Paradise Pavillion: Dim Sum for the restless

It's no mean feat what the folks at Paradise Group have achieved, poised as an expert in Oriental cuisine and offering it at various levels of comfort, style and price point values to it's wide spread fan base. Some of it's more exceptional outlets includes the much beloved Paradise Dynasty and Taste Paradise in ION shopping mall, both of which I have patronized back in the days. (read more about it in the links). 

Uniquely housed within the silent halls of Marina Bay Financial Center, the weekend mornings see a fluster of people streaming in through the non-ventilated lift servicing solely the restaurant with only one aim in mind. To have their way with dim sum, and to have it good.

As much as the large dining rooms may seem a little intimidating for a party of two, the resounding noise that echos from the growing crowds finds its place between the nooks and voids, reaching a crescendo as the clock strucks 12. While dinner appears to be a moneyed, haute cuisine affair dominated by top notch produce, we're happy to see a bit more flexibility at lunch time, with a reasonably priced dim sum menu that still managed to display the culinary skills of the team.

We ordered the Baked Snow Bun with BBQ Pork ($5.60), a crisp flaky dome enveloping a slightly yeasty fragrant bun encasing sweet red BBQ pork. The right amount of lard thrown in the center bringing that bit of decadence to this anaemic beauty. A tad on the sweet side but it definitely highlights the skill sets of the chefs with pastry.

Paradise Pavillion shines in this next dish, the Fried Carrot Cake in XO sauce ($8.80).  A quick stir fry in a mighty wok emblazoned by gargantuan flames gives the unanimously uniform chunks of carrot cake a bit of a crisp edge. The savoury pieces of egg helping to tie the dish together with a generous helping of chilli sauce stirred into the mix. Light-hearted without the heavy intention of lard, the result was a stunning reflection of the chef's dedication to clean and precise techniques.

Scallop and Chive dumplings ($5.00) featured delicate paper-thin skinned dumplings with a piping hot filling of rough minced scallops and finely diced chives. This didn't need the help of any dipping sauce to enliven it and I happily devoured the nifty creature, skin and all.

One of  Paradise group's pride and joy is their Crackling Pork Belly ($12.80), overall a very subtle rendition of the classic Cantonese roasts with that unctuous flavor of fats all round, capped with an intoxicating roof of crackling; this was best enjoyed with a definitive swipe of English mustard off the side of the dish. I craved for a bigger portion but winding up convincing myself that better things should be enjoyed in tidier portions. 

Another standout is the deceptively common Siew Mai Skewers ($5.80), this dish veering into mod-Chinese territory. The filling of plump prawns and juicy mince accented by a seductively smoky sweet glaze, almost like the skewers had a final bathe in a terriyaki sauce before being finished off on the grill. The admirable caramelisation that resulted on the smooth skin of the dumpling giving the pedestrian Dim Sum dish a slant.

Rounding up our meal, we departed on a sweet note with the Steamed Custard Bun ($5.50 for 3). This was definitive food porn, not to be missed. The volcano eruption of sweet salty custard taking center stage with a gentle prying of its steamed outer casing. A must order!

In terms of the ambience, Paradise Pavilion is as majestic as any Chinese restaurant can get, with the glass panels facing out to the Marina bay, blue velvet cushioned high chairs and ornate gold trimmings. Service is non-intrusive and extremely professional, sans the usual Chinese jargon that gets thrown around in a manic room that one would normally associate Cantonese fare with. Here, its a surreal and dreamy experience, and the Paradise group takes full advantage of this with fine cuisine with even higher and mightier pricing. Take heed. Dim Sum would be a better option for those who tread lightly. 

Paradise Pavillion
8A Marina Boulevard
#02-01 Marina Bay Financial Centre
(ground plaza)
Singapore 018984
Tel: 6509 9308

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