Monday, August 31, 2009

Marina Mandarin Peach Blossom - A La Carte Dim Sum Buffet

Earlier on, I took one week leave from work to finish up several personal errands. During which, I took my parents and brothers out to an a-la carte Dim Sum Buffet lunch at Marina Mandarin Hotel’s Peach Blossom.

I was quite excited about the occasion as it was the first time that the whole family could take time out from whatever that we needed to do for a proper sit-down lunch together.

I had first read about Marina Mandarin Peach Blossom’s a la carte Dim Sum Buffet from one of UOB’s credit card brochure. I was quite surprise that a five start hotel Dim Sum buffet only charges $18.80 ++ per pax. I decided to try it out to see if it was really that worthwhile.

I did some research before we went. Read online that for that special lunch time price, Peach Blossom only offered 20 items for the ala carte buffet.

Dim Sum Trinity:

What is Yam Cha 饮茶 (Cantonese: Tea) without Dim Sum Trinity - Har Gao 虾饺, Siew Mai 烧卖 and Cha Siew Bao 叉烧包? So, how is their Dim Sum Trinity?

Steamed Pork Dumpling with Mushroom

I am glad that the steamed dim sum came piping hot. I had thought that their Siew Mai size is a bit dainty compared to Har Gao. It could do with a slight “upsize” so that it would looked more equal. When bite into it, it had a slightly Q texture and one could taste the fish/prawn paste in it which enriched the common Siew Mai with a rich seafood flavour. However, I thought Siew Mai’s highlight should be the pork flavour and texture, but I could hardly taste it.

In fact, many of their dim sum dumplings used too much of “prawn meat paste” that all of them had a similar seafood taste. Perhaps, they should vary the proportion of the prawn meat to give each of the dim sum a different taste and characteristic.

Steamed Prawn Dumpling

The Har Gao came in a good size. The prawn meat filling was quite fresh and springy. I especially like that the chef sprinkled some chopped seaweed flavoured herb onto the dumplings which gave it an additional edge.

Steamed BBQ Pork Bun

Perfectly cooked Cha Siew Bao must “smile”, or rather must have cracks on the dough which allowed one to peek-a-boo at the bits of the amber red pork fillings. In case one does not have this before, the red pork filling is actually Cha Siew. It should have a slightly sweet smoky taste. Their Cha Siew Bao not bad.

Steamed Dim Sum:

Steamed Pork Dumpling with Chinese Chives, Mushroom and Prawn Paste

Apart from the distinct chives flavour, this interesting green-coloured dumpling had the texture and taste is similar with the Siew Mai. Nothing much, really.
Steamed Seafood Roll in BBQ sauce

This dim sum dish is essentially bean curb skin and seaweed wrapped around crabsticks, with a bit of prawn paste and enoki mushroom. It was drizzled and steamed with a bit of salty sauce which I realised now that it was BBQ sauce. Don’t understand what this dish is about.

Steamed Lotus Leaf Bun with Roasted Pork

When it was served, I could not recognise the dish. It was huge. I guessed the chef decided to get creative with this traditional bun dish.

Instead of braised meat cooked in dark soy sauce, the chef used roasted pork which are stewed in bean sauce. While I applause for this creativity, but I think the portion scared us a bit and the meat is too fattening (in my opinion) for our liking.

Spare Ribs in Black Bean Sauce, Minced Garlic and Diced Chilli

This is another traditional must-have when eating dim sum. I remembered when ordered this at other places, the spare ribs still got meaty bits. For Peach Blossom’s version, they are all bones. I can hardly find meats on it. Not good.
Chicken Feet in Szechuan Spicy Sauce

Unlike the spare ribs, this traditional must-have is properly executed. The chicken feet are braised and steamed to perfection. It is so tender that one hardly need to bite and the meat would fall off the bones naturally.

Steamed Pumpkin Cake with Dried Shrimps and Mushroom

I personally quite like this dish. It is a cross between Chwee Kueh and Wah Kueh. The steamed pumpkin cake has a delicate texture which is almost like a bean curb. The soy-sauce tasted like those Hong Kong Rice Roll’s sauce which has a hint of sweetness to it. There is also dried carrot bits (chay poh) on it.
Fried Carrot Cake with Chinese Sausage with X.O Chilli Sauce

I was quite surprise when seeing this as they are not quite what I expected. It has a very fragrant aroma, but it was a tad too salty.

Dumpling Soup with Choy Sum

I have to be blunt here. This dumpling soup is uncalled for. There is nothing extraordinary about the dumpling. It is more like a wonton (without prawn kind) in fact. It tasted so common that in comparison, the aunty selling Wonton noodles at the coffeeshop near my place make a better wares than them.

Soup of the Day:
Watercress Soup
Another salty soup without much edge. Can be missed.


Fish Fillet Porridge

This porridge is typical Cantonese style. The rice grains has been cooked till non-existence, very smooth. Because it is a fish porridge, there is a hint of ginger flavour in it. A pity, there could be more fish fillet.

Century Eggs and Lean Meat Porridge

Instead of the ginger flavour, there were century egg bits in this. Though it was stated as century eggs and lean meat porridge, but I could hardly find the lean meat. Maybe they were so lean that I missed them out. :P

Fried Dim Sums:

We quite like their deep fried mango roll with shrimp paste and fried prawn dumplings Dim Sum. However, the batter crust of bacon roll and mango roll could be thinner as the thick crust tasted too greasy.

Deep-Fried Yam Dumpling

I like how the size of this dim sim is just nice. The tart strawberry slices rids off the greasy taste.


For $18.80, you get to enjoy a la carte buffet at a five star hotel – it can be considered worthwhile. Tea charges separately and per pax. Depending on the variety, it can cost up to $12 plus per person.

I like how they allowed people to order the dim sum by the number of pieces. All of the guests will be ensure one piece of the dim sum when served and it allowed us to order more of those which we like more.
I am however rather disappointed with the service crew. Firstly, I thought they should spend some time explaining to customers what they are serving for the first time, but no. More than often, I could not get their attention for my order. The same thing happened when I called for bill. The only consolation was that they do cleared the dirty plates quite often.

Lastly, the repeatedly use of prawn paste in every dim sum really gets on our nerves. Every dim sum almost tasted similar and it kind of get very sick of it at the end of the buffet.

Because of their reputation as a five star hotel Chinese restaurant, I suggest they should improve the quality of their buffet. No point sacrificing quality for “quantity”. Reputation worth more, in my opinion.

1 comment:

Somewhere in Singapore said...

Looks good and for a five star hotel, $18.80 is not ex...