We revisited Cherry Garden over the National Day public holiday with Ernie. Even though it cost a staggering $80 per person (up from the usual $65++ due to the public holiday), it's still cheaper than Yan Ting, the one other notable dim sum buffet restaurant. Plus, we think Cherry Garden trumps Yan Ting's dim sum buffet anyday.
We started off with the palate-cleansing Marinated Jellyfish with Top Shell, full of clean, refreshing, piquant flavours with a touch of umami-ness from the firm, not rubbery, shellfish.
We also had the Seasonal Vegetables in XO Sauce, our favourite vegetable option for its spicy, dried seafood accents. This time round, baby kailan was added to the mix of asparagus, shimeiji, white button and shitake mushrooms.
The Slow-Cooked Beef Brisket was meltingly tender, with a little chew to the sinewy cut of meat. Chunks of radish lent crunch.
The Roasted Pork Ribs was another melt-in-your-mouth dish, coated in a luxurious spicy Sichuan sauce.
The Steamed Mini Abalone Siew Mai with Pork and Mushrooms was fresh, bouncy and juicy.
The Steamed Bamboo Pith and Prawn Dumplings ("Har Gow"), dusted with edible gold powder for a luxe touch, was a must-try. Fresh succulent shrimp encased in a thin chewy skin.
The Crystal Dumplings with Assorted Mushrooms and Pumpkin is my personal favourite. The sweetness of diced pumpkin melded perfectly with the juicy mushrooms and the chewy glutinous skin.
The Hubs and Ernie love the Wok-fried Waxed Meat Radish Cake with Silver Sprouts in XO Sauce. Perfectly fried, with a delectable smoky accent, and the right balance of egg, beansprouts and radish flour cake.
I know some people think that soup is such a "space-waster", but I love the Double Boiled Trio of Mushrooms Soup. It's like a herbal savoury soupy version of "cheng teng" because of the red dates in this. White fungus, spongy bamboo pith, baby corn, and wolfberries round off the numerous ingredients in this clear clean broth.
The Wok-fried Kurobuta Pork with garlic, leek, and honshimeiji mushrooms is another great dish. Tender pork sauteed in a garlicky velvety oyster sauce.
The Braised Cod Fillet with Spinach Tofu is my favourite main dish of the lot, with custard smooth beancurd cubes, lightly battered cod fillets and Chinese black mushrooms braised in a silky delicate oyster sauce gravy.
The Deep-fried Mantou with Chilli Crab Dip makes for a great induction to our local beloved chilli crab dish, sans the messy fingers. Generously laden with shredded fresh crabmeat, the sauce was a little milder than what I'm used to, but still likeably spicy.
The Mandarin Oriental
5 Raffles Ave
Tel: 6338 0066 / 6885 3030
Open daily from 12noon to 2.30pm for lunch and 6.30pm to 10.30pm for dinne