Singaporeans love their food and once in a while we splurge on an expensive lunch or dinner at a fancy restaurant. I have been to my fair share of restaurants and I have found many to be rather disappointing as they are obscenely overpriced with nothing to deliver. I recently checked out the Park Palace at the Grand Park City Hall and was truly impressed by the quality of the dishes I tried.
Honestly, prior to staying at the Grand Park City Hall, I have not heard much (or in fact, anything at all) about Park Palace - which is surprising considering how delicious the food is here! Park Palace is located on the mezzanine level of Grand Park City Hall and it serves up authentic Cantonese cuisine. A separate lift for accessibility is also available if you require assistance in getting to the restaurant - just let the friendly staff or the concierge know and they will be happy to help.
There is no better way to put a Cantonese restaurant to the test than to taste their soups. Getting its natural sweetness from the pork ribs, Chinese figs (无花果) and the special night-blooming cereus (霸王花), the flavour-rich soup was definitely a delight to drink. Apart from the usual soups they have on the menu, be sure to check with the staff whether or not they have any specials that are not on the menu - you don't want to miss these out!
The Deep-fried Beancurd Roll stuffed with Long Bean in Spicy XO Sauce (S$4.80++ | 3 pieces) is beautifully presented and the texture which reminds me a little of Chinese yam cake is deliciously consistent. The long beans gave some texture to the dish and the XO Sauce provided that kick it needed - overall a great dish that I will certainly recommend!
Another beautifully plated dish at Park Palace is the plate of Roast Pork. To be honest, I did not expect much plating from a Cantonese restaurant so I was pleasantly surprised to see how pretty everything was. Personally I would have preferred the pork to be more flavourful but that crisp skin on top is truly one to die for.
The next dish that I will strongly recommend is the Wok-fried Cheng Fun with shredded Chicken, Bean Sprouts and Lettuce in Spicy Sauce (S$10++ | portion). The first thing you will notice about this dish is the incredible 'Wok Hei' or the breath of the wok - absolutely essential in Cantonese cooking. If you are worried about spiciness, this dish barely tickled my taste buds!
If you love fresh scallops, give the Steamed Scallops Dumpling filled with Chinese Parsnip (S$5.80++ | 3 pieces) a try. This dish focuses on the natural sweetness of the scallop and the chewy skin that wraps everything together. The Chinese parsnip provides another dimension of texture and complements the firm scallop flesh pretty well.
Finally, how can you truly say you have tried and tested a Cantonese restaurant without sampling their Peking Duck. In my opinion, the Peking Duck at Park Palace is the best dish I have tried. While it may not seem like much, you will be amazed at how crispy the skin is - and also the friendly staff actually wraps it up for you so you can just focus on eating.
The result of a beautifully carved Peking duck and nimble fingers is two plates full of wrapped up goodness. I never thought I would be blown away by this dish at Park Palace but it certainly stole the limelight or that afternoon. The special Peking Duck sauce which consists mainly of quality Hoisin sauce also gels the entire product together, making it an absolute pleasure to savour them all.
Finally, lunch concluded with the flavourful duck flesh (from the Peking duck) and a carbohydrate of our choice. All in all, the Park Palace was a pleasant surprise. While it does not seem like much from the outside, the dishes are well executed and beautifully presented. I will definitely be coming back for more of that delicious soup and crispy duck skin!
This was an invited food-tasting session by Grand Park City Hall.