It's fairly well-known that Peony Jade offers one of the most value-for-money ala carte lunch buffets around. Over the Lunar New Year period, the venerable Cantonese restaurant kicked it up a notch with their luxed-up Spring Festival 'Fa Cai' Dim Sum Brunch ($43.88 per adult). The mind-boggling buffet was, like all buffets, a mixed bag of hits and misses, but with a couple of standouts that would make taking a long languid lunch here worthwhile. Just be sure you don't have any meetings scheduled after lunch.
The Atlantic Salmon Yusheng was simple, but delicious. The julienned greens were even, crisp, sweet, and salmon sparkling fresh. I note this year's novel ingredient - fried fish skin, adds a hardy crunch to the Chinese New Year salad.
The Hongkong-Style Deep Fried Soon Hock was swimmingly fresh, and delectably crunchy. This, and the sharks fin soup, would make the buffet cost worthwhile.
The Eight Treasures Sharks Fin Broth was a smidge too starchy and lacking in depth, but bountiful in fins.
The Peony Jade Steamed Har Kau was surprisingly refined, with a thin but resilient skin, and sweet bouncy prawns.
The rustic Steamed Glutinous Rice, swaddled in aromatic lotus leaves, was moist, soft and riddled with plentiful ingredients.
The mint-hued Steamed Salted Egg Yolk Bun was pillowy soft, lightly fragranced with pandan and filled with custard both smooth and grainy at once.
The cheong fun at Peony Jade were commendable; the rolls were the right amount of thin. The Steamed Prawns Rice Flour Roll was flush with springy diced shrimps, complemented by the delicate soy sauce.
The Char Siew Rice Roll was stuffed with honeyed barbecue pork, but I wish they'd been more lavish with the filling.
The Steamed Pork & Shrimp Dumpling Siew Mai was nice but forgettable.
The Steamed Phoenix Claws was spiked with Sichuan chilli and black bean sauce for a subtle heat.
A must-try, the Fried Radish Cake, scrambled with beansprouts and eggs in XO sauce, was seriously awesome.
The vapid Beancurd Skin Roll with Prawns and Seaweed was unfortunately speckled with coriander (urghh).
The Deep Fried Prawn Roll was layered with banana, mayo and sesame seeds, was a little uneven and unmemorable.
Ditto for the Crispy Prawn Dumpling, sided by a mayo dip. Somehow, this reminded me of the coffeeshop variety ones.
The Pork & Century Egg Congee was surprisingly good. Smooth with a hint of grain, rich in depth of flavour, and dotted with pork strips.
Skip the Barbecued Pork and Crispy Roast Chicken, these were pedestrian, and dry-ish.
The Amaranth Poached in Superior Stock was simple but delicious. Clean, clear and light.
The Stir-Fried Spinach in Oyster Sauce was velvety and rich, balancing out the metallic tendencies of the greens.
Another must-try is the flavourful Fried Mee Sua laced with char siew, eggs, beansprouts, onions and mushrooms.
The Wok-Fried Beef Hor Fan with oodles of softly scrambled egg and tender beef slices was pretty scrumptious too.
My favourite dessert here, the refreshing Mango Sago, was tinged with pomelo for a sour hit.
The Glutinous Black Sesame Dumpling in Ginger Tea was served hot for added comfort. An excellent digestive.
The Cream of Red Bean, served chilled, was balanced and sweet and nutty.
The first serving of Cheng Tng was less than fresh, so we sent it back. Its replacement was a lot better, but a tad saccharine.
Peony Jade Restaurant
10 Bukit Chermin Road
Keppel Club Mezzanine level
Tel: 6276 9138
Open weekdays from 11am to 2.30pm for lunch; 6pm to 10.30pm for dinner
weekends from 10.30am to 2.30pm for lunch; 6pm to 11pm for dinner