As we inch into 2015 and closer to February, we start getting more invites for Chinese New Year menu media tasting sessions (you mean we have just 11 more months to Christmas?). It’s my first visit to Peony Jade (Chief Editor Seth says it’s his fifth) and after reading all the previous reviews I was pretty confident that the meal would be a good one.
For the year of the wooden goat, prepare to be wowed by Peony Jade’s “Eight Rhapsodies of Spring” delights, two new dessert creations, and eight new signature dishes, from now till 5 March 2015.
With Chinese New Year 2015 less than a month away, decorations are already up. Red lanterns adorn the interior and there’s even a “Chinese Southern Lion” on display.
“Instant Enormous Windfall, Good Health and Longevity” Bonsai-Shaped Yu Sheng ($198.88/15 pax). In recent years, most Chinese restaurants have started moving away from the traditional yu sheng platter where the base ingredients are just arranged in simple piles; instead they are now doing more elaborate designs – a bonsai tree for instance. The Yu Sheng comes with lobster, Atlantic salmon, prawns, and uni. Instead of the usual lime and oil, citrusy yuzu juice is used along with truffle oil.
“Prosperity and Smooth Sailing” Deep Fried Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Minced Pork and Mushroom ($9.88/3 pieces). An intricately hand moulded ‘hum soi kuok’ dim sum that adds some personality to this classic – kudos to the pastry team. The goat-shaped dumpling is almost too cute to eat. Almost.
Each rice goat is filled with glutinous rice, finely diced savoury pork and shitake mushrooms, and the outer layer is fried perfectly to a crispy and chewy mochi-like texture.
“Reaping Abundance Wealth” Poon Choi ($468.88/6 Pax, $598.88/8-10 Pax). “Poon Choi” or “Pen Cai” traces its lineage back some 900 years ago in the late Song dynasty. Back then the mongol invaders had driven the emperor out of the capital and into southern China (Guangdong province); loyal subjects collected all the best food available, cooked it and served the dishes in wooden washbasins.
Peony Jade’s 21st century version comprises of 18 premium ingredients (abalone, sakura chicken, golden oysters, sea cucumber, scallops, fatt choy, fish maw, king prawns, conpoy, etc) versus the usual 12-13 found elsewhere, thus befitting its namesake.
“A Wealth of Prosperity and Longevity” Hong Kong Roast USA Goose sealed with Chef’s Special “Fa Cai” Broth ($188.88/12 pax). Only Peony Jade serves roasted goose with “Fa Cai” broth in Singapore. The grain fed goose is pre-marinated with premium Chinese herbs and spices before being roasted for up to 2 hours for a succulent texture. Was expecting some foie gras but it seems the best part was gutted (sad face).
A bit gamey to me, and frankly I prefer the more tender roast duck to Goose based on this dish.
“Abundance Fortune” Slow-Fire Stewed Lamb with Bamboo Shoots and Chestnuts ($78.88/6-8 Pax). What’s the year of the goat without some cuts of lamb? Peony Jade only uses grass-fed lamb cutlets for this dish which are wok-braised for absolute tenderness with a myriad of spices and ingredients. The spices do help tone down the gaminess of the lamb but it’s still on the strong side for some although personally I think it’s pretty light already and goes well with the stew.
Reunion Steamed “Abundance Wealth” Claypot Jasmine Rice with Chinese Sausages, Live Sausages and Home-made Air Dried Duck Drumstick ($68.88/6 Pax, $88.88/10 Pax). The preserved meat juice coated rice was pretty good, especially the burnt crunchy bits (wok-hei frangrance). Peony Jade is able to prepare this the traditional way or the modern version which has more mushy rice sans the burnt bits, steamed instead of cooked in the claypot.
Peony Jade’s “Huat Ah!” Prosperity Goats Gift Set ($88.88/8 pieces). A pasture with delicious handcrafted sheep (made from snowskin) stuffed with salty egg custard – it’s like a cross between a moon cake and cold liu sha bao. The sweet savoury taste makes it easy to consume despite to rather heavy mains.
“Triumphant Harvest and Joyous Contentment” ($78.88/8 pieces). If the doctor’s orders were to watch the sugar intake, then give the sheep a pass (or just ignore the advice). Marginally healthier, the lotus petals are filled with white lotus paste and salted egg resembling a moon cake with crispy pastry skin.
“Overflowing Wealth” Glaced Kum-Quat with “Fa Cai” Vanilla Beans ($18.8*). The kumquats are candied in sugar syrup for a week after being boiled to remove the bitterness. Bite sized and easy to consume, they were really sweet! You’re supposed to eat the entire kumquat, skin and all which adds some zesty bitterness to the sweetness.
We were really stuffed midway through the meal (I blame the poon choi) but the slew of creative dishes that Peony Jade Restaurant was really impressive and delicious of course. Do note that despite being labelled a Sichuan-Cantonese restaurant, Peony Jade’s Chinese New Year menu is pretty much more Cantonese driven; nonetheless they still do have some Sichuan styled dishes on their regular menu.
Peony Jade’s CNY menu 2015 starts from 5 Jan 2015 to 5 Mar 2015.
Expected Damage: $100 – $130/pax