[SG] Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck (Paragon) | an impressive dim sum affair!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Apart from the renowned Michelin guide when it comes to good restaurants, another reputable ranking organisation is undoubtedly the 'World's 50 Best Restaurant'. Having recently tried Nahm, ranked third in Asia and previously Fook Lam Moon, ranked 48th in Asia, we are highly convicted of the stringent levels of assessment when it comes to food quality, ambience and levels of customer service.

Currently ranked 49th in Asia, we decided to revisit Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck as we realised it was more than a year ago since our last dining there. Named after their signature dish, the Peking Duck, can this superlative Chinese specialist continue to wow us?

Peking Duck (S$68/++)

It is highly advised to make reservations when visiting the restaurant on the weekends, especially if you are after their dim sum during lunch. As we called to make reservation, the lady politely asked if we wanted the Peking Duck for our meal as advance order of the bird is required if you want to guarantee its spot on the dining table.

Our last best experience with Peking Duck was at Kowloon Tang in Hong Kong. Similarly, a Chinese chef would be present to do the slicing of the fragrant and piping hot roasted duck. The glistening brown skin of the roasted duck looked too tempting and secretly, I was hoping that the chef could hasten the process!

We enjoyed the crispy thin layer of roasted duck skin that complemented the tender, juicy duck meat. All diners at the table were individually portioned a slice of the roasted duck skin which was supposed to be dabbed with sugar and you could literally hear the crunch of that crisp skin being munched!

My complaint was that the steamed pancakes was served at room temperature and was curled up on the sides which had hardened. It was also slightly too thick for our liking but apart from that, we felt that the roasted Peking Duck was cooked to perfection.

Verdict: 8.5/10

Braised ee-fu noodles with remnants of the roast duck - S$10/++

During our last visit, we requested for the remnants of the duck to be served to the table and on this occasion, we requested for it to be used for another dish to share. While the noodles was cooked to al dente and beautifully braised, we surely were not served the full remnants of the roast duck.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Egg tarts (S$3.30/++)

The puff pastry to the egg tart was rich in butter and had a beautiful fragrance to it. It was not overly satiating despite the buttery and flaky pastry base and was surely one of the better egg tarts tried. Arguably, we thought that the taste of the custard egg filling could be stronger.

Verdict: 8.0/10

BBQ pork bun (S$4.20/++)

Coated with a mildly sweet layer of crust, it lacked the crispness found in Tim Ho Wan as it was slightly limp. We enjoyed the beautifully roasted char siew on the inside which carried a tinge of fragrance from Chinese rose wine. It brought back fond memories of our visit at Dim Sum Square in Hong Kong.

Verdict: 8.0/10

BBQ pork pastry (S$4.20/++)

This was surely one of the top BBQ pork pastries tried. Every element of it was executed well, from the fragrant and buttery puff pastry to the roasted char siew on the inside (which was the same filling as that of the BBQ pork bun).

Verdict: 9.0/10

BBQ pork rice roll (S$5.50/++)

It was hard for this dish to be a miss when the core ingredient, the BBQ pork (char siew) was such a hit in the two dishes above. The rice roll was thin, not overly starchy and the savoury soy sauce nicely complemented it to suit our palate. Another classic dim sum dish well prepared.

Verdict: 8.5/10

Pan-fried carrot cake (S$4.20/++)

Yet another classic dim sum that is a must-have on each dining table. The pan-fried carrot cake nailed all the basics, good seasoning of the radish and a nice layer of crispness on the surface which complemented the soft radish.

Verdict: 8.5/10

Coconut tart (S$3.30/++)

Personally, I always find that coconut tarts belong to a special category of food where it has an acquired taste among foodies. I never thought of trying it till my days of living in Hong Kong led me to try it one day and since then, I fell in love with it and is in search for the best one in Singapore since it is not a common pastry even among the Chinese dim sum restaurants. This coconut tart easily won me over with that crispy puff pastry and the freshness of the coconut which had a natural sweetness and fragrance to match. It was good enough for me to request a second serving but it was sold out by then!

