Sunday, April 21, 2013

Authentic Cantonese Fine Dining Comes to The Fort with Crystal Jade Dining IN

Singapore's popular and iconic restaurant, Crystal Jade Dining IN, is now in Manila bringing authentic Cantonese cuisine with its first branch at The Fort. Now one can experience real Cantonese dishes based on traditional recipes in a modern and elegant setting, giving you more options when dining out at The Fort. 

With over 100 restaurants in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Korea and Japan, Crystal Jade Dining IN is the first fine dining restaurant of the Crystal Jade Culinary Concepts Holding in Manila.  A recipient of numerous awards, including inclusion in the Singapore Tatler's list of Singapore's Best Restaurants and the Miele Guide's Top 500 Asia's Finest Restaurants, you can expect the very best Cantonese cuisine at Crystal Jade Dining IN.

Opened in March, the elegant facade leads to an equally elegant and spacious interiors, following the international look of all Crystal Jade Dining In restaurants in the Asia Pacific region. Cleans lines and a contemporary look give it a cool edge, providing a dramatic backdrop to its classic Cantonese cuisine.

Inside, Crystal Jade Dining IN can comfortably seat 180 diners in its main dining area including a second floor with semi-private and VIP dining rooms. The impressive high ceiling in the main dining area and spacious layout make it a perfect place for family and friends.

Crystal Jade Dining IN offers a wide range of fresh fruit juices and smoothies, and I go for the Green Apple Shake, perfect on a summer evening before any meal at Crystal Jade Dining IN.

Dinner begins with an elegantly plated bitter melon dish with cucumber. The usual taste of bitter melon is so subdued, yet the bitter melon has a fresh crispness to it. This is one bitter melon dish I can have every day...

Then, the Crispy Duck Sandwich  (P 680) arrived, featuring layers of crispy duck skin, tender and juicy duck meat, cucumber, tomato and a thin and crisp bean curd skin at the bottom, served with a refreshing and sweet Shredded Duck Fruit Salad. Elegantly plated, and it tastes as good as it looks.

The layers provide different textures of crunchiness, while the delicately seasoned duck meat adds a subtle yet rich butter-like flavor in every bite. The bite-sized portions somehow lessen the guilt, as I go for another piece...and another. And the Shredded Duck Fruit Salad adds a delicate sweetness to contrast with the lightly salty Crispy Duck Sandwich. Traditional cuisine with a cool contemporary flair, premium ingredients with innovative presentation.

Next, the Double-Boiled Crab Claw Soup with Superior Mushroom in Fresh Coconut (P 480/person), a light yet flavorful soup with succulent crab claw, Chinese cabbage, Jade mushrooms and shiitake. The subtle sweetness of the coconut add to the richness of the broth, blending well with the nuttiness of the mushrooms and the plump crab claw. The presentation was different and unique, adding to one's dining experience.

The Baked Bo Lo BBQ Pork Bun (P 180/ 3 pcs) arrived next, delicately braised barbecue pork with a sweet rich glaze served with soft, warm buns. The unbelievably tender pork barbecue has that almost melt-in-your mouth feel, and the warm buns absorb the rich glaze for more flavor. Another winner from Crystal Jade Dining IN's kitchen.

After enjoying the first dish, I was more than happy to see another pork dish. The Braised Pork with Special Sauce (P 350/person) came next, another round of pure pork bliss. Also served with buns, the dish uses choice pork belly with a perfect combination of lean meat and fat for an awesome flavor. marinated for hours and braised in a slow cooking process, the pork belly also has a fork-tender softness that also almost melts in your mouth. And paired with  the fried buns, absolutely perfect.

As we enjoyed the Braised Pork dish, another dish arrived. Crystal Jade Dining IN's Fried Assorted Grain Rice in Hot Stone Bowl (P 320/small) came next. The rice dish is a combination of white rice and brown grain rice stir-fried with sweet corn, diced mushrooms and vegetables, egg and pine nuts for an incredible medley of flavors and textures. The Hot Stone Bowl not only adds to the overall presentation of the dish, but more importantly, keeps the rice warm. 

And lastly, Sauteed Scallops and Prawns with Chicken and Assorted Mushrooms Served in Pumpkin (P 680/small) rounded up the epic feast at Crystal Jade Dining IN. The scallops and prawns are perfectly sauteed, retaining a firmness and bite as well as a subtle sweetness indicating its freshness. And serving it in a pumpkin is definitely a nice touch.

For dessert, we were served Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Taro Filling (P 160/3 pcs), best paired with Crystal Jade Dining IN's signature teas. Not too swet, just right, a fitting way to cap the evening feast at Crystal Jade Dining IN. We were also served a Chilled Avocado Pudding and Pomelo (P 180/portion), topped with fresh mango cream and pomelo, which was another winner and another must try (unfortunately, my camera battery sputtered out, but trust me, it's seriously good).

Crystal Jade Dining IN also serves an impressive Dim Sum selection for lunch, and that's definitely worth a second visit. Great food, excellent service, and an excellent dining experience. With a full complement of five foreign chefs heading the kitchen, you just can't go wrong. Cantonese cuisine at The Fort? Crystal Jade Dining IN is definitely the place.

Special thanks to Cherry Chu-Lo, Operations Vice President; and Miriam Cabiles, Marketing Assistant, Red Dragon Culinary Concepts Inc. for an awesome dinner.

Crystal Jade Dining IN is located at Unit SEUG201, Bonifacio High Street Central. 7th Avenue corner 30th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. For reservation and inquiries, please call 519-8191.

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