Nanjing Impressions – Pretty deep impressions made

Nanjing Impressions

Plaza Singapura at Dhoby Ghaut

img_0164Very Chinese looking, especially so with those lanterns hanging there that actually form the entire menu, Nanjing Impressions does feel like an old quaint restaurant by a random Chinese river. Ambiance worked and the food did leave a pretty good impression on us. Always going for the more familiar and fragrant Cantonese style (or at least it is in my opinion); that has also formed the benchmark when it comes to oriental cuisine even though I know that there’s many different types of cooking all across massive China. And I say, this is a Chinese restaurant that I actually appreciate. The fragrance is there and the food doesn’t feel coarse (an attribute I always associate with Chinese food) which made everything more palatable, but just slightly heavy handed on the grease there.

img_0169Sesame scented beancurd Julienne. $11.80.img_0172Jinling noodles in light soy sauce broth. $6.80.

img_0168Jinling roast duck – $32. That crispy skin was on point and the sauce it was drenched in was marvellous.

img_0176Palace Chicken with pickled chilli. $13.80. Prepared in a very beautiful bowl indeed and that crispy chicken skin together with the tender meat underneath was flavoured up greatly by the light spicy kick.img_0177Shrimp Roe Custard with scallions. This was however a little mediocre for us. $10.80.img_0173Loving those Celestial Roast duck dumplings over there as they were huge, packed solidly with duck meat fillings soaked in an intense duck broth. $6.80.img_0179The savoury for the night!img_0181Osmanthus steamed sponge. Very chewy, dense, solid, perfumed with that Osmanthus fragrance throughout; this has become the favourite dessert dish over there. $4.80.img_0182Red Bean glutinous rice balls in Sweet Wine. $4.80. Wine in my dessert? Bring it on and yes indeed you could taste that alcohol in it!

Verdict: A good restaurant. 3.8/5.

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Tai Cheung – So fun without the queue

Tai Cheung

Near Holland Village MRT

img_0290That’s it, we finally got the the famous Tai Cheung Bakery cafe that has attracted a huge beeline when they first open few months ago. Not anywhere else, but here in Sg the first cafe is opened in, is perhaps something we have already heard for the nth time. But this is somehow the reason that this bakery is getting all the attention! Got there at 12pm and was a little peeved as I was afraid that it might be a grueling 30min wait in the hot weather but were lucky to just have one patron in front, that makes it a very fast 10min wait to get an air conditioned seat. Beautiful egg tart counter outside that are selling exactly like hot tarts and I could hear quite a few different languages from the queue (Japanese definitely who are by birth foodies), that’s how international this awesome egg tart has gone!

img_0327Two of us indeed, but three mains were ordered! Started off with the scrambled egg toast stack with chicken chop and that chop seemed to be panting with a bulky mash of scrambled above it. Of the right consistency but could be slightly light handed on the butter for some, this was adequate for me as I am for a healthier scrambled toast anytime! And that chicken chop was fried to that beautiful crisp! $9.50.

img_0325This Beef Brisket Curry Rice may seem a little stingy, with a meagre amount of beef cubes in it only. While the plating might have done injustices to it, the curry was definitely impeccable with its thicker sauce that tasted so fragrant and intense. Fried wedges added and the shallots added helped to lift the flavour further. It could be served in a smaller bowl for a fuller look I thought. $10.++.

img_0329And the final savoury – Three coloured silky eggs with rice and char siew and crispy pork belly. Three different kinds of egg used here to yield that eggy experience, I felt this a hearty main actually while the colours and textures seemed to have been worked on by the kitchen team!

img_0332img_0333And what other way to end the meal perfectly but with the Tai Cheung egg tarts! So buttery, eggy and fragrant, they are indeed worthy of the calories! $1.90 for one.

A quick lunch over here, as you also start to notice it operating it in a Cantonese way, with dap teui (sharing of tables) becoming prevalent but service is still Singaporean, not as rushed! Then again, this is what that gives it a more Hong Kong-ish experience that we love that!

 

Paradise Classic – Very impressive chain, at least for this branch!

