Many Singaporeans are familiar with buffets but how about a South American themed buffet? The sister outlet of La Barra, The Latin Quarter has recently opened at Science Park, serving authentic Latin American cuisine at only $13.90 nett.Being a chickpea fan, I was very happy to spot this ingredient in some dishes here. For example, the versatile bean is tossed into the Ensalada de Garbanzos (salad on the right), together with tomatoes and avocado. Alternatively, the Fresh Salad (left), dominated by cucumbers in yoghurt & chipotle dressing, looks simple but the innocent red onions would surely leave you with a dragon breath.
Out of the three mains, my favourite was the Brazilian Fish Stew. The fish simmered in an aromatic gravy of coconut milk and spices, turned out to be smooth,gloopy and fresh. It was creamy rather than spicy, but packed more character than the Chicken in Coconut Milk(below)
Would not it be strange if there were no rice to go along with the hearty stews? Besides the familiar white and yellow rice (top pic), the Mexican-spiced tomato rice (above) is something more unique and tasty . But the uneven cooking resulted in some grains being stickier and clumped together.
Another emblematic Colombian dish which I would recommend is the Red Beans with pig trotters. No visible traces of pig trotters as they have been cooked down for long hours. Though I doubt green bananas were added to this dish as called for in some recipes, the beans stew were vaguely sweet and just cooked till the right softness.
The combination of corn and ginger might sound odd but surprisingly worked for this Corn soup with ginger piccadillo. Mildly sweet with gritty corn and ginger mince that was not overwhelming fiery. The crunchy black beans were my personal add-on from the selection of condiments that include sour cream, green chilli and cheese.
Among the sides, those with heavier taste preferences may find the Egg & Potato Tortilla slightly bland but salt & pepper have been stationed by the side for diners to add accordingly.
Don't be deceive by the dull-looking deep fried yellow potatoes called Papas Criollas as their skins were well salted with soft roasted insides. Hard-core French fries lovers might be unconvinced but these small buttery balls tasted better than fries to me and they were not oil-laden.
I also enjoyed the Yucas Fritas, deep-fried cassava, boasts crunchy and airy texture despite the fact that Cassava were actually fibrous tapioca-lookalike roots. They were nothing near starchy nor greasy, and should make a great snack with some beer.
|Add extra $2 for Pura Fruit Shakes (usual $4.50) with flavours including Soursop, Blackberry and Lulo- a native fruit in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru|
Speaking of beer (though its bright day-time and you do not mind returning to office half-sober), they have Colombian lagers such as Aguila and 12 international selections of wine. Otherwise, I think the Latin American fruit shakes here might be a healthier and even more economical choice.
|Selection of Colombian Coffee made from renowned Juan Valdez brand|
As a dessert lover, I wished there were more dessert items in future. Nonetheless, the Mango Yoghurt Parfait provided a sweet and tangy ending to the meal. Since their menu changed weekly, you are in luck if you get to try the Tres Leches, a very classic Mexican cake soaked in 3 milks :sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream.
For those who prefer to enjoy lunch within the comforts of your office/house or in front of computer, choose from the buffet selection and pack them into bento box for only $7.90 nett.
Overall, this buffet serves up quality food that would easily keep the hungry stomachs of office workers and students full and satisfied. The location at Science Park may not be very accessible but at $13.90, this is perhaps one of the best fuss-free lunch deals that offer variety. With the menu changing weekly and rotating every 2-3 months, it is no wonder that they are already attracting customers who are returning regularly to check out their new food.
Thank you Sera and Kelvin from Little Colombia for your gracious invite and hosting!
The Latin Quarter
87 Science Park Drive #02-02, Science Hub
(Nearest MRT : Kent Ridge/Buona Vista)
(buffet ends at 3pm and hi-tea menu from 3-5pm will be introduced soon)