Our team goes undercover to suss out the latest and most talked about restaurants in town
Hard Rock Hotel Singapore’s buffet restaurant Starz has made way for Sessions. The space has been entirely renovated in blond and beige tones to suit the new “multi-concept dining destination”.
Sessions is envisioned as three musical interludes, with Sweet Sessions for all-day desserts, Crab Sessions for Singaporean and Louisiana seafood, and Cooking Sessions for hands-on classes.
The patisserie housing the Sweet Sessions greets guests at the entrance. Displays of Hershey syrup bottles and jars of sprinkles hint at what’s coming, and indeed the six signature desserts are designed to appeal to the young and very sweet-toothed.
Chocolate Balloon Melt ($18) arrived as a dome of chocolate housing orange chiffon, mango and ice cream, but looked a tad amateurish. The promised coconut melting sauce served from a teapot did not melt, perhaps due to the barely warm liquid. The Bingsu ($20) was generously studded with raindrop cake and brownie rocks, and crunchy toppings of savoury seaweed. We recommend the more straightforward choice of Signature Pancakes ($16), which is molasses griddle cake with peanut butter and caramel popcorn.
Over two visits, we also tried the Singapore and Louisiana menus. We took along our Cajun foodie friend for a taste of the New Orleans Bucket ($125, serves two to three) and unfortunately, the broth did not pass muster. The thin runny stock was strongly accented with Indian masala spices, giving the dish a clashing profile with the seafood. Rubbery mussels and clams didn’t bode well either, though the prawns and Sri Lanka mud crab were reasonably fresh. From the Louisiana small plates menu, the fresh and juicy Grilled Squid ($18) fared better. Wash your meal down with wine from the small selection, as the signature cocktail served in a bulb, Crush On You ($18) was overly syrupy.
Red Chilli Crab ($55, 600-700g) and Drunken Peel & Eat Prawns ($20) stood out from the local menu. The crab sauce was mildly tangy and would suffice as an introduction of the dish for the uninitiated. The traditional prawns poached in Hua Diao wine broth was served in a metal bucket, Louisiana style, which didn’t befit its clean, nourishing flavours.
Service is casual and chirpy, with smiling waitstaff who asked if we were tourists. They also gestured us to a self-service counter for water and chilli sauces, ranging from sriracha to Tabasco chipotle hot sauces. While Sessions is clearly trying to leave behind its origins as a buffet restaurant, the cuisine and the restaurant layout haven’t moved all that far away from a buffet-like experience. #02-261 to 264 Hard Rock Hotel Singapore, 26 Sentosa Gateway. Tel: 6577 6567.
Average dinner bill for two, with drinks: $240
Must-tries: Grilled Squid Louisiana-style, Signature Pancakes