Finally, the real McCoy in Singapore. None of the chew to death duck skin and meat, nor the fake egg crepe that many Chinese restaurants serve. Imperial Treasure's latest venture brings the quintessential dish of China's capital to Singapore and does a pretty authentic job of it. It isn't quite the standard of my favourite at Grand Hyatt Beijing's Made in China but 6 hours south of Beijing, Imperial Treasure's outlet at the Paragon can satisfy a craving.
The duck is carved table side fresh from the oven and the chef is pretty impressive with his knife skills. Quick and deft, he quickly separates the various cuts into different plates for us. The first piece is pure skin, fragrant from the fat which has melted away, but leaving a glistening finish and a perfect crisp, you dunk this into the sugar plate, put in in your mouth, and smile.
One cut is skin and meat in equal thickness.. not my favourite since the meat here is closer to the breast, and not tender... but the skin makes up for it.
This cut works well in the soft and slightly chewy crepe, giving it a nice bite and contrasted with the fresh cucumber and the julienned spring onion to give it some heat and kick.
The other cut which I quite like on its own has less skin but tender dark meat... great to savour if you have a glass of Burgundy in hand too.
Although we don't get a second course in Beijing, Imperial Treasure does offer the option and we went with noodles since it was Grandma's birthday. They do a mean flat egg noodle (or mee pok if you are from these parts) stir fried with Shanghainese snow vegetable and the duck slices. The nice crunch from the vegetables and bean sprouts are a nice contrast to the al dente noodles and meaty slices.
Unfortunately, we weren't too impressed by the other things we ordered. The appetisers of "kao fu" which is a Shanghainese special of braised gluten with kidney beans, and the other of "bang bang" chicken was less than ordinary and frankly, a waste of space. We were actually thankful for our vegetables never showing up. Good thing they served the duck first!
The only other dish we liked was the sea perch with chillies done Hunan style - one of the late Chairman Mao's favourite dishes. The oily fish went well with the chilli and sichuan pepper laced soy based sauce and fortunately was very tolerable in terms of the heat factor.
All in all, a great place to visit for the duck but needs work on the other dishes and the service. We would really have liked our vegetables - that's why we ordered it; and better service wouldn't hurt too - aside from the duck, which I pre-ordered cleverly so we wouldn't have to wait (it takes an hour to prepare), they need to know what the chefs are good at and do a better job of suggesting dishes to order, and not just push the usual Cantonese stuff, which does not really complement the place.
290 Orchard Road
#05-42/45 The Paragon Tel: +65 6732 7838