Howdy, my dear fellow foodies! Have you been eating well? Sorry for the lack of updates. I’ve been so busy with Lunar New Year-related activities. Really need to clear my backlog of posts!
Let’s start with this one, which was Sunday lunch with mother-in-law and hubby two weeks before Lunar New Year.
We only tried 5 dimsum items – there’s only so much the three of us could eat! – but already, we were mighty impressed with the quality of the food here.
All 5 items were fabulously executed, but the clear favorite was the char siew sou. Served piping hot, we could find no fault with the buttery pastry and delicious char siew filling.
Another winner was the salted egg yolk custard bun. It’s one of those nouveau dimsum items. I haven’t found many restaurants that can do this satisfactorily, but I’m very happy with Crystal Jade Dining IN’s version.
The dough skin looks thick, but is actually very soft and airy. I also like the oozy custard, which isn’t too cloying and has a good balance of sweet and salty flavors.
What’s dimsum without har gau and siew mai? Usually, when checking out a dimsum place for the first time, I’ll order these two traditional items as a yardstick. And I was very impressed indeed. Look at those fat har gau! They were full of fresh, crunchy shrimp, encased in extremely thin, resilient skin. This is one of the best har gau I’ve had in a long time!
The siew mai was just as impressive. Like the har gau, they were supremely fresh, meaty, and juicy, with a high proportion of shrimp to pork. True to tradition, the siew mai is topped with crab roe (though not a lot of it) instead of tobiko. Nice!
The rice roll was also very good. We picked scallop over char siew or shrimp filling for a change, but next time, I think we’ll stick to our usual choice. Not that the scallop wasn’t nice, but I prefer the more robust taste of char siew and sweet crunchiness of prawn.
The roast meats were also of high standard, but still fell short of our current gold platinum standard – Imperial Treasure. On its own, it’s excellent, but to nitpick, Crystal Jade Dining IN’s roast pork belly crackling wasn’t as light and crispy nor as melt-in-the-mouth as Imperial Treasure’s version.
We finished our meal with a carbo-filler. What I liked was their attention to detail. The crispy noodles and seafood in gravy were brought separately to our table. The server then poured the gravy over the crispy noodles just before serving so that our noodles wouldn’t go soggy so quickly.
In fact, I’d say that the service staff here deserve praise, too. Although the restaurant was packed and the servers were kept very busy, they remained efficient, brisk, and polite.
One thing to note: The restaurant floor isn’t level, but tiered, so that even tables furthest from the full-length windows get to enjoy the Sentosa harbour view. This means you have to navigate quite a number of steps around the restaurant, which also means the premises aren’t exactly handicapped- nor wheelchair-friendly.
Conclusion: Crystal Jade Dining IN is classic Cantonese cuisine, beautifully executed with deftness and finesse. Prices here belong to the fine-dining range (higher than their mid-range, casual dining joints like Crystal Jade Kitchen), but I think every cent was absolutely worth it.
The total bill – including cost of tea, pickles, 10% service charge, 7% GST – for the three of us came up to S$80.25.
Dimsum is served only during breakfast/lunch hours. Reservations are highly recommended for weekends.
Crystal Jade Dining IN
1 Harbourfront Walk
Tel: (65) 6278 5626
Mon to Fri: 11:30am – 3pm, 6pm – 10:30pm
Sat: 11am – 4pm, 6pm – 10:30pm
Sun: 10:30am – 4pm, 6pm – 10:30pm