great food, great ambience, great new restaurant from one of my two favorite restaurant groups in singapore (paradise group being the other).
this is a new one, like I’ve said – focusing on shanghai food, duh – and I do rather like how they have these themes/ genres/ regions associated with each one of their restaurants. it makes for such varied eating, especially since many chinese restaurants are mostly a variant on cantonese (nothing wrong in itself, but variety is lovely).
shanghainese food is a little stronger in flavor, sauces are darker, dishes are saltier, garlic makes a significant appearance, and it’s all good.
this restaurant, as with the imperial treasure teochew (coming up!) and imperial treasure super peking duck, is done up all posh and luxe. I believe it might be the (or second to) the top tier in terms of marketing and pricing in the group – and all are darnably enjoyable to dine in.
they have an eye for intimate, cosy, dark spaces – lit enough in white light so you get to see your food, but dark enough for a bit of comfortable chatting. this one here also has wooden pod-like booths on the perimeter that seem good enough for four (maybe less if you order as much as we do) and are rather aesthetically gorgeous.
it certainly doesn’t hurt that the food is delicious too, like our starters of jellyfish head (I almost always order this – and definitely order it if they serve up the head, which is satisfyingly crunchier than the tentacles) and julienned vegetables. both had a good dose of sesame oil and the right amount of salt – and such textures: crunchy jellyfish and fresh crisp greens.
it was a great start, no doubt, and only the start. the beef dish that followed was silky, tender beef sauteed with even silkier softened lees – and so good. I have to say though, that we’ve never been disappointed by beef at the imperial treasure restaurants – it’s always tender without any mush, beefy without any gaminess, and softly chewy without gristle.
while my parents were having their double-boiled soups (always a good order), I took a leap of faith with this sauteed eel dish – and landed safely with eel slivers stir-fried in a dark savory sauce, topped with minced fresh garlic.
eel is a very fishy fish, and skin on – as it was here – its flavor can be rather prominent/ pungent. both words can be applied to minced fresh garlic too, but the two complemented/ tempered harmoniously. still a strong-tasting dish (best with rice), but with enough exoticism and tastiness to try.
two more: soft yellow cabbage braised with yunnan ham, and young peas with bouncy fresh shrimp.
completely opposite spectrums in terms of taste and texture, but I’d be hard pressed to pick one over the other.
and, we finished with three desserts.
osmanthus jelly, fragrant and lightly perfumed, and dotted through with plump wolfberries.
red bean pancake, crisp with a thin layer of bean paste and barely greasy (which is quite a feat for this dish).
and according to my sister, the best pumpkin pancake ever. it’s actually a nian gao (chinese sticky rice cake, or chinese new year cake) colored orange with pumpkin, and pan-fried. I actually couldn’t taste the pumpkin, but it was certainly a good specimen of its class regardless – and came thin enough so it doesn’t get cloying.
it’s obvious I like the food eh? so I leave you with the photos – and a recommendation to visit as soon as you can. great for dates, for family meals and business dining – and it’s seldom one place is appropriate for all three.
Imperial Treasure Shanghai Cuisine
#04-22 Takashimaya Shopping Centre (Ngee Ann City)
391 Orchard Road
tel +65 6836 6909
$$$: perhaps 60 averagely, but we order quite a lot