My first encounter with Jade was at least 2 years back for a birthday treat and I remember it for exorbitant prices for bite-sized portions. A bite of king-prawn, vegetables and perhaps tofu for two burnt a 80 dollar hole in the pocket. I guess the familiar would have remembered the dimsum spree I was on a couple of months back, Jade was one of those on the to-try list.
Dining at Jade has to be one of those with long reservation time required. 3 weeks, rivals Ikoi's 2 week wait. I made bookings for the last weekend of November to avoid the price increase the following week. Coincidental or not, the very same day of the buffet, Straits Time ran an article on buffets naming Jade as one of those. Two seatings and fully booked it was. We were gently reminded not to be more than 15 minutes late, if not the table would be given away. When we arrived, a neat crowd had already gathered outside (which is a first sighting at any buffet!)
Lacking in signage..
The full table works.
Loved the high ceiling!
Get ushered in orderly, order the beverages, read the menu and begin the feasting
Deep-fried Golden Cheese Dumpling
Pear-shaped fritters that had mochi-like layer coating the cheese. Can double up as a dessert with the slightly sweet tones, I wished it were served hotter or with molten cheese!
Deep-fried Taro Paste wrapped with Truffle and Mushroom
This was classified as "must try" by Straits Times, two portions later...I declare this a definite must try! The painstaking efforts of the kitchen can be tasted, the wonderful balance of truffle oil and mushrooms which was not over bearing, coupled with warm smooth yam mash with a crispy outershell..I'd gladly embrace the calories! Be warned, the plate ended up littered with crispy bits despite my attempts to be neat devouring this.
Pan-fried Radish Cake
Pity these were more kueh and tasted off some instant pack than handmade.
Pan-fried Chicken and Spring Onion Pancake
Resembled like a chinese twist with meat within. Pretty much the same as the Pork Dumpling and Chicken Bun.
Pan-fried Pork Dumpling
he gf remarked it resembled Effiel Tower. Quite an architectural delight I must add. The dumpling skin was thick hugging a tasty meat ball within.
Pan-fried Chicken Bun
The same fluffy bun as the char siew pau.
Crispy Prawn Dumpling
Well, just ordinary.
Pan-fried Three Treasures Stuffed with Shrimp Paste in Black Bean Sauce
Another recommended by Straits Times and with such a sweet sounding name, the expectations were naturally higher. The overall amusement and confusion that sunk in when we all realised this was simply "yong tau foo". Would not consider this a signature though the shrimp paste black bean sauce is tasty.
Steamed Chicken Feet with Oyster Sauce
I dig the beancurd skin used to lace the chicken feet.
Steamed Abalone Siew Mai
The mini abalone adoring this item upped the luxe factor hugely, did little to the taste though since it's more like shell fish. The meat used in the siew mai's not the usual minced meat, rather lean meat which I prefer over minced anyday.
Steamed Pork Rib with Black Bean Sauce
Delicious interpretation by Jade, I'm adoring how they're using lean meats in their dishes!
Steamed Barbeque Pork Bun
As much fluff as you'd expect from a char siew pau. Light and delightfully savoury. A palette pleaser.
Poached Shrimp Wanton with Chilli Vinegar Dressing
Loved the spicy-sour tones of the dressing, the silky smooth wanton skin gave this extra points!
Steamed Xiao Long Bao
Din Tai Fung's probably done a brilliant job with their education of how a good XLB should be, plump, juicy and soupy. The skin though skin should be able to withstand gravity being lifted at chopstick's length from the steamer. Jade's failed miserably with the chopstick test, the skin gave way mere seconds from being lifted and the salvage work thereafter left me with a XLB without soup. For a start, the skin was not as thick as Nanxiang's in Shanghai!
Steamed Shark's Fin and Scallop Dumpling
A visual pleaser with the mini fan of shark's fin. Once again, taste could not match its looks.
