Our default weekend dim sum spot Lei Garden was booked all out for an event, so we headed to the likely-no-need-reservations Golden Peony, for Sunday brunch. Our dinners at the revered restaurant have always been stellar, so it was very unfortunate that it turned out a lackluster outing.
The dim sum selection sounded luxurious, yet the quality was mostly middling, with the occasional hit here and there. Dismaying, considering the pricing and lauded reputation of the upscale restaurant.
Service was, at least, polished, conscientious and warm. And the ambience was, as usual, understated, elegant and serene.
The Steamed Pork Dumplings ($8.80) crowned with a scallop and caviar was one of the few highs of lunch, mostly because the succulent scallop was grilled to a beautiful caramel.
The Steamed Prawn Dumplings ($6) would have been a winner if not for the celery studs that overwhelmed the delicate sweetness of the prawns.
The Steamed Barbecued Pork Buns ($4.80) was dreadfully anemic; it had way too much bun and filled with way too little pork.
The Golden-Fried Beancurd Skin Shrimp Roll ($5.20) probably took a leaf out of Lay's playbook; the roll was stuffed with a miserly paper-thin layer of minced prawns, and puffed up so it'd looked plump and generous.
The Pan-Fried Carrot Cake ($4.80) dotted with Chinese sausage was mediocre. The sausage dice wouldn't have been missed if it wasn't added; it needed a more time on the heat to soften.
The Steamed Vegetarian Dumplings ($5.20) stuffed with white tremella mushrooms, carrots and salted turnip was the second hit; the spinach-laced dumpling wrapper was soft and chewy, and the filling was juicy and flavoursome.
The biggest fail was the Century Egg and Shredded Pork Porridge ($6). It arrived tepid instead of piping hot, and the shredded pork was dry and stringy.
The Wok-Fried Rice Noodles with Sliced Beef ($26) was oily, and the beef tough, dry and chewy.
The Appetizer ($1) of candied carrot sheets and fresh lettuce was, in view of its terribly underwhelming nature, awfully overpriced.
While the imperial pu er tea, costing $5.50 per person, was eye-poppingly pricey, some of the sting was ameliorated by the complimentary finisher of lime juice shot.
2 Temasek Boulevard
Conrad Centennial Singapore
Tel: 6432 7482
Open Mondays to Saturdays from 11.30am to 2.30pm for lunch, 6.30pm to 10.30pm for dinner
Sundays from 10.30am to 2.30pm for lunch, 6.30pm to 10.30pm for dinner