August 3, 2015
A multiple award-winning Chinese restaurant centrally located on the third floor of Conrad hotel, the highly acclaimed Golden Peony is headed by Executive Chinese Chef Ku Keung. Diners at the restaurant can look forward to sinking their teeth into novel and unconventional culinary creations; there is a huge selection of scrumptious dim sum dishes and signature picks available from the restaurant’s menu.
To celebrate the country’s 50th birthday, the restaurant has also come up with a specially curated set menu for Lunch and Dinner ($50++ per pax or $150++ per pax), featuring the best of Chef Ku Keung’s dishes.
Upon walking into the warmly-lit Chinese Fine-dining restaurant, it gave off an unmistakably sophisticated and classy vibe – due to the utilization of exquisite teak screens around corners and displays of porcelain plates which depict Chinese mythology.
Even though it felt grand, Golden Peony still retained the friendly elements of being homely and cozy; it struck me as the perfect dining space for a family gathering of sorts.
To kick start our dinner, we had the Salted Egg Fried Fish Skin. Being an ardent fan of anything that contains salted egg in it, I felt that this was the perfect appetiser.
Crisp and full of fishy goodness without veering toward the oily, jelat (heavy) area, I saw that many seated amongst the table had finished their portions even before the first proper dish of the meal set had arrived.
We’re going to be presenting dishes from the $150++ dinner menu, then a sneak preview of the $50++ one at the later part of the review.
We all exclaimed at the exquisiteness of this dish: A combination of Steamed lobster dumpling in the form of a goldfish, Roast Peking Duck with Parma Ham, pineapple & crispy beancurd skin made with homemade crepe and Minced Chicken wrapped in crispy filo ball.
The Steamed lobster dumpling tasted as good as it looks. Chef Ku Keung explained later that the orange ‘skin’ of the goldfish was fashioned out of carrots with dough – explaining the natural colouring which expertly captures the appearance of a live goldfish. Even though we were initially reserved about eating a ‘goldfish’, our worries disappeared upon taking that first bite.
The skin was thin and it encapsulated a generous portion of succulent, juicy and extremely fresh lobster meat. One, two, large bites and it was all in my stomach. While I formerly have had some pretty good Peking Duck in Beijing, I was pleasantly surprised by the texture of Golden Peony’s Roast Peking Duck with Parma Ham, pineapple & crispy beancurd skin made with homemade crepe.
Unlike the Peking Duck wraps I’ve had in Beijing, this one had a crunch to it – attributed by the gloriously crunchy beancurd skin. Mmm.
A mini claypot holding a full portion of Braised Premium Bird’s Nest was brought to our table soon after the previous dish – which we had licked clean off our plates – was cleared. Chef Ku Keung had chosen to incorporate tau gey (bean sprouts) into the dish to make it more savoury.
Golden Peony intends for this Bird’s Nest dish to substitute Shark’s Fin in the future due to ethical considerations and I couldn’t be more pleased about it because this is simply delicious.
The gelatin-like texture of Bird’s Nest was beautifully contrasted against the light crunch of the bean sprouts; the subtle sweetness of the soup made me shovel mouthful after mouthfuls of this.
Golden Peony’s Steamed Star Grouper with Sliced Abalone, ham and carrot was another winner. Seasoned rather simply, the delicate freshness of the fish really came through.
The Star Grouper’s tenderness went well with the abalone’s chewiness. This dish was simple but we all know that there’s a fine line between a just-done fish and one which is over-cooked. This was perfectly done.
I wasn’t a big fan of the Pan-fried Wagyu Beef with Red Wine Sauce, served with White Asparagus. Even though I loved the fact that the slightly charred sides of the beef gave the meat an intoxicating smoky flavour which permeated my mouth, the cut was a little too tough and sinewy for me.
Maybe it would have been a little better if it was less cooked? In any case, I still did enjoy the pairing of red wine sauce with the beef: I just would have preferred if the cut was a little more fatty and less stringy.
Have you ever had Chicken Wings stuffed with Glutinous Rice? Well, if you haven’t, you should definitely give it a go while you’re at Golden Peony. I put my initial skepticism aside, picked the chicken wing (considerately chopped into manageable pieces) up and began gnawing away.
The combination of glutinous rice with fried chicken meat was not as weird as I thought it would be. It was actually pretty scrumptious. To think about it, this is like a reversed bak zhang (meat dumpling), with the meat on the outside and the glutinous rice on the inside.
The meat was tender and it was still glistening with its own juices: I was impressed by this simple, understated yet delicious dish.
All good things must come to an end, we ended our luxurious $150++ dinner set meal off with the Double-Boiled Hasma with fragrant almond cream in mini golden pumpkin. If, like me, you don’t know what hasma is – it is a frog’s reproductive glands. I know, eww, right? But trust me, there was absolutely no weird taste to it at all.
If you’re someone who enjoys anything which is almond-flavoured, this soup will definitely please your taste buds. It was the perfect ending for our meal at Golden Peony.
For diners who would like to opt for a quality meal without busting the budget for the rest of the month, Golden Peony also has a whole separate meal course which goes for $50++ per pax, applicable for a minimum of 2 persons. We shall let the pictures do the talking.
Roast Peking Duck, Parma ham, pineapple and crispy beancurd skin rolled with handmade crepes.
Golden-fried prawn wrapped in crispy filo pastry and Steamed beancurd filled with scallop topped with crab meat sauce.
Double-boiled baby abalone soup with conpoy and bamboo pith in mini gold pumpkin.
Braised dong-po belly, served with crispy bun.
Traditional claypot rice with Chinese sausage, liver sausage, wax duck and wax meat.
Chilled cream of avocado with vanilla ice cream.
Overall, I was highly impressed by Golden Peony’s dishes and I feel that by opting for a set menu, diners can save a lot of time and effort from trying to decide what to choose from the extensive menus. Furthermore, the quality of the dishes presented also made me feel that at $50++ or $150++, the meals are really value-for-money.
So what are you waiting for? These SG50 special set menus will only be available from 1 July to 31 August 2015.
Expected Damage: $65 – $170 per pax