We've always seen long queues for lunch and dinner outside Paradise Dynasty and wondered what the fuss was with their signature multi-coloured "xiao long bao" dumplings. Granted, it's kitschy and a novelty alright, but having recently tried it, I really didn't think the dumplings were worth that long a queue.
We were in the area and stopped by for a light tea break, seeing as the restaurant was emptying out after the lunch peak hour. While the restaurant boasts a panoramic view of the Orchard cityscape and a sexy contemporary vibe with its deep reds and black hues, I wasn't particularly impressed with the food. It could be that it's totally overhyped. Its direct contemporaries, the Crystal Jade Xiao Long Bao chain and the Imperial Treasure La Mian Xiao Long Bao chain, have a refinement and authenticity that the Paradise group of restaurants lack. It doesn't help that Paradise Dynasty is staffed by a significant number of mainland Chinese nationals, whose service lack the efficiency, flexibility, experience and warmth of the older aunties staffed by the Crystal Jade and Imperial Treasure restaurants.
We each got the Signature Dynasty Dumplings ($13.80 for 8 pcs) clockwise from top, orange for crab roe, yellow for cheese, white for classic, lilac for garlic, pink for szechuan, peach for foie gras, green for ginseng, middle black for black truffle. They were pretty alright, with thin but hardy skin, with a little chewiness in the texture, and piping hot clear broth. Only 2 stood out, the pink szechuan flavour coz it was tongue-numbingly spicy, and the black truffle one for its aromatic tones. The rest didn't quite stand out because the "extra special additions" were very understated. Overall a novelty item but not something I'd end up craving for.
We also had a Double-Boiled Chicken Soup ($8.80), with was delicate but had depth of flavour, but unfortunately with MSG overtones. That said, the chicken was fork-tender was substantial.
2 Orchard Turn
#04-12A ION Orchard
Tel: 6509 9118
Open weekdays from 11am to 10pm; weekends from 10.30am to 10pm