Sunday, June 7, 2009

Paradise Inn: Is this really the taste paradise?

on several occassions, with friends and colleagues

The Paradise Group is a chain of Chinese Restaurants which is raising and keeping the heritage of local Chinese cuisine. Many of the restaurants offer very fine food, and because of convenience, I have eaten at the Funan branch several times...proximity to hifi, computer and camera shops...:-)

This review is an amalgam of some of the highlight dishes I have sampled.

Deep fried cod:

This was a very special dish...the exterior batter created a very crispy, tasty shell, and the insides, the fish is just rightly cooked, hot, steamy and moist and delicious.

Salted egg yolk prawns

The richness of the salted egg yolk complements the fresh, succulent, crunchy prawns. Lovely. Crystal Jade Palace at Paragon does a similar version - in comparison, CJ does the smothering salted egg yolk sauce more finely...the Paradise version you can feel the texture of the sauce, in the CJ version less so. Which is better? Six of one and half a dozen of the other. I will eat either any day.

For a slightly different taste, wasabi prawns

Reputation says that Sam Leong, of Tung Lok created this dish...and indeed Tung Lok serves a wonderful version. As does the always delectable Peach Garden (I prefer the OCBC branch, but the Novena branch is good as well) does a superb version. Compared to these doyens, the Paradise Inn's version is humbled, but only slightly...and is good value for money. The wasabi was pungent, but not overly so...though for my rather extreme tastebuds, I would have opted for a heavier hand at the wasabi.

Khong Bak Pau.

Braised pork belly, served with fluffly steamed buns. Triggers umami sensors! Rich, smothering braising liquid, thick slices of fat pork. Wonderful. Compared to the benchmark standard set by the venerable Westlake Restaurant, this one compares well. Weslake would still get the nod from me, because the braising liquid is more tasty, and the pork rather fatter. But Paradise Inn's version is not to far behind, and not much to choose from.

Ohr Nee...a traditional and typical Teochew dessert of mashed yam, pumpkin and ginko nuts.

Delightfully sinfull, carefully prepared with copious amounts of lard and sugar, to counter the dry-ness and stickiness of mashed yam, and sweetened. Then mixed with mashed pumpkin. Finally add ginko nuts, and optionally first pressing of coconut milk. Gorgeous. The yam and pumpkin mix was smooth, tasty. Only improvement suggestion is a less watery syrup...but ensure the syrup is totally combined with the lard and hold the yam and pumpkin in a suspension.

109 North Bridge Road
#02-10/11 Funan Digitalife Mall
Tel: 6338 4018
Open daily: 11.30am - 9.30pm
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