The visit to Cherry Garden for dim sum buffett is definitely a credit to Camemberu blog and a proof that food blogging does a great job for marketing restaurants and restaurants should allow people to take pictures. One of the dim sum that I wanted to try after checking out Cherry Garden posting on Camemberu was the netted rice crispy turnover stuffed with prawn and mango, truffled essence crystal dumplings stuffed with assorted mushroom and the steamed shark's fin dumpling with dried scallop and shrimp. Oh, and the Fried Potato stuffed with pumpkin, jicama and vegetarian ham.
After convincing my new friend H to come with me (a persuasion that did not take much persuading), I made a booking. She got there first on Saturday and texted me that the place was fancy, meanwhile, I was in a casual wear with flip flop. Oh well, luckily these people showed a first class service by treating everyone with good service regardless if they were wearing flip flop like I was. After a few minutes debating whether we should go for ala carte or buffet, we all decided that we brought enough appetite (H brought an extra stomach, J, in a form of another friend) to order everything on the menu.
Since the two stomachs present with me that day have never had dim sum before, I was a little worried that they might not be game for some of the things that I wanted to try. H's only request was no jelly fish and happy to report that J was game for anything. So we started ordering the first round of dim sum gallore. Our first dish that came was the scallop and spinach crystal dumpling. After explaining the rule that no food shall be consumed before pictures are taken from all angles and taking pictures of this first dish, the dumplings were gone in less than 30 seconds, followed with satisfied "hm....." from around the table.
The honey glazed pork cha siew looked very pretty in plum coloring. Although I was skeptical at first when I first bit into it, I was converted. The meat was crisp and tender at the same time, succulent and juicy, savory and sweet all at the same time. How could it be possible? It is possible when done the right way. I haven't had a good cha siew in a while and this was simply awesome.
Pan fried gyoza with spicy eggplant, minced chicken, tofu and mushrooms
The pan fried gyoza was tweaked to include eggplant, tofu and mushrooms, all of which gave it an extra oomph due to the extra chewiness of eggplant and the earthy flavor of the mushrooms.
Scallop and spinach crystal dumpling
The scallop and spinach crystal dumplings were so delicate and deliberate in its presentation that I almost felt like I couldn't eat it as I would destroy the art. I was amazed at how thin and clear the skins were that they allowed you to see the scallops and the spinach inside. And the taste was great, the scallop gave it a sweet taste that was softer than shrimps.
Imperial Hot and Sour Soup
I hadn't had hot and sour soup in a long while and this one was like WHOA! I didn't have to add vinegar and the spice wasn't too overpowering. It also had just the right amount of tofu and minced mushrooms, not too much but not too little. I didn't have to swish around to fish them.
Cherry Wood Charcoal Roasted Duck
The Cherry wood charcoal roasted duck... was worth every fancy name it gotten. You could definitely taste the smokeyness of the cherry wood and dipping it into the plum sauce was a match made in heaven. The earthy taste of the meat was lightened by the plum sauce, it reminded me of the contrast between roast turkey and cranberry sauce at American Thanksgiving dinner. Though I would say that duck meat is much richer and earthier than turkey.
Plum sauce for the roast duck
As the food came to our table, I can't help but being amazed at the presentation of each dish and their quality. The dumplings' skins were translucent and you can see what was stuffed inside, heightening the anticipation of its taste before it even landed in your mouth. The shape of each dumplings were almost identical and deliberate as if it was not just dumpling to be feast upon by mouths but also a feast for the eyes.
Minced chicken dumpling in garlic soy sauce
These dumplings, small as they were, were tenth fold tastier than their size. The crisp wasabi prawns were a variation of a more traditional prawns mayonnaise with a Japanese twist of wasabi, the roes and the mango. The prawns were chunky and crunchy. The wasabi was mild so that you don't have to worry that it would burn your nose.
