My family likes to eat Chinese food, including one of the classics; the glorious world of little treats that is dim sum. After a long and detailed search online, I decided to take them to Cherry Garden at The Mandarin Oriental to try the weekend dim sum buffet brunch, for a birthday occasion.
The restaurant had a classy and oriental decor, and a relaxed, clean atmosphere to it. Service was reasonably attentive and good, as the staff were polite and prompt with orders taking and tea refilling (the latter being very important to me as I like to take frequent sips to ‘cleanse the palate’ between dishes or bites!).
We started off with some porridge, soup, various appetizers and dim sum dishes.
The Steamed Mini Abalone Siew Mai was a refreshing change from the usual roe-topped, meaty dumpling, with a juicy baby abalone perched on top of it. This added a layer of bouncy, chewy texture and savoury shellfish flavour, which I feel was not too “sea”-ish (which some shellfish sometimes are) and complemented the overall look and taste of the dumpling well. Definitely one of my favourite dishes of the meal.
The porridge and hot and sour soup were the usual stuff, nothing much to shout about. The former was of a refined, smooth quality though – which some people might like.
However, the next item was really quite a star. One of the dishes Cherry Garden is known for is its Kurobuta Pork Char Siew; and man, do they cook this well. The meat was plump and delicious, glazed with a light coat of sweet and savoury char siew sauce that was rich but not overpowering.
And look at it’s beautiful, pink exterior. Simply wonderful.
Other appetizer and dim sum items which we had included the Drunken Chicken, Wok Fried Radish Cake in XO Sauce, Steamed Conpoy Dumplings with Dried Scallops and Shrimps, and the Steamed Ginger and Sesame Drunken Chicken Dumplings (in the following picture).
The dumplings were overall well executed and enjoyable but not really that spectacular. And the same went for the Drunken Chicken and Wok Fried Radish Cake in XO Sauce. The upside was that the quality was pretty good and the construction of the dishes were rather exquisite.
The Steamed Prawn and Bamboo Pith Dumpling with Gold Powder (pictured below) was quite a delight though, both taste and looks-wise.
This was a beautifully presented dish – I don’t really think the gold powder enhanced the taste, but I’m a believer of full sensory culinary experiences and so this worked for me. The prawns were fresh and crunchy, and it was delicious so we ordered another basket (as well as of the Mini Abalone Siew Mai mentioned above).
We also had a few other stir fried and cold dishes – the Soya Sauce Chicken, Stir Fried Asparagus and Maize in XO Sauce, Wasabi Prawns with Mango, Netted Crispy Rice Turnover with Prawn, Apple and Mango, Fried Calamari and the Prawn Salad.
The Soya Sauce Chicken was simply lovely – succulent and juicy, accompanied by a really tasty sauce. The Stir Fried Asparagus and Maize in XO Sauce was also quite enjoyable and tasty.
And I found the prawn salad really interesting and filled with lots of ingredients, some of which were rather unusual, like Japanese seaweed.
For the fried items, the Wasabi Prawns with Mango were quite yummy, crisp, hot, sweet and sour all at the same time, and the Netted Crispy Turnover also made a good effort at being an enjoyable fried treat.
The calamari dish however was quiite a disappointment, as it was really dry and tough.
As usual, when it was time for desserts we were already pretty full and weren’t sure how much we could fit into our stuffed selves. And so we ordered 1-2 desserts each, but when they arrived we discovered that they were served in rather small portions and SO darn delicious, that we wished we had ordered more!
The Custard Buns with Dark Chocolate were a nice change from the usual liu sha baos (though I do love those very much), and were also very delightful with warm and rich molten chocolate oozing out from within. It was literally bursting with flavour, and the bun was also moist and fluffy – not too hard or thick.
Another of the desserts I really loved was the Avocado Cream with Walnut Ice Cream. Sounds kind of weird but the smooth creamy taste of avocado and the nutty flavour of the ice cream really go well together. The Watermelon with Aloe Vera and Lemongrass Jelly was also very good as it was a light, refreshing dessert that really helped to lighten the ‘heaviness’ in the mouth and stomach! Didn’t try the Mango Pomelo Sago though but heard good things about it from the family.
At $48++ per pax for the dim sum buffet (without alcohol or drinks), it’s not considered cheap, but I would say that it is worth the money spent. I enjoyed the dim sum dining experience at Cherry Garden, and would recommend it for an exquisite lunch date with close friends or family.
5 Raffles Avenue
#05-00 Mandarin Oriental Singapore
Tel: +65 6885 3538
Open from 12 – 2:30pm for lunch, 11am – 1pm (1st seating) and 1:30 – 3:30pm (2nd seating) for brunch, and 6:30 – 10:30pm for dinner.