It seems to be a ‘trending’ thing in recent years for restaurant and hawker stall openings to indicate where the Head Chef is previously from, especially for Chinese food.
Thus, “Ex Din Tai Fung Chef”, “Ex Crystal Jade”, “Ex Peach Garden” and many others have been commonly seen as part of headlines. Interesting because Head Chefs in the past would have gathered culinary experience from some restaurants anyway.
In this case, an “Ex Peony Jade Chef” is helming the kitchen of a new dim sum restaurant at 4 Maju Avenue, Serangoon Gardens.
Chef Wong was previously the Group Dim Sum Chef for Peony Jade for the past 15 years, with more than 3 decades of culinary experience, particularly in dim sum.
Of course other than food, service, décor, and even waiting times all play a part in the dining experience.
JU Signatures believes in refining dim sum in a way that can be enjoyed in a “local neighbourhood café”.
It is expected that eager customers, especially the younger crowd, would be curious about the attractively-presented dim sum in pastel-pink café-like décor.
JU Signature’s menu is divided into steamed, oven baked, fried dim sum, cheong fun, porridge and dessert sections.
We most wanted to check out their signature Ju Treasures Trio: Har Gao Gems ($7.80) which are prawn dumplings in different pastel colours and slightly varied fillings.
Other recommended items were the Wok-Fried Chilli Crab in Mantou Tureen ($8.80), Yuan Yang Love Swans with Golden Lychee Ball ($8.80), Signature Dup Platter of Orh Nee Tart with Gingko Nut & Chilled Soursop Delight ($9.80), and Quintessential Four ($10.80).
The Quintessential Four items included JU 6-Mushroom Vegetarian Pau, Lavalicious Orh Nee Salted Egg Sesame Ball, Crisp-Fried Pork and Chives Dumpling in California Roll style and Phoenix Tail Siew Mai.
Not just the conventional stuff.
There were other items including the Charcoal Liu Sha Bao ($5.80), Chee Cheong Fun with Prawns and Chives ($6.80), Baked Orh Nee Tart with Gingko Nut ($4.20), and Bolo Char Siew Pau ($5.20) that sounded promising.
The anticipation made us arrive early in the morning as first customers.
Despite being fast in ordering some of the star items, they were not unfortunately not available – only informed after a long wait.
Also note: we were informed of a 45 minutes’ wait for the items, which wasn’t a case of under-promise-over-deliver.
The dim sum items arrived in a sporadic fashion (despite them ordered together), some taking more than an hour to reach the table.
While the dim sum could have been promising based on their ingredients, aesthetics and flavours, they would have tasted better if they were serving steaming hot – some were room temperate at best.
It did mar the experience, especially if steamed items had colder-than-expected fillings.
To be fair, the dishes that were executed ‘corrected’ tasted not bad.
When we asked one of the servers what happened, it was mentioned that the POS system was not set up properly. (Felt bad for some service staff who had to apologize to other customers non-stop.)
While that could explain the wait, was not sure how it would affect the lukewarm temperatures of the dim sum served.
JU Signatures does have a promising menu, though not that a promising start. Perhaps give them some time to work out their systems.
4 Maju Avenue, Singapore 556682
Tel: +65 8876 7498
Opening Hours: 9am – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 9:30pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
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YUN NANS (ION Orchard)