It's been a year since we last dined at this Imperial Treasure outlet. I've realised that I always dine here whenever I utilise my birthday discount at Ferragamo @ Paragon every year. Every year, after opening my notification-of-birthday-discount letter, the "standard operating procedure" is to inform all of my girlfriends about the birthday discount (because it's good to share!), arrange for a day, after work, to meet up at the boutique, and then buy up half the store. Because everyone turns up at different times, and also because everyone takes forever to decide on their purchases, it's usually past 9.30 pm that everyone's finally done with their shopping. By that time, only Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck and Crystal Jade Golden Palace, both on the 5th floor, remain as viable dinner options.
Despite the timing (9.30pm on a Friday night), the restaurant was still a full house and we had to settle for a coffee table at the bar area outside the restaurant. This place really does a roaring trade. I think it all boils down to efficient professional service, reasonable prices and consistently delicious food.
The Sauteed Scallops with Italian White Truffle Oil ($14 per 1-person portion) is an absolute MUST-ORDER, even if it's a bit pricey. This is the first time we've ever had it, despite being Imperial Treasure regulars, and we totally fell in love with the first mouthful. Succulent plump scallops are lightly seared and set upon a bed of fluffy scrambled egg whites then tossed in aromatic truffle oil. Only 3 things comprise this dish but what results is such an amazing confluence of flavours. Even my burps smelled delicious! (a bit gross, I know, but that's how good this was)
We also had the Claypot Chicken ($15) that was supposedly served with pork liver as well, but we opted to leave the liver out. Liver is also one of the things I never really liked, even goose liver, and especially pork liver. It's one of those foods that apparently have nourishing properties for women (the Chinese believe that liver is good for replenishing the blood supply because it has lots of iron) but I've never liked the taste of it. This claypot dish had a very homely appeal, with tender juicy chicken morsels coated in sticky oyster sauce, enlivened by spring onions while grounded by ginger slices.
I like that the Sauteed Sliced US Beef with Fresh Mushroom ($18) isn't overtly tender so much so it practically disintegrates into a mush in the mouth. The red meat has a mild sinewy texture that walks the fine balance between firm and soft and the mushrooms are firm and juicy, while the carrots are crunchy and sweet.
The Poached Seasonal Vegetable ($16) with 3 varieties of eggs has a grainy broth as a result of the yolks from salted eggs stirred into the light soupy base. Delicate without being tasteless, this was well-executed.
The Steamed Egg White with Mushroom ($14) is another must-try here, but you'll have to tell the staff to hold off the coriander in this, as the strong herb totally overwhelms the delicate dish. The egg whites are whipped and steamed into a wobbly custard lightness, then doused with a starchy oyster sauce gravy and diced white button mushrooms.
Imperial Treasure does one of the best renditions of our local favourite, the Sauteed Prawn with Salted Egg Yolk ($24). Salted egg yolks form a crusty layer over the deshelled prawns so they remain moist and juicy and crunchy. This isn't a dish that assaults the tastebuds, but rather, it gently teases you with its simple flavours and complex textures.
I love the Crabmeat with Conpoy & Diced Melon Soup ($8 per 1-person portion) here, it's one of my all-time favourite soups. The clear broth is super umami and rich in flavour, with generous and plentiful ingredients, chewy yellow fungus, sweet shredded crabmeat, button mushrooms, diced winter melons and shredded conpoy.
I like that the Sweetened Sago with Mango Juice ($5 per 1-person portion) has an almost creamy consistency, with the mango blended till smooth into mango juice. Bits of pomelo cut through the sweetness with a hint of bitterness.
The Honey Dew Melon with Sago ($4 per 1-person portion) is sweet and refreshing, with the use of crushed ice so this is really cold.
Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck
290 Orchard Road
Tel: 6732 7838
Open Mondays to Fridays from 11.30am to 2.45pm for lunch;
Saturdays from 11am to 3pm for lunch;
Sundays from 10.30am to 3pm for lunch;
Daily from 6pm to 10.30pm for dinner