Please allow me to do a comparison in this post.
Yesterday, I blogged about the tapas we had in Mis Trucos.
Today I am going to blog about Chinese Dim Sum in The Jade Restaurant. I think this is going to be a bit fair comparison because The Jade restaurant is not a cheapo dim sum joint.
The Jade Restaurant is located on Alexandra Road.
This is the kind of restaurant that you will see a fair number of Mercedes and BMWs in the parking lot.
We don’t normally go to Chinese restaurants that have high ceilings and chandeliers. Those kind of places are reserved for special occasions.
There are not just one … but several chandeliers.
And that explains why we had never been here before. We were put off by the chandeliers.
And the captains wear suits too. The tables have double table cloth. The banquet hall is bright and large. This type of restaurants are designed for banquet dinners. The smallest table is meant for four people. For morning dim sums on a weekend, it is usually a family affair. So seeing multi-generation families are not uncommon.
The only reason we were brave enough to step into here was because we read of the review from Wendy (Eat N About). It seems like the prices were not as bad as I feared.
You know what sucks here? The service. It was not that it was bad all round but a lot of the waiters/waitresses “tai yan” — that means that they have extra good service to the richer tai-tai’s (from the way they dressed and speak in Cantonese) while for us English speaking customers, we are left with the whatever they wished to dish to us.
That is the problem with such successful Chinese restaurants. They are so popular and have so many customers than they can handle, they can afford to select their customers. For some customers, we see that the waiters were always milling around waiting to fill the tea cups for them. For us, when we ask for anything, we were told to “mmm goi tang-tang” (please wait) and they don’t come back. When we ask them again, they give that annoyed look.
So when dining in such places, you got to deal with this or you are better off not going at all. IF … if you can look beyond this, dining in The Jade is good in every sense.
The Jade Restaurant opens at 9AM. So we were there early because their dim sum is really cheap in the first hour from 9AM – 11AM.
My tip to you is to go at 10’ish and order the first round of cheap dim sums and then follow-up with the better (more expensive) dim-sums at 11AM when the sifu (master chef) arrives in the kitchen.
When we arrived, the place was pretty empty. By 11AM, the whole place was buzzing with activity and there was already a number of people waiting for a table.
We ordered the ‘Bo Lei’ tea. It was a very dark tea … much darker than coffee but the flavour was not overly strong. This is one of the more unusual Chinese tea. You might want to try it if you had never before.
The menu does indicate the availability according to time. Click on the menu above to display it larger. If you don’t know what to order, just go for the ones that is marked with a red star. Those are their specialties.
But anyway, the prices of the dim sums between 9-11AM is $4 – $5 but have a limited selection.
After 11AM the prices ranges from $7 – $10 with more varieties like congee, noodles, and some special price items.
We thought it was not too expensive for a classy-looking place like this.
Arkensen and Nanzaro wanted cheong fun. Suanne and I decided to get one that you don’t normally find in other dim sum restaurants. This one has mushrooms and scallops. The boys protested saying that they don’t want this because it has vegetables (mushrooms!) in it. We tried to reason that this has scallops and they will like it. Well, rather than prolonging the debate, I just over-ruled their protest. Guess what … they love it. LOL! They just don’t want to listen to their mum and dad anymore.
They use fine inoki mushrooms. The scallop was most unique and has a very exquisite taste.
This is $5.28. For the non-Chinese, did you know why the price is so oddly ends with twenty eight cents? The number 8 is an auspicious number to the Chinese because the word sounded like “wealth”. The number 2 is a word that sounds like “easy”. So in combination, 28 is “easy wealth”. That is why you find that the Chinese will pay to get car license plate with the number “8” in it.
In some Chinese cities, people pays hundreds of thousands of dollars for not just car license numbers but for things like phone numbers, the floor of an office building, etc. Even the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony kicked off on 08/08/08 at 8:08 PM.
If the number 8 is auspicious, the number 4 is to be avoided by the Chinese … because it meant “death”. LOL!
Despite protests across the table, we went ahead and ordered the Steamed Mushroom Dumpling ($4.98). The Jade restaurant makes their dumpling very well. The wrap is so thin and translucent that you could virtually see what is inside. This one has shitake mushroom and has a unique flavour.
It was so good that you don’t really need chili sauce or sweet soy sauce to dip. I think pure Cantonese dim sums does not provide the dipping sauces unless you ask for them specifically. Is that right?
Our waiter recommended this. The Steamed Eggplant with Black Bean Sauce ($4.48) was kind of oversteamed because the eggplant is too soft and mushy.
We like the version we had at Royal Dinner and Dance better.
For some reason, they gave us this one above when we ordered the Supreme Dumpling in Soup. Their Supreme Dumpling in soup is their specialty.
We thought that it would be good to try dumpling with lamb meat for a change. The Pan Fried Lamb Dumpling is $4.48.
They serve this with sweet soy sauce mixed with chili, cilantro and garlic which was really good with the gamey tasting lamb dumpling.
So many dumplings right? This one is called Steamed Chiu Chau Dumpling ($4.48).
The skin is so thin that we got to be careful picking it up. The crunchy texture of the fillings inside was great. It consists of turnip/jicama, chives, dried prawns, pork and peanuts. Loaded! It crumbles when you bite into it and so you want to eat it placed on a spoon.
The best part of the meal has got to be this simple dish. This item is only available after … 10AM and is on a separate menu which they only hand out after 10AM. After 10AM, we ordered more items from their expanded menu.
This is called Fried Noodle with Julienne Meat Sauce ($6.99). We ordered this simply because we saw the neighboring table order this. It looked so unique because it came with a plate of noodles separate with a claypot. We did not even ask exactly what it is and said we’ll get that.
This is the way that such crispy noodles must be served …
… the meat sauce is served separately from the crispy thin yellow noodles so that they do not become too soggy and soft when eaten. This is perfect.
The meat sauce has carrot, mushroom, bean sprout and green onion. There are not much of meat here but the sauce alone with the crispy noodles is what matters here.
I thought that the White Wine Sauce with Clam in French Style ($7.79) sounded out of place in a dim sum menu. I got that just to see what it is.
No one touched it other than me. Suanne decided not to like it which was fine by me. The broth has a funny taste and even has pieces of grapes in it. It was actually nicer when it is eaten with rice — which I did.
The boys wanted rice. We call for the simple Rice in Hot Pot $6.99. There are two options available … Preserved Meat or Dried Squid. We had the Preserved Meat option.
Do you find the perspective of the picture above kind of wrong? That’s what you get sometimes with a wide angle lens. LOL!
Anyway, in this claypot are different kinds of preserved meat and sausages.
It was hard to eat rice with chopsticks on a plate. So we asked for bowls but the bowls never arrive. Service!
Not many people will like the type of meat above. It’s all fat but it is delicious.
The bill came to about $45.54 before tips.
So this works out to be about $12 per person. Let’s compare this dim sum with the tapas in Mis Trucos we had the day before. The bill came to be about $33. In terms of value for money, what do you think? Or if this is even fair to compare that way?
Please let me know your thoughts because I wanted to follow-up on this matter on the next few days.
BTW, The Jade restaurant is good in many respect. I think the only thing you need to be very aware of is the poor service. But I think the poor service can be addressed somewhat — just remember to wear your wedding jewelry and get one of the faux BMW key fob and place it on the table. Oh, if you have a cheapo cell phone, keep that in your pocket. With this few simple tips, this may turn out to be one of the best dim sums you will ever have.
Sorry for the sarcasm but service was bad for us.