Some of you regular readers will be familiar with my many declarations of love for the Imperial Treasure group of restaurants. I suppose that's why one of my (incredibly thoughtful and practical) girlfriends bought us an Imperial Treasure dining voucher as a housewarming gift. (Thanks again Cass!)
The Paragon branch of the Super Peking Duck arm has become our regular dabao place now that we've moved back into the city because the mall's on our way home. (Actually, all of the restaurants on Paragon's stable of dining options are on our favourites' phonelist!) When we call ahead and order, there aren't any parking charges incurred because popping in-and-out of the mall is well within the garage's grace period. And because their menu is so extensive (there are like 20 odd variants for each protein or fibre!), we seldom have the same meal twice.
On our grocery runs though, we do take the opportunity to have a sit-down meal at the restaurant. This is a culmination of several meals here. While the quality of both the food and service is generally and relatively higher than most other places, peak dining hours over the weekends will invariably result in lapses and inconsistencies. Like, once on a Saturday evening, all of our dishes were notably seasoned by a chef who evidently hates salt. Or another Friday dinner where we were relegated to the very sad and quite pathetic counter seats facing the mirror. It was, at the very least, disconcerting to watch ourselves eat.
Also, I've now revised my assessment of their Peking Duck ($68), which has definitely improved since the first time I've had it. We also regularly pack this home when we host dinners on Friday nights with friends (service at home is infinitely better than a crowded af restaurant at peak hour).
Key to the peking duck is to opt for the remaining duck meat to be fried with salt and pepper ($24), which really brings out the robust flavour of the duck.
The Spinach Beancurd with Mushrooms ($16)is one of my favourite ways to incorporate greens into any picky eater's diet. Even my nephew loves this! Silky mushroom laden oyster sauce is slathered over smooth spinach-blended beancurd and poached Chinese spinach.
The Braised Beancurd with Mushrooms and Vegetables ($14) was good, but not as noteworthy as Wah Lok's version. The beancurd just isn't as clean and clear in flavour, and the oyster sauce was a tad plain, it was lacking in the richness of the one at Wah Lok.
The Barbecued Pork with Honey ($14) is sumptuous though, with a lovely honeyed glaze and tender moist meat punctuated with slivers of fat.
The Sauteed Sliced Grouper ($28) with carrots, ginger and the seasonal green of celery stalks is one of my favourite dishes here. It's simply seasoned with salt, leaving the freshness of the fish to shine through. A less fresh fish would have been a massive failure of a dish. Mental note to self: always ask for baby cabbage instead of the yucky celery default.
They were out of grouper one of the days, and so we ordered its cousin, Sauteed Sliced Sea Perch with Baby Cabbage ($28). Perch is similar to seabass so while it didn't have that decadent plumpness of grouper, this was firm and light and flaky.
The Sauteed Fillet Chicken with Mixed Mushroom ($16) is another one of my favourites, with succulent chunks of chicken loaded with mushrooms of the shitake, white button and shimeiji variants tossed in a delicate oyster sauce gravy.
Another dish that's a must-try, the Claypot Stewed Beancurd with Minced Beef ($18), a sumptuous concoction of velvety gravy and robust flavours.
The Braised Hor Fan with Prawns and Egg Gravy ($20), or "wah tan hor fan" as it's locally known, is good but also lacked the punch present in Wah Lok's interpretation. Here, instead of using the thin ipoh hor fan strips of kway teow like Wah Lok, the normal thick flat sheets of rice noodles are used. The plain-ish gravy, while lusciously thick, was also under-salted.
The Double Boiled Yellow Melon Soup ($16) with diced prawns, conpoy, fresh crabmeat, fresh scallops, and yellow fungus is delicate but with that delectable depth of flavour from hours of slow simmering fire. A very refined hole of a soup.
The Sweet Corn Thick Soup with Crabmeat ($10) is just choc-a-bloc with piping hot comforting wholesome goodness.
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