youself with the typical home-made sour plum juice and barley drink from a messy bar-counter, which also have a variety of condiments laying in a disarray.
The serving of the food may be unique but could be the main shortcoming. It is advisable to be punctual because the staff will proceed with a round of appetitzers for everyone without concerning for the latecomers. The later you are, the more types of food you are going to miss because I roughly calculated that quite a number of nice dim sum, especially the more popular one, were only served once. There are no use crying to the service staff as they seem too busy to attend to you. But they are apologetic and polite to me though.
Finally, it could be frustrating if you are seated far away from the kitchen door because many other tables along the way could have snatched the food you are anticipating. I have to rush to the trolley many times just to catch the dim sum I wanted. It may appeared that I am enthusiastically grabbing the dishes (I said earlier that the food is good), in my mind, I still find it not justifiable to scrum so hard for a seat.
Restaurant Name: Swatow Restaurant Pte Ltd
Address: Blk 181, Lorong 4 Toa Payoh, #02-602, Singapore 310181
Tel: 6363 17171
Fax: 6252 2432
Timings for Daily High-tea buffet:
3pn t0 5pm
Weekdays’ Buffet High-tea (Adult): S$19.80++
Weekdays’ Buffet High-tea (Child): S$13.80++
Weekends and Public Holidays (Adult): S$22.80++
Weekends and Public Holidays (Child) : S$16.80++
Note: Child is between 6 yrs old to 12 yrs old.