Imperial Treasure Steamboat Restaurant, TripleOne Somerset

Friends will know that I'm really particular when it comes to steamboats. In my view, the soup stock has to be rich in depth, without the overwhelming taste of MSG, and yet delicate enough for the additional flavours of the ingredients to seep into the soup. As for the ingredients, they have to be fresh, because par-boiling requires incredibly fresh food.

My favourites are the chicken soup-based stock at Thien Kee and fish bones-based soup stock at Nan Hwa Chong, both of which have very good soup stocks, with nary a whiff of MSG or milk-sweetened additives.

We've always liked the food at Imperial Treasure, be it the Cantonese cuisine at their Nan Bei group of restaurants, or the Xiao Long Bao arm offering Shanghainese or Beijing cuisine. So, when Imperial Treasure ventured into Hongkong-style steamboat territory, I was eager to see how it'll fare against my favourites. Having tried the steamboat, my take is that while the ingredients were indeed fresh, the soup stock was something a competent cook could have whipped up in the kitchen, unmemorable and relatively bland. Also, the prices were not particularly competitive, seeing as the bill for the 2 of us, without seafood, came up to a whopping $100.

Imperial Treasure serves about 10 different soup stocks, and you can choose to have 2 different types in a split-pot or just 1 variety. There's the satay, healthy chicken, drunken chicken, herbal chicken with ginseng, traditional pork bone, kelp and seaweed, sichuan spicy, century egg and parsley soup stocks. Apparently, the pork bone and chicken varieties are their most popular. We got the Satay-Healthy Chicken ($14) split-pot. The satay stock was really very light, almost creamy, it was like a watery version of peanut butter. I liked that pig's skin was added in to chunk up the satay soup, but I didn't like that we had to pay for the soup stock.As I've mentioned before, the soups are really really light, almost bland, so it's better to get the more "exotic" and unusual soup bases as opposed to the traditional chicken or pork soup stock mostly because you can easily replicate those soup stocks in your own kitchen. The satay is recommended, and probably the kelp and seaweed.

A staggering total of 12 different condiments ($1.50 per person) are provided as accompaniments, which is just as well, seeing as how the soup stock is really quite bland. I thought this was quite pricey, in view of the fact that these were merely condiments. Let's see if I can remember all of them. Top left to right: chicken rice chilli, sambal chilli, spring onions. 2nd row from top, left to right: dunno, cut fresh green chillis, cut red chillis. 3rd row from top, left to right: cut pickled green chillis, peanut sauce, sesame seeds. Bottom left to right: plum sauce, crisp fried garlic bits, raw chopped garlic.

We got Assorted Mushrooms ($8), shitake, shimeiji, white button, enoki varieties which went well with both the satay soup and chicken soup. While i didn't think mushrooms were worth $8, I'll concede that these were fairly exotic mushrooms.

We also got an additional portion of just shitake, the Japanese Mushrooms ($3.50).

We loved the Shrimp Wantons ($6), slippery smooth wantons with fresh crunchy prawns which went really well with the chicken stock, and sambal chilli, but not so much the satay soup.

The Spinach ($3) infused the soups with a slightly metallic accent, which wasn't a particularly good idea. Still, if we hulled it out fast enough, this was nice and soft.

The Fresh Chicken ($5) was really fresh, oil-smoothened and juicy. This went well with both soups.

The USA Short Rib Meat ($28) was somewhat worth its price-tag, with its delightful marbling and robust flavours.

Imperial Treasure Steamboat Restaurant
111 Somerset Road
TripleOne Somerset
Tel: 6732 8231
Open Mondays to Saturdays from 11.30am to 3pm for lunch and 6.30pm to 11pm for dinner
Sundays from 11am to 3pm for lunch and 6pm to 11pm for dinner


Anonymous said...

what a fricking rip off. I wont even bother with this place. (you know who and dont even mention me). For that kind of price the spinach better had to not be only organic, but biodynamic, hand planted, hand harvested, washed with pure spring water from hokkaido, vacuum packed and delivered under a certified HAACP procedure.

Bern said...

FYI, we also got a plate of pig's skin and a portion of winter melon, both of which don't appear here because I forgot to take pictures. But, I think it really was the beef that resulted in the astonishingly high bill.

Anonymous said...

HB, no no all the prices are inflated. Let me continue : for $1 per wantan, the shrimps had better be deveined, freshly murdered (ie right from the tank) and undergone UV light disinfection. The wantan skin had better be made from organic flour and eggs and seasoned with fleur de sel. For $8 for the assorted mushrooms they had better come from organic farms in japan. And $5 for chicken, it had better come airflown from bresse (alive and throat slit in the kitchen).

Bern said...

Hmm, you make a very valid point that everything is overpriced here.

Anonymous said...

Yes and let me just add something that i just noticed. If you look at the white mushrooms (big pieces) on the right top of the plate, there are BLEMISHES. oh boy, i can get a full pack of white mushrooms without blemises at the supermarket and 8 bucks get you this kind of quality? roll eyes.

Anonymous said...

very disappointed with the service.
they have a habit to push u to order as much as possible even they knew it too much to finish.
at the end of the day, they keep the food back but u still hv to settle the bill .
i try to reason with them to take some back or cancel some tht is stil no deliver but they rejected it. alway to tell u tht the order have been register and it on the way. crazy, why waste it if we cannot finish it..i beginning to feel that the r like desperate sale person try to help the restuarant to make a high turn over irregardless of customers need.

both restuarant i hv try at ion n 111 somerset road.. the behaviour are all the same.. "eat until u die" attitude....dun go there unless u r ready to "kill" yrslf trying to finish off the food....

Bern said...

I didn't really get the same "pushy service" u got...but yes, it was still an overpriced, overhyped and unsatisfactory meal.

Food Esteem - yummy food do not come to you | you find them | said...

The sauces do look interesting to me, but the food wise is not worth it..


Bern said...

totally agree!

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