pretty good cantonese dimsum at the cathay, and a good choice for fine-chinese-dining where there aren’t many options in this category. I’ve been here twice now, so it’s definitely good enough to warrant a return visit, but I must say that the paradise chain does it much better for me (and with varying price points to suit your different moods as well, such a good thing) – the food here is pretty decent, though service can be very harried – they never really seem to have enough staff, though when they are tending to you they do a pretty good job. it’s more of a bring-the-parents sort of place, rather than one for manic-scoffing-down-of-liu-sha-bao, as I’m prone to crave.
it’s a cosy little restaurant – any more packed and it’ll start to feel a little too tight – with modern decoration and illustrations of days-gone-by female mandarin popstars mounted on the walls. the only windows here are on a rather dim side of the building, which means that even during the day time, most of the light isn’t really streaming from outside and can feel a little claustrophobic, especially when it’s packed to the rafters. kitschy, and modern, but with an old-school feel.
their dimsum offerings are pretty standard-going, nothing out of the extraordinary, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing since most of us go to dimsum already knowing what we want. what, you don’t? I particularly look out for liushabao since it seems the most calorie-worthy, and I’d say this is probably middle of its class. it cools down very quickly for some reason, the outer bun could be a little thinner, and it somehow doesn’t taste nearly as rich as the one at paradise pavilion. but I’m quibbling, because it’s not a bad version at all.
their à la carte options shine a little more, which makes me think that it might be worth it to return for dinner some time. we had a dish of baby greens served in a rich consomme (we refer to this as 上汤, literally up-soup, but which translates to a highly savoury and good-quality broth) without any of that cornflour-slurry business, and topped with shrimp and mushrooms. this disappeared very quickly; the greens were tender and crisp, and the soup very well-done. I also always must get the jellyfish appetiser, and their version comes in a vinegar-type dressing, in a large, generous portion. I loved the crunchy elasticity of these things.
we were pretty stuffed by then, but we soldiered on to try some dessert, and that was a good thing. we got the two options on the menu that came in a coconut – one a coconut jelly and the other a lemongrass jelly, if I don’t have it wrong. refreshing and cold, and with the additional benefit of scraping coconut flesh from the shell after finishing, this was a resounding lift from the otherwise-rich meal.
bring the parents, do a dinner, get the dessert, and it’ll probably be one of the best options in the area for reasonably-priced (for town) traditional cantonese food.