Verdict: 9.0/10

Ha Kau - Prawn dumpling - (S$5/++)

We enjoyed that the skin of the prawn dumpling was thin and not excessively starchy but serving dumplings with torn skin was hardly acceptable. The prawns used were fresh with a natural sweetness and had a nice crunch and it was really a shame that the wrapping workmanship let the dish down. Apart from that, in all fairness, it won us over in terms of its savoury taste and flavours.

Verdict: 8.0/10

Siew Mai - Pork dumplings - (S$4.80/++)

A classic dim sum cooked well. Expect to enjoy the savouriness from the juicy pork dumpling carefully sized to suit a mouthful.

Verdict: 8.5/10

Steamed custard bun (S$4.20)

No prizes for guessing this to be the most popular dish since we ordered three servings of it! The skin of the bun wrapping the filling was soft but too thick for our liking. However, the sweetness of the salted egg yolk custard bun suited our palate perfectly and what we enjoyed was that while it was runny, it maintained viscosity and it was more of a case of generous filling. No complaints and another round, please.

Verdict: 8.5/10

Glutinous rice with chicken (S$4/++)

We enjoyed the soft glutinous rice that was sticky and fragrant. Unwrapping the lotus leaf that imparts the fragrance to the rice, expect to dig into the savouriness of the diced chicken and Chinese mushrooms!

Verdict: 8.5/10

Coconut cake (S$3.30/++)

Just when we were expecting the desserts to be as good as the dim sum mains, we were left largely disappointed with this coconut cake. Served chill, it was too 'curdy' and while it had a strong coconut fragrance, it lacked the refreshing taste and freshness, and tasted artificial.

Verdict: 6.0/10

Sago cream with mango (S$5/++)

This traditional Chinese dessert is usually on my must-try list and undoubtedly so on this occasion despite our exploding stomach by now. Depending on individual, this had a rich, creamy and strong taste of mango being blended together with drapes of pomelo sparingly in each bowl. I personally prefer to have more texture so I would enjoy tasting the mango fruit itself rather than being blended. That being said, this was a good and refreshing rendition but of the two bowls ordered, the ingredients served in each bowl had a large discrepancy as one of the bowls barely had strands of the pomelo while the other had large chunks of it. 

Verdict: 7.5/10

Glutinous ball with sesame (S$1/each)

Just when we thought that we were about to conclude our meal with a disappointing offer of desserts, this surprised us pleasantly! Coated with roasted crushed nuts, the soft and thin layer of glutinous ball packed a generous amount of sesame filling that had the desired level of sweetness (even our mum agreed that it was good!). The nice complementing layers of textures surely sealed the dessert for us, not to mention that it was sized perfectly for a mouthful pop!

Verdict: 9.0/10

The restaurant has a few types of seating to suit the respective occasions. There are the usual private rooms for a more exclusive and intimate dining or even the partitioned rooms which individually boasts of a different theme and style. There is also the casual and more traditional open space dining like you would expect in a Chinese restaurant. Lastly, there is even a champagne lounge with comfortable sofa seats at the front of the restaurant, along the corridors of Paragon Shopping Mall for a more relaxed setting.

Apart from being a suitable venue to bring your family out for a satisfying lunch on a Sunday, it is surely a presentable restaurant to invite your business associates and partners over with its range of premium wines on offer.

We also received very dedicated customer service and if you are after a no-frills, calories-worthy meal of traditional dim sum, this is surely one of our top recommendations in Singapore so far! My only complaint was that the dishes were served almost simultaneously and really quick. I would have preferred it better if the service was staggered to allow diners to enjoy each dish as they arrive. Nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable dining experience and if you are planning to visit, do note that reservations are highly recommended!

Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck Restaurant
290 Orchard Road
#05-42/45 Paragon
Singapore 238859
Tel: (+65) 6732 7838

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