Saturday, July 11, 2009
Dim Sum Day 5: Peony Jade at Keppel Club
We've reached the final stop in the Cuisine & Wine Asia dim sum marathon - Peony Jade at Keppel Club. Yes, it's not an easy place to get to. But Keppel Club's got a cluster of interesting restaurants. Peramakan is there, along with a Japanese restaurant called Kome. And Peony Jade turns out to be a stunner. Gorgeously decked out with high ceilings, the pillar-free venue is spacious enough for weddings and corporate events. We got a private room with large windows overlooking the club. Apparently, they have dim sum pushcarts at lunchtime too.
We started with the fried items, while waiting for others to arrive. Deep Fried Goose Liver & Prawn Ball with Almond Flakes (S$8.90, probably for 3 or 4 pieces). I really liked how they calligraphed the Chinese character "Yu" (meaning Jade, part of the restaurant's name) using chili sauce at the side - it's the most elegant use of squiggly decorative sauce I've seen.
But yes, close up of the Deep Fried Goose Liver & Prawn Ball with Almond Flakes. The crunchy almond crust gave way to real foie gras flavour within.
Crispy Prawn Dumplings with Mayonnaise Cream (S$5.50) - perhaps commonplace, but these huge shrimp dumplings were delicious nonetheless.
Deep Fried Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Pork and Shrimps or "Harm Soei Gok" (S$3.90) - so many, what a delight to see! Not many restaurants make this dim sum because it's quite difficult to fry (the glutinous rice skin tends to stick to everything).
Alas, the glutinous rice skin in this rendition was a little too thick in places, and the filling was not stellar either.
Deep Fried Filo Crusted Seafood Roll (S$5.50) - these were nice. A whole shrimp with seafood paste wrapped with filo, deep-fried and cut in half before serving. Crispy stuff is always fun to eat.
Deep Fried Taro with Assorted Meat (S$4.20) - the ever popular "wu kok" or yam puff. Hmm, what does assorted meat mean?
It's a mixture of pork and seafood inside, I think. Perhaps similar to what's inside the harm soei gok.
Steamed Butterfly Prawns (S$5.80) - so beautiful! Essentially large siew mais with a whole butterflied prawn stuck inside, with snow peas and tobiko. They not only looked good but tasted great as well. The snow peas perked up the meaty dim sum.
Peony Jade Steamed Crystal Minced Pork Dumpling (S$4.80) - if you're used to your dim sum looking pristine white, this may come as a shock. Well, squid ink is used to make the crystal dumpling skin black. Innovative indeed. Topped with dried shredded conpoy, these were very good too.
Steamed Scallop Rice Flour Roll (S$5.50) - not too bad, the sauce was a good complement.
Steamed Mini Abalone Dumpling (S$6.80) - again, some very pretty dim sum. I am not a fan of abalone, but these went well with the dumpling.
Steamed Peony Jade Crystal Prawn Dumpling (S$4.80) - the mandatory "har gau". Ironically, Peony Jade seems to excel more with their creative dim sum than with the traditional. The har gau skin was a little too thick and floury to be enjoyable.
Steamed Meat Dumpling with Fish Roe (S$4.20) - the siew mai is a bit better. It's got chunks of dried Chinese mushrooms embedded within.
Peony Jade Barbecued Pork Bun (S$3.90) - the char siew bao is also one of the traditional items that was not so good. We could not finish them. This is when Leslie started playing with his food and came up with the levitating bao experiment. We were all wistfully eyeing his new Canon Mark II.
If you've noticed, Peony Jade uses square wooden boxes instead of round bamboo steamers for the dim sum.
Well, we're not done yet - there's still dessert!
Steamed Custard and Salted Yolk Pau (S$3.90) - oh, this was probably one of their best items! The bun exterior could be a bit more fluffy but the liquid gold within is flawlessly finger-licking good! We unabashedly asked for seconds, because the first batch had turned cold while we were taking photos. And oh my, they tasted sublime when warm!
Chilled Avocado Puree with Ice Cream Served in a Whole Coconut (S$12) - a nice combination. The avocado puree was really thick and grassy-tasting, so the ice cream and coconut flesh helped to tame the flavour.
Peony Jade just opened in Sept 2008 at Keppel Club. They have a main branch at Clarke Quay, which I have been to some years back, but they don't have dim sum there. Interestingly, the group also owns the Pump Room and Quayside Seafood, both at Clarke Quay.
Big thanks to Noelle and Peiru of Sixth Sense Communications for hosting this lunch, and to Jackson of Cuisine & Wine Asia for arranging this.
Check out TheHungryCow's take on this meal.
Bukit Chermin Road
Open daily: 11am to 11pm
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