Paradise Classic

Suntec City near Promenade MRT

img_0154Rarely do I blog about chains, but this Paradise one, did impress us by a substantial margin, that beckons a review on the blog. Firstly, the price point over here at Paradise Classic is very reasonable, with hearty servings mostly priced under $15 but most importantly, a reason that makes the foodie gives the thumbs up is that this did not translate into greasy cooking just so that the excessive oil can lift the flavour of the dishes (though not exactly in a desirable manner always). And that spread above for both of us, it only costs us $36 each!

img_0146What a vibrant red dish! The fragrance of this dish, tomato scrambled egg, was etched in my memory ever since I tried the rendition prepared by the Hong Kong friend in London few years ago. Beautifully done scrambled with a lightly creamy consistency, they are coated with a sweet sour tomato-ish body that greatly lifted its fragrance. Really enjoyed this a lot! $8.80.

img_0148It wasn’t an expensive soup of the day, but at $6.80, this was really a steal as the flavourful broth was made tasty with a generous amount of ingredients in it; pork, fish maw, cabbage; and it actually tasted a little like a small bowl of the typical CNY steamboat!

img_0150And as we waited with much anticipation for the espresso chicken, this became the most favourite dish of the day. Fried first before coating each chunk with the coffee sauce, that crispy skin tasted so awesome that today became a cheat day for me. This is beautifully glazed with a light layer of caramel while that sharp bitterness of the espresso came through strongly. Delish! $13.80.

img_0151Prepared with a large amount of dried shrimp, chilli and spices, the gan xiang fish collar was heavy tasting, packed with lots of wok hei but unfortunately a tad greasy. Still as yummy in its own right though! $16.80.

img_0147And we ended with this refined plate of seafood fried rice as every rice grain has been coated heavenly with an eggy seafoody fragrance which both of us love. More importantly, there wasn’t a layer of visible grease after the entire plate was emptied. $13.80.

A small lunch over here at Paradise Classic, but a big statement it has already made with just a few dishes – that this is definitely a worthy restaurant to visit for a hearty Cantonese meal.

Verdict: An excellent restaurant. 4.5/5.

Jiang Nan Chun – what a comeback after a major revamp!

Jiang Nan Chun

Near Orchard MRT

img_9410My second time to Jiang Nan Chun, but my first officially after its revamp and the first impression after we sat down comfortably – Jiang Nan Chun has stepped her game up ambitiously compared to its previous outlook. Strong air conditioning (that’s an important criterion for me), with queer bird caged lights dangling above us that accentuated the sleek, modern interior decor yet not having any oriental elements compromised at all, and the intricate details paid to the table lightings are evident too, which enable a greater sense of privacy for each group, all these perfectly befitting the description of a Cantonese fine dining.

img_9411Decor second, food first the picky foodie folks have always reckoned, and this time round the quality of food here has skyrocketed as I vividly remembered how unimpressed we were the first time we were here. Nailed every dish so confidently this time round, I suspect there might be a change in the head chef together with the revamp. The soup of the day, boiled with luohan, pork ribs, chicken and some uncommon herbs, was definitely a refined and cultured bowl that has all the flavours so spot on and intense. $12 for the soup.

img_9407Steamed Shrimp Dumpling with mushroom – This could by far, be the best har gao I have had. Surpassing many of the good hotel restaurants, what made this outstanding was not just the substantial amount of beautifully textured crunchy prawns stuffed within as that is expected for the better hotel standards, but also the mushrooms added to it that gave it an extra moist consistency. Very delicious Har Gao over here that made us wanted to order another basket. $7.50. And, you could get all dim sum individually as you are not restricted to ordering a minimum of three.

img_9415Steamed Pork Dumpling with Scallop – Rotund crunchy dollop with fresh scallops in it. $7.50.

img_9413Cantonese Sponge Cake – So fluffy, perfectly perforated and fraganted, this has the perfect consistency again without a dismaying collapse. $4.

img_9408Stir fry carrot cake in XO sauce – Rightly spiced, well fragranted with the XO sauce that made the folks appreciate this carrot cake thoroughly. $10.

img_9406Crispy Flaky Pastry with Black Pepper Beef – Beautiful flaky skin with moist lightly peppery beef in it. Delish! $9.

