|Where are the masks you had on on opening day?|
|The best show in Greenhills these days|
|Diners with no reservation|
The famed xiao long bao came. And we ate our share right away. Our common verdict? Where’s the broth? Xiao long bao (or siaolongpao in the Binondo restaurant where I first tasted this amazing delicacy) ought to have broth in it. We thought it was just this batch. We ordered a total of 3 baskets, and none of the baos served us had broth. And the wrapper was undercooked.
Going out with a big group is a great help when assessing restaurants because you have the convenience of ordering a lot of dishes. Here’s what our party had:
• Sauteed String Bean & Minced Pork With Olive (P249) – My Lola Tacia used to cook this and it is one of my favorite Chinese dishes. I liked Crystal Jade’s version. Without olive. Like Crystal Jade's.
• Noodle with Beef in Spicy Soup (forgot the price) – This one was a real winner. I don’t know why we Filipinos love soup so much even if we’re in a tropical country. Great broth, great noodles. What’s not to like. The broth was especially rich and I would go back for more of this delight.
• Poached Beef in Spicy Sauce (P290) – another good choice. Unthinkable that we finished this without having any rice with it. This dish is really more of a soup, rather than beef with some sauce.
|The really bad order of salted duck that we got|
• Crispy Eel in Wu Xi Style (P288) – I can imagine eating bowl after bowl of this scrumptiously crunchy dish with lots of ice-cold beer. Really good. Dangerous for those who are on a low-carb diet as this one calls for an equal quantity of rice. But we held fast to our no-rice vow.
• Braised Pork Knuckle with Pancakes (P888) – Crystal Jade’s take on hong ma and pata tim. A bit small for a big group, and can be consumed by 3 PG guys. Comes with small white buns with an unusual shape. The sauce calls for rice. Again, we did not succumb. Despite it being so good and fatty and sheeny and…
• Xiao long bao (P158) for 5 pieces – as mentioned, a great big fat disappointment
• Radish pastry (P98) – I think this restaurant has a good pastry chef. Except for one of our desserts, all the other dishes that required fried crusts turned out good. This one was very savory, with a filling that was redolent of that sweet, pungent smell characteristic of friend scallion.
|Bean curd skin shrimp roll, part nang: bad compared to part chit.|
• Fried pancake with scallion (P98) – this reminded us of fried Malaysian flat bread. Really savory but must be eaten when hot. Once this cools down, the flakiness disappears and is replaced with an unpleasant tough texture.
|One of the saving graces: good pata tim|
• Red Bean Paste Pancake (P128) – this one was sad. Really sad. The pancake (more like a crepe, really) was overcooked and dry. The filling suffered as well.
Our group gave an 8/10 rating. I liked it that save for the dessert, Crystal Jade’s food did not have a sweet tinge to it, as in some Manila restaurants. The braised pork had just the right balance of sour and salty. I did not like it that our waiter forgot to place our dessert order, twice. Or that the air conditioning conked out. And that the food quality varied from order to order.
|Crispy Wu Xi-style eel. Yum!|