Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Situated in a really pretty and classy hotel, Cherry Garden is really a nice hang out place on a public holiday afternoon. Its entrance is quite ‘grand’ with old city doors greeting you and it is carpeted with cherry blossoms imprints. Very pretty and tranquil restaurant. Old classics were also played during your meal which brings you back to Singapore in the 80s. Wanted to go for ala carte dim sum but only the buffet is served on weekends and public holidays. They have 2 seatings, one at 11am to 1pm and the 2nd one from 1.30pm to 3.30pm.
Abalone Siu Mai. I guess this is a must order as it’s my first time having abalone siu mai! It doesn’t taste super exciting and I felt that I was having abalone and siu mai. Nonetheless, abalone is springy and fresh while siew mai consists of succulent prawns in it. This is another addition to the ‘high class’ siu mai I had before, the first one being scallop siu mai which I prefer more actually as the textures of the scallop and prawns are more similar to each other.
Honey glazed kurobuta (black pig) char siew and duck smoked in cherry wood. Char siew is tender and moist and the honey sauce makes it fragrant. But there was a thin layer of fats below the chunk of lean meat which I had to constantly keep removing. But I’m sure this will not bother most people, especially those who prefers a little fats with their lean meat as this will make the char siew more tender. The roast duck is tender too and I like its skin as it is crispy, just like the one served at Pearl Liang London. However, there was a little too much skin than meat in one serving. Would appreciate it better if bigger chunks of duck meat was served. Nevertheless, it is a buffet and you can order more if you want more meat.
Prawn and avocado wrapped in fried beancurd skin. Crispy beancurd skin that doesn’t feel oily to the lips and I like that. There is one slice of slippery and soft avocado in it and that adds a soothing texture to this common dish.
Bamboo pith and prawn dumplings coated with gold powder. The gold powder definitely makes this snack looks much nicer but I was more surprised by the prawns used as I think there were two prawns used in each har gao. Each bite feels much more satisfying than the usual har gao you get outside.
Have forgotten what is this called but it has mushroom, carrots and taste really good. Slippery yet not goo-ey and really soothing texture. The combination of fillings were also delicious and not complicated.
Steamed conpoy dumplings with dried scallops and shrimp. Again the skin was really well made and just of the right thickness and consistency. Ingredients are of course fresh and brightly coloured which makes it look more appealing. Together with the crystal skin, this dumpling is simply yums!
Crispy wasabi prawns with mango and fish roe. Love this dish as the mango went really well with the lightly fried wasabi prawns. Not oily yet still crispy. The mango has successfully made it really refreshing and you could really taste the mango. Different from other restaurants which will just use mango cubes, Cherry Garden coats the prawns with light mango sauce or puree.
Cod fillet and spinach tofu. Tofu was silky and slippery and Cod was fresh and the meat falls off in big chunks. This dish is nice but I thought there was a little too much sauce and I prefer the cod not fried in batter first as this will make it less oily.
Quite impressed by this chicken feet actually. I think I can say that it isn’t oily as I don’t see a thick layer of oil floating above the sauce which is a common thing you get in most restaurants. Despite it being less oily, it is still as tasty or maybe I think a little better than most.
Yang zhi gan lou with lime sorbet. My first time having it with lime sorbet. Think the chef was trying to make this dessert refreshing by using lime sorbet but thought mango sago should just remain as it is, sweet. Vanilla ice cream could be used instead to further enhance the taste of mango puree. Felt that the sour lime sorbet clashes with that of the sweet mango puree.
Black bean pudding with sesame ice cream. My favourite dessert today. The green puree goes really well with the soft and silky pudding underneath and the sesame ice cream makes this otherwise just sweet dessert fragrant.
Cherry garden definitely serves plush, good and interesting dim sum. But whether it’s worth the price tag of $68++ per person is really subjective. If you are one who doesn’t mind paying more for good food and good service, then cherry garden will be the place for you as you will always have someone promptly refilling your tea. They have waiters and waitresses stationed at different parts of the restaurant. In my opinion, an occasional splurge would justify a visit to cherry garden but if you want to have good dim sum priced reasonably, then it’s better to visit them on weekdays when they do not have dim sum buffet. Finds it a pity that they do not have ala carte dim sum on weekends and public holidays as I am usually just willing to pay up to $40 for dim sum. Of course, the dim sum here isn’t the usual fare you get outside if we were to talk about presentation, taste and creativity. Despite it being expensive, this place is still worth a visit.