img_9416Roast Duck – Very tender meat underneath with a blanket of crispy, fragrant skin; the kind that is reminiscent of those quality duck served at Michelin Starred Hakkasan.

img_9419Poached Chicken in Soya Sauce. $18.

img_9417Seafood Fried rice with XO chilli sauce – Neatly chopped prawns, scallops, greens with fried rice, made so uniformly and decadently fragrant by spicing it up with the haughty delicious XO chilli sauce. $24.

img_9420Fish noodle soup with Shrimp dumpling – This may look like an ordinary bowl of wanton noodles but no way is it any simple as that noodle isn’t just flour but has been evenly mixed with fish paste, that gives it a special bite. What a special surprise we got from this bowl of seemingly humble noodles. $14.

img_9427Moving on to their desserts, this felt very Hakkasan styled as the waitress mentioned that there’s a western dessert kitchen, that has a menu that I am very looking forward to trying!

img_9423Szechuan Peppered spiced Manjari Chocolate with Kumquat Compote. Highly contrasting in flavours between the choc and kumquat to yield that balance, I was very much excited by that bitter dark chocolate that has been punctuated exhilaratingly with the sichuan pepper. So thick, decadent, bold yet delicious! $14.

img_9426Papaya custard pastry and strawberry mochi – Deliciously smooth and definitely the better oriental dessert we could have. $14.

img_9425Egg Yolk push with flowy Almond in it – Very innovative that it felt like this explosive ball is filled with piping hot and thick xin ren hu. $12.

A very fun experience, all enabled by the bold culinary ideas and techniques from the head chef at Jiang Nan Chun and after much discussion with the miss foodie, we felt they might be working towards that star. Truly deserving of one next year I feel!

Verdict: An excellent restaurant. 4.5/5.

 

 

Treasures Yi Dian Xin by Imperial Treasure – Delish, but more for couples

Treasures Yi Dian Xin by Imperial Treasure

Paragon Shopping mall near Orchard MRT

IMG_8237.JPGYi Dian Xin, simply decorated, but apparently resembling a more upmarket cha can ting with their pristine white walls and flooring, this should be a dim sum meant for a good family gathering I thought initially but Yi Dian Xin somehow has employed a slightly different concept as all or most of their dim sum is served in pairs, more suitable for couples or even numbered groups. Nevertheless, all the dim sum randomly ordered were actually surprisingly on point, defying the stigma that most chain restaurants hold.

IMG_8232Treasure’s signature noodle with pig shank, beef brisket, wanton and shrimp dumpling. This is an easy order as it embodies the essence of Hong Kong soup noodles by dumping all the popular ingredients in. Crunchy rotund wanton we have, together with the super tender beef shank and gooey beef brisket, this is perfected by the springy egg noodles soaked in that intense yummy broth! $10.80.

IMG_8236Sliced charcoal grilled pork collar. Grilled to a light charred fragrance, these slices of tender pork collar were pretty well marbled and what makes it a winner is that beautiful honey glaze that the slab is coated in. So good! $8.

IMG_8235Stuffed prawn in crispy wrap with wasabi in Mayonnaise Dip. Where’s the dip we asked and the waitress told us it has been stuffed lightly in the wraps already. So crispy the outer perforated layer is and not only does the texture sets this apart from most other predictable ones, the prawns are also beaming with strong flavours there, that really doesn’t not shine even if the wasabi is amiss. $4.80.

IMG_8238Steamed Crispy Rice roll with shrimp. How not to be sold when my favourite dish is made impeccable here. Wrapped in that slithery cheung fen, the plump crispy layer was substantially stuffed with crunchy fresh prawns. Only filled with regrets if this is conveniently missed. $7.80.

IMG_8234Deep fried Porcupine bun with red bean paste. Very brittle crust there that is slightly dusted with a lightly sweet glaze, further complementing the smooth red bean paste in it. Very delicious! $4.20.

IMG_8239Steamed barbecue pork bun. It may sound very common, but this might be one of the fluffiest that I’ve had while that really tender char siu within is legit. $3.20.

While service is rushed as there is a perpetual queue, dim sum served over here remains refined and is really spot on that I am already planning for a return soon.

Verdict: An excellent restaurant. 4.5/5.