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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Crystal Jade Steamboat Kitchen @ Plaza Singapura

Crystal Jade started its restaurant operations at Plaza Singapura in 1999 as Crystal Jade Kitchen.  In recent years, due to growing demand, it also offered steamboat during dinner time.  This outlet had recently been revamped to "Crystal Jade Steamboat Kitchen" whereby you can find all-you-can-eat steamboat with free flow drinks and soft ice-cream.  How about their usual Cantonese ala-carte dishes and dim sum?  Good news for their die-hard fans.  Traditional Cantonese favourites such as dim sum, roasted meats, congee etc will still be served for lunch and dinner so that you can have best of both worlds.
 Crystal Jade Steamboat Kitchen offers a wholesome spread of more than 35 ingredients including sliced meat (beef/ chicken/ pork), mussels, mushrooms and vegetables.

The sliced meat here were for display purposes only.  Those that you order are kept refrigerated and will only be served to you upon orders.  This is to ensure freshness of the meat.  :)
 Let us walk through the buffet section...

There are many different types of condiments for buffet diners to create their own dipping sauces.  Looking at the colourful bowls here make everything so appetizing.  For me, I took a bit of each condiment and mixed them together.  I like the sesame sauce and their housemade special sauce, so I put more of these 2 sauces into my dipping bowl.  Other condiments include Sambal Belacan, Thai dipping sauce, fresh cilantro, spring onions, garlic etc.  
  To make the steamboat buffet even more value-for-money, you can also find free flow of drinks (Soft drinks or hot beverages such as coffee and tea) and soft ice-cream here.  All are included in the buffet! 

As we were happily chatting away, we didn't realize that the induction cooker was actually embedded in our table until Samantha showed us.  See! It was nicely camouflaged in the table.

 For this tasting session, we were served with two different types of soup bases, namely pork's bones soup (left) and curry soup (right).  Crystal Jade Steamboat Kitchen offers diners six different soup bases.  The other soup bases include Tomato Soup, Miso Soup, Superior Soup and Spicy Mala soup.

 The temperature control was found underneath at one side of the table.  It is really easy to operate, just need to press either the "up" or "down" button to control the temperature.
 While waiting for our soup bases to boil, we enjoyed their cooked items such as Deep Fried Fish Skin, Deep Fried Chicken Skin and Deep Fried Mushroom Stems that were offered at the buffet line.  They served as pretty good snacks, crunchy and not oily.
We were served with some of their popular ala-carte roasted combination platter and dim sums before we dipped into the steamboat.

Roasted Combination Platter ($25.80/ per serving)
This is one of your "must-order" dishes if you are here at Crystal Jade.  As I was typing this post, just by looking at this photo of the roasted combination platter, made me drool and want to go back so much to the restaurant.  The roasted duck meat was tender and I loved the caramelised crispy duck skin.  The duck meat had a rich flavour as it was seasoned with various Chinese herbs stuffed in the stomach before being roasted.  The roasted pork belly was juicy with a crisp pork-crackling.  The quality pork belly was seasoned with salt and five spice powder and roasted for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Last but not least, the honey barbecued pork, with fats that melt in your mouth, was flavourful and tender too.       
Plum and mustard sauce were served with the platter as dips.  It is recommended to dip the roasted duck meat with the plum sauce and the roasted pork belly with mustard sauce.  

Dim sums served at Crystal Jade definitely are of a certain good standard.
Steamed Shrimp Dumpling "Ha-Kau"  ($4.60/per serving of 3 pieces) 
 Deep-fried Yam Puff with Minced Meat  ($4/ per serving of 3 pieces)
 Generous minced meat fillings inside.

 Steamed Pork and Shrimp with Crab Roe Dumpling "Siew Mai"  ($4.20/per serving of 3 pieces)
 Pan-Fried Fish Cake with Radish ($4/ per serving of 3 pieces)
This dish was something new to us.  We were introduced to this old-school dim sum in Hong Kong that is now difficult to find and of course, I have not seen this in Singapore so far.  This dim sum is made by stuffing minced fresh fish cake and radish between two layers of wonton skin.
 After feasting on the roasted meat platter and dim sums, let us get back to our steamboat.  
Beef slices - note that they are all very thinly sliced so they will be cooked easily.
 Chicken Slices.
 Pork Slices.

