Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cherry Garden Part III

The choice of our team dinner was Cherry Garden, the flagship Chinese restaurant of Oriental Hotel. Having dined there twice before, I was more enamored by its intricately oriental design than the food (most unfortunately!). However, having said that, I was hopeful that Cherry Garden could/would spring a few surprises. After all, it did make it to the list of Singapore's Best Restaurants a couple of years back. A short disclaimer applies here as I didn't do the ordering nor did I have a chance to take a look at the set menu which we ordered, hence I am quite hazy about the exact names of the dishes.



Amuse Bouche

Honestly, the idea of serving an amuse bouche in a Chinese restaurant in Singapore is still relatively new and very few Chinese restaurants actually practice that. Anyways, the appetiser for the day was breaded cod fish with garlic, which boasted light and crisp (not to mention piping hot) batter that had the smooth texture of cod. Couldn't quite make out any distinctive cod fish taste though.



Shark's Fin Soup

The shark's fin soup had little slivers of fins swimming around in a nice, not too thick/rich broth. Doesn't say much about the quantity or quality does it?




Drunken Chicken & Wasabi Prawn

This dish had 2 parts - drunken chicken and wasabi prawn, both of equally minute portions. Personally I am not a proponent of alcohol laden chicken but Cherry Garden's rendition was quite good. Tender without an overwhelming presence of the Chinese rice wine. The wasabi prawn was fresh and coated with a nice crisp layer of batter sans an overwhelming wasabi taste. Very nice!



Chicken

A well executed dish with the chicken tender and juicy with a moderate splash of spiciness. It would have been better if each of us could have gotten something more substantial in size though.



Fish with Tofu

This dish was a little too salty for my liking and I could barely make out the taste of the fish, not with the amount of gravy that it was stir fried in. I appreciated the smoothness and silkiness of the tofu though and that was the sole redeeming factor, for me at least.



Seafood Fried Vermicelli

Plenty of seafood coupled with springy but a tad overly oily fried vermicelli made for a nice carbohydrate dish. However portions were ridiculously small and barely filled up one small rice bowl.



Lime Sorbet with Fresh Fruits

A feast for the eyes with its radiant colours but I can't say the same for the stomach. This was nothing beyond normal. I mean, how bad can a combination of fresh fruits and lime sorbet possibly get?

The total bill for the evening for 10 pax went close to $940, which included a couple of beers and soft drinks. Food quality was generally a little above average but portions were less than generous, especially for a $78/pax set dinner. For the record, I had to turn to a trusty old friend with pointy red shoes to fill my stomach after that.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:9/10
Service:8/10
Food:7/10
Value for money:6/10

Overall:7.5/10

Address: The Oriental Singapore, 5 Raffles Avenue

Contact: 68853538

Opening Hours:

Lunch:

12pm-2:30pm

Weekend Dim Sum Buffet:

11am-1pm (1st seating)

1:30pm-3pm (2nd seating)

Dinner:

6:30pm-10:30pm

Website: http://www.mandarinoriental.com/singapore/dining/cherry_garden/



The team

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Royal China V



A visit to an old friend, Royal China, one of the handful of dim sum places which have been rather consistent to date. To be honest, we were weary of Japanese food from our recent trip to Tokyo and needed a quick dim sum fix.



BBQ Combination

The quintessential dim sum starter - Roasted and BBQ Pork combination, served up in tiny portions on a large platter. The skin of the roast pork wasn't very crispy but at least the fats didn't overwhelm. A little heavy on the salt though. On the other hand, I thought that the BBQ pork was well executed with little edges of fat providing a nice chewy texture and not coming across as overly sweet.



Century Egg Congee

Not a big fan or century egg so no comments really. I liked the crispy crackers atop though.



Chee Cheong Fun

1 roll of BBQ pork, 1 roll of prawn, 1 roll of scallops - the best of three worlds. Thin, semi translucent skin coupled with delectable fillings. What more can I ask for? Best eaten when hot though as the skin will turn slightly rigid when cold.



Prawn Dumpling

Fresh and crunchy prawns enveloped in a thin elastic skin. A little too oily though. Another best eaten when hot dish.



XO Carrot Cake

Surprisingly the XO carrot cake wasn't half as bad as I expected it to be, given that I haven't had very good experiences with XO carrot cakes in general to date. The ever important wok hei was present but the carrot cakes didn't come across as very smooth. And the addition of chilli padi ensured that things didn't get woozy after a while.



Pork Dumpling

I couldn't quite make out the taste of wolfberries even though I spied a couple on top of the siew mai. What was distinctive though, was the taste of prawn, which I personally prefer over fatty meat, which was conspicuously missing from this dish. In its place was relatively lean meat; a relief for the health conscious folks.



BBQ Pork Bun

Served piping hot, the char siew bao was soft and fluffy to a fault. Filled with oozing, semi coagulated BBQ pork filling, it made for a nice flour laden snack. Good for suppressing those hunger pangs.



BBQ Pork Puff

Now the char siew filling for the BBQ Pork Puff aka Char Siew Sou was a little too sweet for my liking. Add to the fact that the pastry, though flaky, lacked the buttery taste that I personally prefer. Not impressive but very palatable.



Egg Tart

Bite sized and flaky, the egg tart was a nice mouthful without being overly sweet. However I still personally prefer a more buttery pastry. Decent nonetheless.



Bill

76 bucks for a dim sum lunch for 2 seems to hover around the average dim sum pricing at restaurants nowadays. However Royal China's standard seems to have dropped a notch. Or have I been spoiled by the delectable cuisine Tokyo has to offer? I guess I'll know pretty soon ;)



Final Verdict:
Ambience:7.5/10
Service:7/10
Food:7/10
Value for money:6.5/10

Overall:7/10

Address: #03-09 Raffles Hotel Arcade

Contact: 63383363

Opening Hours:

Lunch
Monday to Saturday - 12.00 noon to 3.00 pm
Sunday and Public Holiday - 11.00 am to 2.00 pm

Dinner
Daily - 6.00 pm to 10.30 pm

Website: http://www.raffles.com/EN_RA/Property/RHS/Restaurants_Bars/Royal_China_at_Raffles.htm

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tokyo - Other Eats

Fuji




First Kitchen




Pierre Herme @ Isetan Shinjuku




Sadaharu Aoki @ Isetan Shinjuku



MacDonalds



Mos Burger




Hirugao Ramen @ Tokyo Station Ramen Street (They specialise in Shio Ramen)




Krispy Kreme @ Shinjuku




Mr Bean @ Shibuya Station



Lotteria (They have a burger with 10 beef patties!)




Yoshinoya




Other Eats








This rounds up my Japan trip if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop me a note here.