Truffled essence crystal dumplings stuffed with assorted fresh mushrooms
Yes, the truffled essence crystal dumplings that I was dying to try. I love how the dumplings were delicately made in a clear skin which enabled us to glimpse the inside of the dumplings in anticipation on how it will taste like in our mouth. There were indeed assorted mushrooms and it was good, but perhaps because I had built up the taste so much in my imagination the reality rather fell short. It was good, but I expected something more.
More food kept on coming. And when it slowed down, we knew it was time to order the second round quick so that our feast didn't stagger as there is nothing worse than a time lag where you have to wait for your food which would definitely kill your appetite for the coming food. And we kept on being wow-ed by each dish starting from their presentation.
Roasted ribs with pumpkin in spicy garlic sauce
Pai gut. Roasted ribs, yum!!! A huge fan of pumpkin I was delighted to find that they mixed the pai gut here with pumpkin. I can't really taste the pumpkin in the ribs, but the ribs' meat were soft, tender and succulent. The pumpkin was sweet and savory.
Deep fried eggplant with pumpkin
Eggplant is definitely another favorite vegetable of mine and this one was scalloped and fried with pumpkin. Crispy on the outside, mushy and sweet on the inside? The verdict is: yummy!
Crispy rice turnover stuffed with shrimp, apple and mango with wasabi mayonnaise
Although the Crispy rice turnover stuffed with shrimp, apple and mango with wasabi mayonnaise was one of the first batch order, it didn't come till the very end. I was worried that I would be too full. Crispy and crunchy skin, with innards that was packed with shrimp, apple and mango, they were an explosion of savory and sweetness in my mouth. Topped that with wasabi mayo, simply heavenly. Just don't think about the calories.
The bunny dumpling turned out to be another one of spinach dumpling, it was good and very cute to look at.
The food kept on coming and we kept on munching away till one of the waiter came and informed us that they were taking the last order including dessert. Torn between desire to try more with a decreasing stomach space as well as the need to have dessert, we opted for dessert. After trying to decide was we wanted to order, we came up with a brilliant idea of ordering "everything on the dessert menu", swallow the pride and reveal the piglets in all of us to the waitresses.
Waitress: So, have you decided what would you like to order for dessert?
Us: Yes, could we have 'everything' on the dessert menu please... *innocently*
Waitress: .............. Uh, so three mango cream, three avocado cream....
Us: No! no, no, we just want one of each from the dessert menu... *grimace*
Waitress: Right, so one of each of everything from the dessert menu.
Us: Yes, thank you.... *duck heads*
"Everything" on the dessert menu: (Clockwise from bottom left corner) Warm soya been milk with tremella mushroom and glutinous rice dumplings, Chilled sour plum jelly with sliced guava, Pan fried Chinese pancake stuffed with red bean paste, Cream of avocado with walnut ice cream, Chilled cream of mango with pomelo, sago pearls and lime sorbet.
Chilled cream of mango with pomelo, sago pearls and lime sorbet
They gave us just enough time to settle our stomach before bringing the dessert in one big trays with a bang. Three of the desserts came with smoke spewing from its container giving it its wow effect. All eyes were turned and fixated to these desserts that were coming towards us. As soon as all 5 desserts, that is everything on the dessert menu, touched down on our table cameras started clicking eager to finish taking picture and revelling on the dessert.
The Avocado cream was much better than I expected, it reminded me of avocado juice that I used to have back home but much creamier with vanilla ice cream and walnut. The avocado scent sent pleasure signals up through your nostrils to your brain racing the signals sent from your taste buds.
Chilled sour plum jelly with sliced guava:
The chilled sour plum jelly was interesting but it was too sour for me.
If you are feeling like some good dim sum in a place with good service and feeling like splurging and indulging yourself a little then this is the place for you. Just remember to bring an empty stomach and a huge appetite. Do make a booking, they have 2 seating times: 11 ~ 12.30 and 13.30 ~ 15.00. Buffet is SGD 45++, and you can order "everything" in the menu, like we did...
5 Raffles Avenue
5F Mandarian Oriental
+65 6885 3538