Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Taste Paradise



Had dinner at taste Paradise, an upmarket offering by the Paradise Group of Restaurants, which also owns and operates the popular Seafood Paradise at Defu Lane and the Singapore Flyer. Opened less than 2 years ago, it has made it to the Straits Times top 100 restaurants as well as garnered rave reviews from magazines and forums.





Exterior & Interior

Hidden along a row of shophouses along Mosque Street in the traditional Chinatown area, Taste paradise sets itself apart with its classy glass facade. Through the doors onto the lighted walkway that leads up to the dining area, the interior oozes chic in a very subtle way. The dining area is divided into a few sections by means of partitions in which there are a couple of tables and a captain to oversee each section. Heavily carpeted floors coupled with a low ceiling and a rather limited floor area meant that conversation tones had to be kept to a low for fear of disturbing the other customers (not that we did though).



Appetiser



XO Carrot Cake

One of Taste Paradise's signature dishes, the humble XO carrot cake. It honestly wasn't impressive when served, looking more like your usual stir fried rendition from the hawker centre than a $7 plate of carrot cake. But pop a piece into your mouth and you will understand why it is truly one of the signature dishes. Chunky yet smooth and soft carrot cake with a discernible wok hei taste fried with beansprouts, egg, Chinese sausages and other condiments. Lightly spicy and sweet and not to mention fragrant. Nothing short of excellent.




Combination of Pan Seared Foie Gras, Wasabi Mayonnaise Prawn and Slice of Beijing Duck with Condiments

I was actually wondering how did foie gras get onto the menu and initially skeptical if a Chinese restaurant could pull it off. Just for the record, Taste Paradise is a Chinese fusion restaurant, which explains why foie gras is listed on the menu. As for my initial skepticisms, they were unfounded. The foie gras was very good, crisp on the outside yet soft, quivery and smooth on the inside. No overwhelming taste or sediments.
The wasabi mayonnaise prawn was quite good as well, with the wasabi not overpowering and the prawns fresh and crunchy. I personally liked it together with the watermelon as the sweetness from the watermelon permeated through.
The only bummer was the peking duck which didn't seem memorable. Sure the skin was crispy but the crepe tasted bland and limp.



Double Boiled Superior Shark's Fin with Dried Conpoy in Traditional Beijing Broth accompanied with Bacon Onion Roll

Another recommended dish, the shark's fin soup, was served up in a pre heated Japanese stone pot which can remain hot for 20 minutes, thus ensuring that the soup remains hot till the last drop. The fins were decent and plentiful while the soup was flavourful and thick. A little too starchy and heavy on the vinegar though, which made it a little sharp. The bacon and onion roll was crispy but other than the novelty, didn't seem to complement the dish very well. On a side note, there are 3 variations in prices for the shark's fin. $38, $58 and $68 (which isn't on the menu). You get what you pay for. The quality of the fins improve as the prices tend upwards.



Braised Homemade Beancurd with Shredded Scallop and Japanese Mushroom

Tofu has always been a staple at most of my Chinese dinners and this one was no exception. The tofu was very smooth and silky but the skin was a tad too hard and it lacked the smokey savoury taste that I personally like. Even the sauce was rather bland. And for $6 a person, it was 1 piece of tofu each.



Spinach Fried with Garlic

The low point of our meal, the quintessential vegetable dish. Very average tasting but at least the diced garlic was fried till golden brown, which gave the vegetables a nice slightly crunchy texture.



Szechuan Style Roasted Chicken with Homemade Crispy Crumbs

We ordered this on the recommendation of the captain and also because it sounded interesting. Honestly the only interesting part was the crispy crumbs, which I believe were rice crisps. They were coated with a Szechuan sauce which gave them a myriad of flavours - sweet, sour and spicy, all in one tasting. The roasted chicken didn't taste out of the ordinary but the execution was commendable. Crispy skin with moist and tender meat.



Desserts

My dining companions had the above desserts and I didn't get to try any of them so I am in no position to comment. They came complimentary of the captain though.



Mashed Taro with Almond Cream Served in Fresh Coconut

My dessert and no, it wasn't complimentary (only chilled desserts were accorded that privilege). Its the first time I've seen mashed taro or Orh Nee served up in a coconut and predictably, the coconut smell was very strong. Not that it mattered anyway as there wasn't a hint of coconut taste in both the almond cream and mashed taro. I usually don't like almond cream but this one wasn't too strong on the almond taste which suited me just fine. The mashed taro was smooth and not too sweet but more interestingly, it contained bits of chestnut, which added a nice crunchy texture and is used predominantly used in Teochew cooking. The only gripe was that the taro was a little too sticky and I had problems licking if off my spoon. Oh and there's the almost exorbitant price as well ($6.50).



Bill

An excellent dinner for 5 set us back by about $454, which is really quite steep. However I'll be the first to admit that food quality is top notch and so is the personalised service extended by the captain and his team. I can see why Taste Paradise is rated as one of the top restaurants in Singapore. And I agree.



Likes: Excellent food, excellent service
Dislikes: Rather pricey

Final Verdict:
Ambience:8/10
Service:8.5/10
Food:8.5/10
Value for money:6/10

Overall:7.75/10

Address: 48 - 49, Mosque Street

Contact: 6226 2959

Opening Hours:

Lunch
12pm - 3pm (last order 2.30pm)

Dinner
6pm - 11pm (Monday to Thursday)
6pm - till late (Friday & Saturday)
last order at 10.30pm

Website: http://www.tasteparadise.com.sg/

2 comments:

JOjo said...

This is like chinese fine dining =)
Doubt i'll get to try this restaurant with a student's budget =p

fatpig said...

Yes its really fine dining. I'm still feeling the pain from the price :p