And now it is time for yet another review of a Paradise Group eatery! This time, the establishment in question is the classy Paradise Pavilion, a restaurant decked out in French-Baroque inspired design, catering more towards the high end.
I visited this place recently for both lunch and dinner, so will combine my thoughts on both experiences into one post.
Did I think that Paradise Pavilion served the best Peking duck in Singapore, like it is said to?
That, I am not too sure. But, I do think that their Steamed Custard Buns (‘Liu Sha Bao’) and Baked BBQ Pork Pastry (Char Siew Sou) are definitely amongst the top renditions of these dishes in Singapore.
I’ll start with lunch, as this trip was more recent (and because I am super excited about it). After this experience, I think Paradise Pavilion became one of Z’s and my favourite dim sum places in Singapore.
Prices are slightly steeper than usual though (came up to around S$36 per pax, though we may have over ordered a little), but the good thing is it is matched by quality.
One thing that impressed me right at the start was the Fried Carrot Cake in XO Sauce (S$8.80). Carrot cake cubes fried to a nice crisp on the outside and tender soft on the inside. With crunchy bean sprouts and well executed egg, the dish was overall delicious and not too oily. The XO taste was not very obvious, but I didn’t mind that too much.
The Baked Snow Bun with BBQ Pork (S$5.60) was nice, but nothing really special – a bit airy inside (i.e. little filling). Thought the Canton Paradise version was better actually.
The Steamed Prawn Dumpling Har Gao (S$5.80) was pretty good! Thin, nicely chewy skin (that thankfully did not fall apart) and sweet crunchy prawns. And so was the Scallop Rice Flour Rolls (S$6.30) – big and juicy scallops lovingly wrapped in rice flour sheets of just the right thickness.
The Peking Duck Meat Dumpling (S$5.60) was stuffed full with duck shreds and strips of vegetables, but was a bit too heavy tasting and salty for lunch, I felt.
As for the Baked Scallop Pastry in Japanese Style (S$6.00), I felt that the pastry was delightfully flaky, buttery and crisp, but that the mushroom filling and scallop topping fell kind of short.
On to the really good stuff. The Siew Mai Skewers (S$5.80) were a huge hit with us. The seared, woody taste of these little pockets of deliciousness really complemented the meat and tobiko, making this a really tasty, special dish. Loved it!
And back to the star dishes. The Baked BBQ Pork Pastry (S$5.20) here was truly one of the best I’ve had in Singapore (I read LadyIronChef’s review on it being the best in his opinion, so wanted to try it too). Intensely buttery, flaky and melt-in-your-mouth crust and tender, flavourful char siew filling – simply delicious.
Z said that traditionalists may not agree with this prognosis, as too much butter in a dish makes it seem more Western, but whatever it was, I enjoyed it.
Finally, we get to the lovely, rich dessert that is the Steamed Custard Bun or ‘Liu Sha Bao’ (S$5.50). Paradise Pavilion’s version arrived piping hot (I know that for a fact as I nearly burnt my hand trying to take this photo) and upon breaking it open, molten yellow-gold liquid burst forth and oozed out beautifully.
This bao entertained no nonsense such as air inside; it was chock full of salty, yolky goodness. Intense flavour, neither too watery nor thick. Thumbs up!
I also visited Paradise Pavilion for a work dinner. With a visiting senior manager in town, we naturally had to share with him one of Singaporeans’ favourite pastimes – eating.
We started with their famous Peking duck (S$88). Paradise Pavilion gives some background to the dish in the menu, describing it as an imperial dish which used to be prepared for the Emperor of China. To recreate the glory of this Chinese culinary gem, they have a stringent selection criteria for their ducks, and after which roast them carefully in a special brick oven, with apple wood.
First, they serve you the duck breast skin with a layer of fats, that is meant to be eaten with a dab of sugar. This was crispy and nice, and indeed quite melt in your mouth. The second serving is the succulent thigh meat, which they recommend be eaten on its own for the apple tree wood fragrance.
Finally, the duck breast meat is wrapped in rice flour crepes, accompanied by sauce, cucumber and spring onion strips.
I thought the Peking duck was overall pretty good though not mind-blowing. The price includes only the slices of skin and meat near the skin in these three servings though; they do not use the meat of the duck to make another dish for you, as quite a number of restaurants usually do.
One of the popular appetizers here is strangely a Western sort of dish, a trio of scallop, prawn and foie gras (decided recently that I won’t be eating foie gras anymore in future unless it is REALLY necessary, but that’s a story for another day). This was nice but not really anything special – though, the fresh juicy watermelon was a nice complement to the creamy, tangy wasabi prawn.
Other dishes we had were the usual – fried fresh fish, some sort of poached vegetables with wolfberries and salted egg yolk prawns. Overall, the food was enjoyable.
The special Wok Fried Fish Paste Noodles with Scallops was interesting; it was my first time having fish paste noodles actually. There was a hint of fish in the chewy noodles and an overall seafood flavour in the broth. Wouldn’t say I super loved it, but I did still take delight in eating this dish too.
The desserts were quite interesting. We had some sort of almond cream with sago and almond flavoured ‘Orh Nee’ (a Teochew dessert, mainly yam paste and some sort of milk topped with ginko nuts), which were both rather nice and comforting.
The best of the bunch though, was the Deep Fried Custard Bun with Vanilla Ice Cream (they ran out of the deep fried durian ice cream that day, which we wanted to have). Seriously, it is hard to go wrong with custard buns and lovely salted egg yolk paste, and when it is deep fried, it just makes the overall taste that much stronger and richer.
Paired with the milky cold ice cream and refreshing fruits, this was a really delicious and satisfying dessert to end off the meal!
Quite happy with this place, in general, especially the dim sum. Service was alright as well. Not so sure if I would have the Peking duck again, but I would definitely go back again for the dim sum dishes (and possibly the fried custard bun dessert)!
#02-01, 8A Marina Boulevard
Marina Bay Financial Centre / Link Mall
Tel: +65 6509 9308