This was the challenge posted to us. Compare Paradise Pavilion's Peking duck and the one from the competitor group. We were scratching our heads at the end of the session. Read on for our verdict. The heat is on.
Ok... here we go...
Ok... we were given a brief tour of the premise and was surprised to find private rooms hidden. They really are keeping it private. Very elegantly decorated and it makes a great place to host business lunches and private dinners. As of all private room usage, minimum spending applies. Do enquire when making the booking.
Yes... that's a table for 16.
Paradise Pavilion is only accessible via a private lift. On arrival, you will be greeted by the sight of the brick oven that was specially designed to prepare the star dish of the restaurant: Peking Duck.
The Peking duck is only roasted upon order. It takes 45 minutes to prepare the duck. So if you are going there just for it, we suggest that you make the order at reservation and be on time. This is so that Pavilion can time the cooking of the duck to perfection. And you can enjoy it piping hot.
We were recommended a host of dishes while waiting for the duck. And we ended up pretty impressed.
Crab and prawn combo. Minimum fuss and your hands remains clean. The bamboo shoots with mustard (with the crab) is delightful but probably an acquired taste for people who are not accustomed or like bamboo shoots.
Double boiled whelk soup.
This cod is excellent with the creamy golden sauce. Glossy lips anyone?
Tou fu in truffle sauce. Fine balance of decadence and silky tou fu.
Here comes the star. Sorry, chef, you gotta share the limelight with the duck.
Yes, the condiments that came along with the duck. The haw san strips is to clean the palate after eating the duck. So thoughtful right?
First, the duck breast skin, which is the fattiest and crispiest part of the duck is served first. It is suggested that we dip it in sugar. It is crazy. The fats and the crisp. Imagine that with the sugar granules. It tasted like it's glazed with a thin layer of sugar. You gotta try it to believe it.
Then the rest of the duck carefully carved up and served. The meat tender, moist. We thought it was very nicely done and goes exceptionally well with the crispy skin. Young ducks are used so that the amount of fat is just nice and with the cooking time of 45 mins, just the right amount of the duck melts into the meat (which explains the moist, tender meat), leaving just enough to (again) leave you with glossy lips. It goes well with the condiments served together and gives a different experience.
Remember that the duck is roasted using apple wood? We thought the smoky-ness of the duck was just nice. Not till the bacon level, just a very slight hint of it, as you would expect from something wood roasted. The rustic taste transports us to the good old taste of imperial times but at the comfort (and superb view) of Paradise Pavilion. The apple you ask? Can't taste it. Probably had already cut into the fats and into the meat.
Verdict: Awesome. (They serve suckling pig too. One day advance order is required.)
We ended the meal with fried rice. Crab meat and fish roe. The stand out? We think it's the soy sauce used to fry the rice. Excellent end to the meal and had to be one of the best fried rice we had. Maybe it had something to do with the duck.
Desserts were notable. The recommended dessert avocado cream is not available. One stand out is the Japanese sweet potato cream. Didn't expect it to be in this form, but it's excellent!
Both groups offer great Peking duck. With very different style and approach. If you like a subtle, gentle and lovingly roasted Peking duck that is done to perfection and with the array of condiments, Paradise Pavilion is the place for you.