immensely enjoyable and very good dimsum at the horribly confusing marina bay link mall. I’ve jumpstarted this post and pushed it all the way to the front of the queue because it was, for one, a fantastic lunch – and the best dimsum meal I’ve had in a while – and second, this was a family luncheon for new year’s eve.
this is almost definitely going to be a long post, but in short, the food was great – classics done very well, and just enough twists here and there to show off the skill of the kitchen.
we had many dishes, and traversed most of the dimsum menu, but I’m going to tell you about the ones that really made the meal for us. we started off with a baked snow bun with honey pork – essentially a charsiu bun with a cookie-lattice top, also known as bolo pau. the filling was moist and generous, the sauce savoury, and the cookie lattice on the right side of sweet atop a fluffy bun. fantastic. we also ordered the steamed charsiu buns, which had the same filling (I think) – generous with the pork, with a judicious smear of sauce and a fluffy bun – and while both were good, I’d say the steamed one is less stodgy because it has less of a sweet profile.
I have a weakness for jellyfish, and so of course I ordered it when I saw it on the menu – I even order it when it’s not on the menu. this rendition had crunchy prawns, squid rings and extremely crunchy jellyfish pieces, as well as cucumber matchsticks in a soya-sauce-based sauce with garlic and chilli. this was gorgeous – we ordered another serving right after finishing the first.
I must bore you already with my expositions on the liushabao, or salted yolk custard bun, so I’ll keep this short: best salted yolk custard bun I’ve ever had. generous, exploding filling in a thin skin, it was ethereal (and in general I consider the paradise group’s custard buns the best – and this beat the ones at canton paradise and taste paradise).
the following dishes included the fried white fish with salt and pepper was topped with crispy garlic bits, and really good – different from the standard puny whitebait you get. my parents thought the steamed chicken claws were good too – but I can’t abide the things and so you’ll have to find out yourself how good they were. we also ordered their century egg dish – which we expected to the typical plate of century egg wedges served with pickled ginger, but this was very different. cubes of egg topped with pink japanese pickled ginger, slivers of seaweed, sesame seeds and a lemon dressing, this was pretty interesting, and the dressing did cut the often-too-rich yolk.
our desserts included the fried durian ice cream (really more like a penyet) served with mango sauce: not great – the smell of the oil was a little strong and there was a strange skin formed by the batter that was really hard; but my dad had a dish of almond cream that he claims is the best one he’s had in many years. he’s a traditionalist when it comes to these desserts, and when he proclaims that he’d return just for the dessert, I’d say it’s very much worth a try.
it’s confusing to find this place, even when you have arrived at the marina bay link mall, so let me clarify that it is at the ground plaza of the marina bay link mall, and you will need to take the lift up from the mall at basement two to the ground floor, before taking another lift to the restaurant itself on the second floor. the restaurant is smaller than you’d expect, and a little too-opulently decorated, but it has a great view over the marina barrage area and the floating platform, and is a good place to bring the folks or have a business lunch. I’m already trying to fit another visit into my schedule. best meal in a long time.