Monday, July 27, 2009

Cherry Garden - Kurobuta Charsiewpaus

Charsiewpaus and ramen are the only 2 reasons why I still eat pork. Even though I don't quite like pork in its original form (even though I seem to order alot of pork dishes when I go out, I much prefer chicken - which isn't worth it ordering outside unless its very special). I'm reminded of the sad day a few months ago when I was so desperate for charsiewpau (and very hungry after standing the whole morning) that I ate the 'open flower top' charsiewpau from Kopitiam (big mistake) and was very dissappointed (so much for hunger being the best medicine - if the food sucks, even though I'm hungry, it'll still taste sucky to me. Maybe I'm not hungry enough?)

Was looking around for a good dim sum buffet during the weekend - we initially decided on Jade @ the Fullerton, but unfortunately, it was booked full till October. Drats - everyone's so quick:/ My friend decided on Cherry Garden -should have some standard since it's a hotel.
We arrived at the restaurant in a flurry (cos we were 20min late - precious time ticking before the 2nd seating!) We were ushered to our table and given menus and hot tea. Once we were ready to order, a waiter came over and asked if we would like any recommendations. So most of the food we had in the first round were his recommendations. The prices in brackets denote the ala carte pricing.
Assorted Dian Xin: From Back row, left to right ($4.80/3 pieces)
Scallop and Spinach Crystal Dumplings
Steamed Dumplings with Shrimps, Crabmeat and Waterchestnuts
Truffle Essence Crystal Dumplings stuffed with Assorted Fresh Mushrooms
Steamed Juicy Pork Dumplings (Xiao Long Pau)
Steamed Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gau)

The truffle essence crystal dumplings were my favourite dian xin (other than the charsiewpau). The skin is very thin, translucent and it's filled with mushrooms and the delicious aroma of truffle oil. I ordered 4 of these to eat by myself.
The rest of the dian xin were ok - but the truffle ones were the best.
We also had the Steamed Mini Abalone "Siew Mai" with Pork and Mushrooms, which I didn't get a picture of cos I was busy eating and forgot. It's just a normalish siew mai with a piece of abalone on top.
The highly anticipated kurobuta char siew pau. ($5.80 for 3 pieces)
I think that the Char Siew Pau is delicious - I like paus which has the 'open flower' top - meaning that the top part of the pau cracks open during steaming. The pau skin is slightly sweetish, very fluffy, soft and chewy, and the char siew filling is very soft, not fatty, and drenched with the reddish brown sweet char siew sauce. Personally, I think that the kurobuta part is more psychological - the filling is very tender but I don't think that I would notice if they didn't use kurobuta pork, because the char siew is all chopped up. Granted, it is more tender than usual, but if you did a blinded test I probably won't be able to tell the difference.
I think I might come back to eat the kurobuta charsiewpau only when I have a mega big charsiewpau craving. It's pretty reasonable since it tastes really good - especially the pau skin. Crispy Wasabi-Aioli Prawns topped with Fresh Mango
The wasabi prawns were the first dish we had - very crispy on the outside and juicy in the inside. The wasabi mayonnaise wasn't hot at all - I really dislike it when the wasabi shoots up my nose and makes my eyes water.
Wok fried kurobuta pork with pistachio and asparagus in supreme soya wine sauce ($22)
The kurobuta pork was extremely juicy, not fatty at all and very tender. I didn't find the sauce very impressive - tastes quite normal, something like the usual Chinese pork rib sauce.
Cherry Wood Charcoal Roasted Duck ($22)
I'm not a big fan of roasted meats, and I found the duck very bony. Other than that, I can't really remember much about this dish.
Steamed Fish Fillet with Silken Tofu in Black Bean Sauce ($18)
The fish was very fresh, and the tofu was smooth and had a very strong taste of soyabeans.
Crispy-fried Eggplant stuffed Spicy Scallop "Otah" ($4.80/3pieces)
Crispy Rice Turnover stuffed with Shrimp, Apple and Mango ($4.80/3 pieces)I can't remember what kind of soup this is, but if I remember correctly, it's one of the more expensive soups on the menu (cos since I'm there for buffet, must as well try a more expensive soup right?) It was pretty good and came with a wanton and a piece of mushroom. Not that I'm a big fan of soups, just wanted to try cos the other people at my table also ordered soups.
Cream of Avocado served with Walnut Ice Cream ($8)
The highlight of my buffet - I wasn't very full by the time they reached 'last order' at 1.30pm so I ordered more desserts to try. The avocado cream was more watery than creamy, though I liked the strong avocado taste, and the walnut ice cream.
Chilled Cream of Mango with Sago Pearls, Pomelo and Lime Sorbet ($8)
The mango cream wasn't very spectacular - not bad but I've tasted better ones. I didn't like the lime sorbet cos it was very sour and I generally don't like lime with my food.
Chilled Sour Plum Crystal Jelly with Sliced Guava ($8)
This was very salty - it really has an extremely strong sour plum taste, and was super sour and unpalatable. I didn't finish it. The guava is the preserved kind - very leathery and sour too! If I had ordered this in an ala carte order, I'll be mighty upset because it's $8 and tastes terrible. I left >90% of it cos I just couldn't swallow it.
I also ordered the Warm Soya Bean Milk with Tremella Mushrooms and Glutinous Rice Dumpling($8). The "Tremella Mushrooms" are white fungus (I think - not familiar with all these herby things). The soya bean milk was tasted very fresh. I was very full so I gave away my rice dumpling. Actually, I don't know why this was $8. I'll never pay $8 for this kind of desesrt. Maybe it's because it's a hotel? Just as well that I'm eating a buffet :p

Cherry Garden has two seatings for it's lunch buffet - from 11-1.30, and 1.30 to 3 (if I'm not wrong - I went for the first seating). I don't see why they have two seatings, since they're really very empty. I felt very rushed because even before I was done ordering, the waitress came around and announced that it was the last order. No time to digest my food and eat slowly and savour every bite.

I think that the food quality is really good, just that there's not enough time to enjoy the food. And you'll definitely eat your money's worth because all the dishes are so ridiculously expensive - just that I'll never ever pay the overinflated ala carte price. Being a hotel, their service was great - tea refilled every time, and they're really quick to take your order.
(Blogger isn't letting me upload photos!!! I'll be giving it 3.5 stars)

Altogether, we paid $156 nett for 3 people. V steep don't think I'll do it again since it was so rushed. Maybe I should really call up Jade and make a reservation now... If you're planning to dine at Cherry Garden, you have to let the valet park your car - they don't do car park redemption if you park anywhere else (I, unfortunately parked at Marina Square).

Cherry Garden
5 Raffles Avenue
5F Mandarin Oriental
Tel: 6885 3538

1 comment:

ladyironchef said...

the kurobuta char siew bao was omg, so good right! :)