Type of Institution: Vegetarian
Address: Velocity@Novena Square, #03-09/10, 238 Thomson Road
Tel: +65 6538 2992
Price of Buffet: $22.80++ (Monday – Thursday dinner, 6pm – 10pm)*
*The mushroom hotpot buffet is cheaper during Monday – Thursday lunch ($20.80++ between 11.30am and 2.30pm), the same price during Friday – Sunday and public holidays lunch ($22.80++ between 11.30am and 2.30pm) and more expensive during Friday – Sunday and public holidays diner ($24.80++ between 6pm – 10pm).
LingZhi is well-known for its innovative and resourceful Chinese gourmet offerings, which are best sampled through its ala carte items (I intend to write a review in the future, but off the top of my head, you really should try the vegetarian satay and the spinach with bai ling mushrooms and truffle). In contrast, the Mushroom Hotpot Buffet, along with the cooked food it provided, did not have anything that was very impressive in terms of creative cooking.
However, the use of extremely fresh and organic ingredients in LingZhi’s Mushroom Hotpot Buffet won me over. Whenever I want to gorge myself in a buffet, I try to at least do it with some wholesome goodness so I will not get that pseudo-post-McDonald’s guilt and queasiness. My friend and I spent 2.5 hours in LingZhi in true Singaporean marathon eating fashion but I left feeling pretty good because the ingredients were so light and fresh. Moreover, I would recommend the buffet for weight-conscious, health-conscious boys and girls because mushrooms fill you up, are ridiculously low in calories (less than 30 calories/100 grams), virtually fat-free, protein-rich, and are excellent sources of minerals (e.g. magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, copper) and Vitamins B and D, etc. The two broths my friends and I chose tasted fresh, light and flavourful. I preferred the sour and spicy tom yam to the herbal soup (which you have to pay an additional $2 for and tastes like watercress soup).
Service has always been helpful and efficient at LingZhi. On this visit, I was quickly shown the non-vegan items in the buffet and I was happy to find out that the buffet was mostly vegan – only 3 items were not: the vegetable curry, custard roll, and “pork” pastry.
All that being said, I was disappointed by the limited variety of mushrooms in a Mushroom Hotpot Buffet and the limited variety of food in general. If memory serves, they only had 4 types of mushrooms: drumstick mushroom, shitake mushroom, golden straw mushroom and black fungus. I loved the drumstick mushroom’s texture when cooked for a short period of time – slightly chewy and very fibrous. Among the other steamboat items on offer, I would recommend the vegetarian “fish” and mixed vegetable beancurd. The vegetarian “pork” was rather authentic and even imitated the fatty texture fringing the “meat”. The vegetarian ball felt like it was from another planet because it had a strange jelly-like texture. The other steamboat items included: seaweed, noodles, corn, baby corn, yam, lady’s fingers. The dipping sauces were average – the more notable ones were satay sauce, sweet chilli, and spicy sesame, with the last one being the best.
Aside from the steamboat items, the Buffet had a dim sum cart at the side, with paus, siew mais, and interesting dumplings. My favourite was the siew mai, which had a very thin and soft wrapping and a great mushroom flavour. There were also about 5 trays of cooked food, the more notable one being the slightly sweet and slightly spicy rojak, which used fried tau pok in place of youtiao and had very fresh and sweet pineapples. Dessert was ordinary – custard rolls, longan jelly, green bean soup, etc.
Conclusion: I wouldn’t go back to LingZhi’s Mushroom Hotpot Buffet often because the variety was very limited, unlike e.g. Lotus. I’ve walked past LingZhi many times and the offerings of the Buffet seemed constant. However, I would go back again when I need a buffet fix because what they lack in quantity, they make up for in the quality of their fresh, organic ingredients and flavourful soup stocks.