The Crystal Jade Group of restaurants is one of those reliable chain-name restaurants that one can always depend on for a good meal. Of the lot, the biracial Teochew-Cantonese Golden Palace branch at Paragon is the most refined and my pick for a meal that'll definitely impress. The imposing décor with deep red and sexy black hues, luxurious chandeliers and large cavernous hall, is matched by the exquisite fare and generally faultless service.
The Roasted Crispy Chicken ($22 for half) was very commendable; moist and succulent with a thin, paper-crisp skin. Still, I thought Wah Lok's version is marginally better; so tasty it didn't need any salt at all. CJ Golden Palace's version still needed the occasional salt dips for full-on flavour.
The Braised Mushroom with 2 Types of Vegetables ($26) was unexpectedly delicious. I usually shy away from those thick fibrous crunchy stalks of green veggies but these had been braised to a denture-soft texture so it required the barest of chew.
One of my favourite dishes, the Stewed Seafood with Beancurd Casserole ($28) was, as usual, very good. Scallops and prawns and sliced fish and squid were impossibly fresh, cooked perfectly to a juicy, not rubbery, finish, and doused in a luscious oyster sauce gravy bubbling away in the pre-heated claypot.
The recent "cool-er" weather is perfect for indulging in soup, and the Sichuan Spicy & Sour Soup ($11) here hits the comfort button squarely. Thick, smooth and bold, this was an explosion of the spicy and piquant.
Crystal Jade Golden Palace
290 Orchard Road
Tel: 6734 6866
Open Mondays to Fridays from 11.30am to 3pm, 6pm to 11pm
Saturdays from 11am to 3pm, 6pm to 11pm
Sundays from 10.30am to 3pm, 6pm to 11pm