Home-made Minced Pork Paste and Home-made Minced Chicken Paste were served in small square trays.  Diners can try to scoop them and shape them into meatballs to cook them in the soup.

 I tried the pork bones' soup first as I was afraid the curry would numb my taste-bud.  In fact, I love the pork bones' soup so much that I had several bowls of it until I was too full to really try the curry soup.  The soup was light and sweet.  

Will be great to end off your meal with a sweet note by having some soft ice-cream.
It was an enjoyable meal at Crystal Jade Steamboat Kitchen.  Sam and I had a great steamboat dining experience in a very cosy and comfortable setting.  Thanks Joh Ju from Pinstripes Communications for this invitation and of course, Samantha from Crystal Jade for hosting the dinner.

Crystal Jade Steamboat Kitchen
Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road #02-32 S238868
Tel: 63362833

Opening Hours:
Mon - Sat: 11am to 9:45pm
Sun & PH: 10:30am to 9:45pm

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Violet Fig Jam and Matzo Bread from the House of Albert Menes, Cafedirect Freeze-dried Medium Roast instant coffee [Product Review]

I had received the following 3 food items for review:
1)  Violet Fig Jam and 
2)  Matzo Bread from the House of Albert Menes;
3)  Cafedirect Freeze-dried Medium Roast instant coffee.  
About Albert Menes:
It was founded in 1921 by Monsieur Albert Menes in Brittany, France.  The House of Albert Menes began operations when Albert started importing and distributing fine grocery products after develping a taste of passion for exotic ingredients during his numerous overseas trips as a sailor.  The House of Albert Menes registered its trademark in 1986 and grew into a real and vibrant conservatory of fine food.  Today, it offers a range of over 350 items and 21 categories of fine foods.
The Violet Fig Jam is made from carefully selected whole figs grown in Soilles-Pont in Var, south of France. This was my first time trying the fig jam and I was pretty excited about it.  I had dried fig drink before when I went to Poison Ivy restaurant at Bollywood Veggies for lunch.  It was very refreshing.  Figs are well known for their many health benefits.   They are high in natural sugars, minerals and soluble fibre. Figs are rich in minerals including potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and copper and are a good source of antioxidant vitamins A, E and K that contribute to health and wellness.  The fig seeds are retained in the jam and you can also find chunky pieces of fig flesh in the jam which give the jam a very rich texture.  The natural taste of the whole fruit is preserved in this bottle of jam.
This was the first time that I tried Matzo Bread.  Appearance wise, it looked like a big piece of crispy crackers, pricked with holes and looked a bit charred.  It is made solely of selected wheat flour and water, and no salt is added.  Many might find it bland.  I tried a piece on its own before I paired it up with the fig jam.  The Matzo bread was light and crispy, with a slight hint of charred taste.  

 Packaging of the Matzo Bread.  You will need a container of the same size to store the bread after opening the package.

So.. I spread the fig jam onto the Matzo bread.  There were generous amount of fig flesh inside the jam and the jam definitely went well with the light and crispy Matzo bread.  I had this combination for my breakfast almost daily for a week and I am still not sick of it!  :)  I think this will make a nice snack for afternoon tea as well.
The Violet Fig Jam ($18) and the Matzo Bread ($9) are sold at Market Place at Paragon, Raffles City and Tanglin Mall, Jasons the Gourmet Grocer @ ION Orchard and Sentosa Quayside as well as Robinsons Orchard.

Cafedirect, an UK hot beverage company, has stocked shelves of top supermarkets here with a carefully-blended, premium Medium Roast Freeze-Dried instant coffee.  I am more of a tea person but decided to give this coffee a try.  I didn't add any milk or sugar to the coffee, just hot water and surprisingly, I found the flavour quite robust.   
Using freeze-dried technology, the essence of flavours in the coffee are captured.  To help consumer select a coffee strength, Cafedirect has placed a numbered icon on the label.  The Freeze-dried Medium Roast is a 3 which means that it is a medium roast coffee, perfectly balancing roasted notes with the full flavour of the beans where neither overwhelms the other.
Cafédirect Freeze-dried Medium Roast Instant Coffee is priced at $10.90 per 100g jar.  It is available at major supermarkets like Cold Storage, FairPrice Finest, Giant Hyper, Jasons and Market Place.

Thanks Mileage Communications for the samples.