We should be proud of Paradise Dynasty, the zi char stall which transformed into a Chinese restaurant empire famed for their multi-coloured xiao long bao, with outlets in Malaysia (Paradigm Shopping Mall KL), Indonesia (Plaza Senayan Jakarta), Thailand (Siam Paragon), Japan (Ginza Glasse) and China (Shanghai IFC). Wow.
With 5 outlets in Singapore, the group has just opened another branch at Vivocity (L3 next to Daiso), coincidentally (or perhaps not so) near competitor Crystal Jade Jiangnan which also sells the multi-coloured xiao long bao.
Paradise Dynasty is best known to be the first to present these rainbow-hued xiao long bao, in flavours of original, ginseng, foie gras, black truffles, crab roe, cheese, garlic and Szechuan.
For those unaware, their skin is decorated not by artificial colourings, but by natural ingredients such as carrot, spinach and red sorghum. The pork is distinctly tender due to the use of quality five-layer pork and pork neck.
Alas, good food does not complete a good experience.
Don’t get me wrong, the xiao long bao is still among the best in Singapore, though its skin feels marginally thicker. I had this dish several times so I can tell.
Its handmade La Mian is still smooth, though not as elastic and was somewhat soggy and over-cooked. The Shanghainese dim sum dishes were still good.
The one thing that hampered the dining experience was service, or the lack of.
For some time, there was no one at the counter, so customers just waited not knowing what to expect. My tea cup was obviously not cleaned properly, with food within. There was some staff who perfected the skill of avoiding the customers’ eye contact and hand waves. Unlike the branch at Ion Orchard, teas were hardly refilled.
The hardware of Paradise Dynasty was still impressive, with a ‘dynastic’ feel, grand interior, open kitchen and some tables with a view of Sentosa Island. But the software was lacking, and all these add up.
1 Harbourfront Walk, #03-08A, Singapore 098585 (Harbourfront MRT), Tel: +65 6376 8103 (Reservations are accepted)
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 11.00am – 10.00pm (Last order 9.30pm), Sat, Sun & PH 10.30am – 10.00pm (last order 9.30pm)
Other branches: Ion Orchard (no reservations), Westgate (+65 64659271), Causeway Point (+65 68946322), Lot One (+65 67662380)