I told myself that I would have to drop by House, Barracks & Camp to try out their revamped High Tea Buffet since I last visited the establishment to try out their latest main menu offerings. Despite its rather inaccessible location that is on Dempsey Hill, House, Barracks and Camp has always been crowded and especially with its widely acclaimed High Tea Buffet, the venue during the late afternoons on Thursdays and Fridays are just as packed as well.
The High Tea buffet spread has definitely went through many changes- there is a wider selection of dishes and many more savoury items are available now. The arrangement does seem to be a more elaborate affair as compared to what I experienced before and more attention is paid to the aesthetics of the buffet table, that was like a signal to all the patrons to start whipping out their phones and cameras to snap pictures of the delightful- looking spread.
The Roasted Tomato Soup set my benchmark for the day, it might have turned a little chilled but the sweet- sourish tanginess worked its magic on my tastebuds nonetheless and many liked how it was served in miniature cups that one could gulp down in just one mouthful. The Potato Salad Tart was indeed aesthetically pleasing but I was personally not all for the idea of pairing a pastry shell with sizeable chunks of potato- to me, it just did not go along well with one another and I would rather enjoy the Potato Salad on its own. The Louisiana Style Crab Cake, served atop nacho chips were not particularly easy to handle but the mess created was quite worth it; the snack impressed on its gratifying textures though more of the crustacean meat hidden within, would have been preferred.
The Vietnamese Rice Rolls were well- stuffed with fresh goodness, though it is a rather varied rendition as compared to those found in more authentic Vietnamese eateries. The Poached Octopus with Korean Salsa might be of an acquired taste to some, just a little raw I would say but I did quite like it. The Vegetarian Risoni with Stuffed Tomato was certainly gratifying with its rice grains cooked to the degree of al dente, especially when had together with the cheddar cheese.
The Assorted Artisan Bread came with a selection of accompaniments, such as Cheese with Olives, Wild Truffled Mushrooms and Beef Bolognese. The hit of aromatic fragrance from the Wild Truffled Mushrooms made it one of the more popular dishes on the table, for it to be paired with almost anything else. The Beef Bolognese was satisfyingly pungent, one that should be able to easily please anyone. I spotted many spreading their bread with these two over at their tables.
The Mini Beef Burgers were quite a hit with the crowd, though I thought that the patty could be a little more juicy and moist. I took much more pleasure in the the Chicken Sandwich, very tender and moist chicken slabs slotted in between and together with a couple of other vegetables that added crunch, it was no wonder that they vanished from the serving plates very quickly.
Assorted Skinny Pizzas were served as well, a signature selection at House, Barracks & Camp and the chain of Skinny Pizza outlets under the Spa Espirit Group. Not many were found on that day and a couple of us expected the more well- known items. The Halibut Pizza tasted decent while many of us preferred the Bolognese with Mozzarella Pizza, as mentioned earlier, the Beef Bolognese on its own, was utterly delicious with its full- bodied flavour and when had together with all the other ingredients on the pizza, it was indeed a very pleasurable gastronomical experience.
Many of my friends sang praises for the Lemon Citrus Loaf, the tinge of sourness worked perfectly flavour- wise while the pastry itself was compact and heavy. Cupcake fans should be contented with the range available, such as the Passion Cheese Cupcake and the Red Velvet Cupcakes which were for me, the more memorable ones.
I thought that the Panna Cotta was somewhat a tad too heavy on the palate and that it could have been more smooth texturally. The Citron Tart was a crowd pleaser as I caught several helping themselves to one after another. The Salted Caramel Macaron and the Dark Chocolate Macaron were clear winners on the dessert table and it was a pity that there were just a couple served as they vanished less than a minute when the wait staff placed them on the plate. I was quite surprised myself how well- executed they were since they were notoriously hard to perfect. The Bitter Chocolate Tarts were a joy to have, given how the delightful medley of bitter and sweet notes came together wonderfully.
The decadently sinful Brownies, topped with an additional layer of melted dark Chocolate, are indisputably a must- have. I would say these are worthy of throwing your diet plans out of the door (once in a while)- served moist and warm, the slabs of Brownies fared well in both the taste and textural department. The Blondies were finger- licking good too whereas the Pineapple Upside- Down was a little dry for me and I thought it could have been more tight- crumbed.
The Choco Caramel Banana Cake boasted a slight bitter sweet profile, getting all the elements right. The Carrot Cake did not make too much of an impression as I tasted more of the Cream cheese. I did not particularly fancy the Green Tea Cheesecake for the cheese mix was too intensely flavoured, so much so that it overwhelmed the other main highlight of the cake, that is the Green Tea.
Just a couple of misses here and there, the High Tea Buffet featured many other dishes and desserts that impressed just as much for the very affordable price paid. Set at $30.00++ per pax, one would most certainly have his or her stomach filled with the extensive range of comforting items that House, Barracks & Camp has to offer to its customers. While I would not say that the numbers served are as exquisite and fine as those found in the best patisseries or cafes, the selling point for House, Barracks & Camp’s High Tea Buffet is that it provides (almost) everything one would look forward to or crave for during an afternoon tea session and that the items are of a certain quality. This would clearly make it to my list of Favourite High Tea places in Singapore. The High Tea Buffet is only available on Thursdays and Fridays, from 3:00p.m. till 5:30p.m.
House, Barracks and Camp
8D Dempsey Road
Contact Number: 6475 7787
Operating Hours (Barracks):
Mondays till Fridays, 12.00pm to 3.00pm (Lunch), 3.00pm to 6.00pm (Tea)
Saturdays, 11.00am to 4.00pm (Brunch), 4.00pm till 6.00pm (Tea)
Sundays, 9.00am to 4.00pm (Brunch), 4.00pm till 6.00pm (Tea)
Mondays till Sundays, 6.00pm to 10.30pm (Dinner)