Golden Peony, the Chinese restaurant in Conrad Centennial Singapore, has rolled out a new set menu in collaboration with Jing Tea. While most food establishments wrap up such collaborations by introducing tea pairing menus, Golden Peony takes it one step further by infusing tea elements into the dishes.
Lest you think the dishes might actually taste like bitter tea leaves, Chef Ku Keung has introduced a creative spin by infusing finer elements of tea culture into the food. Think: the fragrance of chrysanthemum flowers into soup, the crispy texture of Long Jing tea leaves into stir-fried courses, etc. Being a tea lover myself, I was most curious to try out Golden Peony’s tea inspired menu when the team invited me over for dinner.
Golden Peony’s tea inspired menu is available for both lunch and dinner, with a different menu between the two. Diners can choose to go for the set menu with or without tea pairing. The lunch menu consists of 4 courses while the dinner menu has 6.
The dinner set menu starts off with a dramatic serving of piping hot tea, complete with what must have been dry ice on the container for that smoky effect. The Morning Blossom Pearl Tea, with its flowery notes, goes well as the tea paired with the first three dishes.
This was not my first time at Golden Peony. I vividly remember their specialty being the Roast London Duck. It is actually so popular that they also serve Golden Peony’s roast duck downstairs in Oscar’s during their Sunday brunch. As an appetizer to this set menu, the duck comes in two ways – first as a pancake wrap alongside parma ham, pineapple and crispy beancurd skin, the second way with fragrant shiso leaf as a wrap. There is a third element to this starter – a most fine looking swan made of filo pastry. Inside it is yam with chicken puree.
The dish that came next was no less theatrical. I love a good double-boiled soup and the Wild Chrysanthemum Broth with Abalone – with a small pumpkin serving as a bowl was a nourishing dish to have on a rainy weekend evening. The name on the menu actually doesn’t do this soup justice. I found lots more premium ingredients as I gave the broth within the pumpkin a stir, including generous amounts of scallops.
The next course was listed as a fish dish – Sauteed Sea Perch, Lily Bulb, Gingko Nuts and Wolfberry and topped with Long Jing tea leaves – but was equally veggie with the same ratio of asparagus. I loved the interplay of textures here – with the asparagus being especially crunchy and complementing the lily bulb and gingko nuts. I never imagined fish going well with any type of nut but this surprisingly worked.
We are all familiar with fatty Dong Po Pork and this is usually used as filling inside a bun. If you’ve ever thought about having the best of the dish and doing away with the bun, the fourth course allowed me to do just that – devouring just the pork and nothing else but some sauce. In the spirit of the dish however, there is still pastry here in some shape or form – it takes the form of a long mantou which is meant to be eaten separately. And rightly so – the mantou possessed a sweetness which went well with the sauce. It wasn’t cloying even when eaten on its own.
The “Bi Luo Chun” Fragrant Poached Rice with Lobster that followed is a creative take to the poached lobster/crab rice dish that has made its waves around Chinese restaurants in Singapore. In Golden Peony’s version, the “porridge” is hidden beneath a layer of crisps. It is then meant to be broken down and absorbed into the broth. The carbohydrate dishes in Chinese cuisine are usually humble affairs but this lobster rice takes it to the next level. Technically having two soups within the dinner set menu is never a bad thing!
I ended the meal with a graphic depiction of a koi swimming in a sea of peach resin and bird’s nest. The soy pudding dessert actually takes the shape of a fish. Even without taking into consideration the work needed to provide something so insta-worthy, the pudding itself was smooth and not to sweet (nor milky), just the way I like it.
Golden Peony’s Tea Inspired menu is available daily for lunch or dinner. You can check out here for the detailed set menu.
2 Temasek Boulevard
Phone: +65 6432 7482
Monday to Saturday, 11:30AM to 2:30PM / 6:30PM to 10:30PM
Sunday, 10:30AM to 2:30PM / 6:30PM to 10:30PM