Steamed Crystal Shrimp Dumpling
Paper thin translucent skin unveiling a fresh prawn. I remember tasting the same combination across a few other similar sounding dim sum items. Their prawns are fresh, lacking in marination of any sort. In fact, they struck me as bland.
Steamed Crystal Crab Meat Dumpling
Honestly, crab meat was not evident.
Steamed Beef Ball with Sun-dried Orange Peel
If there's one item that is the closest to Hongkong dimsum, has to be it! The red meaty beef ball with the consistency of a sotong ball and blended with chives. Not a fan, unfortunately.
Deep-fried Prawn coated with Wasabi Mayonnaise
Peach Blossoms does a meaner job. Jade's prawns were not crispy, slightly soggy in fact.
Honey Glazed Barbeque Pork
All I really needed was a bowl of rice. Well-charred and honeyed char siew meat. A judge of how good it is? I polished the plate alone.
Crispy Chicken with Mushroom, Dry Chilli and Spiced Fragrant Salt
Thankfully crispy and clever use of spices to differentiate this from regular fried chicken cubes.
Crispy Honey Vinaigrette Sliced Sea Bass
This struck me as a snack, like those anchovies from Bangkok in particular. I wonder where the sea bass came about, especially when it tasted more like fried fish skin.
Braised Beancurd with Spiced Soy Sauce
Simple pan fried wobbly tofu, yum.
Beef Brisket with Chilli and Chinese Peppercorn
Must try! The beef brisket so tender and meaty. The chilli and peppercorn marination is a love-hate combination. I was obviously loving it.
Tea-Smoked Beancurd Sheet Roll
This one confused me. First it looked so orange, like a carrot roll. Secondly, it was served cold. Thirdly, I barely discerned the flavours much less the supposed "tea-smoked" bit.
Soup of the Day - Papaya with Salmon
This won us over, totally. Papaya in soup was quite a first for all, tasted just like melon though. Surprise find in the soup with salmon gems.
Double-Boiled Winter Melon with Bamboo Mushrooms
I figure the chefs have been hard at work with the cutters, the butterfly shapes created with the melon slices even. The exquisiteness aside, this is one oily MSG-laden soup. Bamboo mushrooms were replaced with wolfberries.
Braised Spinach with Crabmeat and Roe in Chicken Consomme
Of the three soups, this has got to be my favourite. Another must try! Chunks of fresh crabmeat scattered generously in the delicious consomme, if this were a replacement of shark's fin at wedding dinners, I'm definitely not complaining!
Wok Fried Egg Noodle with Shredded Chicken in Superior Soy Sauce
Tasteless fried noodles with equally bland chicken.
Congee with Preserved Egg and Shredded Pork
Adored the thoughtfulness put into the dish. Nothing wow but it's a nice watery soothing dish.
Those that I missed;
Steamed Vegetables Dumpling
Shrimp Wanton Soup
Steamed Squid and Coriander Dumpling
Pan-fried Shrimp Beancurd Roll
Crispy Beancurd with Chilli Fragrant Salt
Crispy Vegetarian Spring Roll
Spicy and Sour Chicken or Seafood Soup
Braised Rice Noodle with Seafood in Silken Egg Gravy
Braised Rice Noodle with Sliced Beef in Fermented Black Bean Sauce
Braised Fried Rice in Hokkien Style
Fried Rice Yang Chow Style
Boiled Congee with Dried Scallop
Jade does a decent job with the portions though what amuses me greatly is the way the food is served, slanted! They seem to be placed in a hurry and served equally hurriedly. Kudos given to the efficient team of staff who are attentive and hardly missing a single order, something I consider a rarity for buffets especially.
Food is decent but judging the dimsum alone, it pales in comparison. The regular must eat dimsum items fell short of expectations, rather Jade excels in non dimsum. A buffet without desserts leaves you incomplete and Jade's one of those.
$33++ (starting Dec09)