My youngest brother just turned 21, a landmark age, and we decided to celebrate by treating him and his girlfriend to Sunday brunch at one of our favorite Cantonese restaurant chains, Imperial Treasure. Luckily for us, we managed to snag last-minute reservations at the Paragon outlet of the Super Peking Duck arm of the Imperial Treasure group of restaurants. It's one of our fail-safe options for a guaranteed good meal, I don't think we've ever had a bad meal at Imperial Treasure, yet.
I've long associated the Imperial Treasure chain with Crystal Jade group of restaurants, considering that Imperial Treasure was set up by people that used to run Crystal Jade. However, Imperial Treasure has started to distinguish itself in terms of its varied menu (there are like 15 different ways of cooking every single meat or seafood!) and particular dishes. There are a couple of beloved items on Imperial Treasure's menu that I simply can't find at Crystal Jade.
We started off with a Steamed Marble Goby ($68) Hongkong-style, with the most delicate of soy blends dressing the equally mild fish. Fantastically well-executed dish.
The Double Boiled Yellow Melon Soup ($15) with mixed seafood was delightfully light and clear, with an excellent stock base and packed with white button mushrooms, bamboo pith, diced melon, scallops and prawns. I especially liked scraping off the sides of the hollowed out melon to eat, just like with a coconut.
Another excellent broth was the Double Boiled White Cabbage and Bamboo Pith Soup ($12) with mushroom. It's amazing how much flavour is steeped from just 3 ingredients and a very commendable soup base.
The Hubs felt like carbs that day so he ordered the Steamed Red Bean Buns ($3.30).
The rounded globes of soft fluffy buns revealed a most scrumptiously smooth and sweetened red bean paste.
We also had a portion of the Steamed Rice Roll with BBQ Pork ($4.80), thin and chewy layers of rice rolls interspersed with charred barbecued pork cubes.
The boys needed their red meat, and we had the Sauteed Diced Beef ($24) with black pepper. Full-bodied, tender and moist, with a light smoky accent due to the prevalence of the grounded black pepper, these were very well done.
I know we had fish already but I couldn't resist the Sauteed Sliced Garoupa ($20) with vegetable, which I ended up loving to bits. A ridiculously simple but brilliantly executed dish, thick slices of fleshy grouper were simply flash fried with celery and garlic to allow the naturally clear taste of the fish to shine. This is going on my list of must-trys here.
The vegetarian Braised Assorted Mushroom & Fungus with Bamboo Pith ($22) had a thick luscious oyster sauce gravy lightly coating the crunchy greens. Well done but nothing I couldn't get from other Cantonese restuarants.
We also got a small portion of the Roasted Duck ($16), soft and tender with amazing fragrance. Good but not as amazing as the Oversea Restaurant one.
What's a visit to Imperial Treasure without my favourite must-try? They didn't have the usual scallops that day but offered to switch it out with fresh Norwegian scallops instead. The Scallop Sauteed with Egg White and Truffle Oil ($14 each), with roe and all, was still yummy and an immediate hit, but I'm not a fan of the roe and sinewy bits. I understand they do a crabmeat version of this, I just might try it the next time!
We finished off with Fried Rice with Dried Scallop, Crabmeat and Egg White ($18), a most satisfying way to round off the very good meal. Requisite wok hei, check. Generous ingredients, check. Fantastic flavour, check. We were way too full after this to attempt the dessert section.
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