Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Crystal Jade Shanghai Delight

Early this year, I wrote a review about Crystal Jade Dining IN.  I remembered stressing about the high price points, although I must admit that the food was quite good.  So imagine my surprise when one day, I opened my inbox and found an email from Mr. Kenneth Yu, the Brand/Communications Manager for the Crystal Jade franchise here in the Philippines.  It was a simple email, inviting us (me and Hubby) to try out the new concept called Crystal Jade Shanghai Delight in their existing branch in V-Mall, Greenhills.  A few emails back and forth and we're set for our lunch meeting.

What new concept?  That was the first thought that popped into my mind.  I have dined in the Greenhills branch of Crystal Jade a few years back and have not gone back since.  And a few days before our lunch meeting, I happen to pass by V-Mall and realized that the old Crystal Jade has already gotten a new facelift!  To further fuel my excitement, a poster of different xiao long baos were plastered near the door, making me wish that the lunch meeting would come sooner.  

Fast forward to the meeting day, Hubby and I paid a visit to the newly renovated Crystal Jade Shanghai Delight.  First thought when I entered the restaurant was, whoa, they really did some serious renovation.  Gone was the classic look that I remembered from the past.  In its place was a definitely fresher, hipper look.   There we met Kenneth, who entertained us throughout lunch by explaining the background, concepts and stories about Crystal Jade.  The story was, he came across my blog, read my review of their branch in Fort, and was hoping he could change my impression of Crystal Jade.  Challenge accepted!  LOL.  Kenneth also addressed some of my concerns from my previous blog post.  He mentioned that Crystal Jade Dining IN is a strictly Cantonese restaurant, while the new Crystal Jade Shanghai Delight is a mix of Cantonese and Shanghai flavors.  That was the main reason why the branch in Fort doesn't serve the well-loved xiao long bao.

So you guys might be curious, how about the food?  How was it?  Well, here it is:
Spicy & Sour Soup in Sichuan Style
The very first dish that came out was the soup.  Admittedly, I'm not much of a fan of hot and sour soups, but I find this very authentic.  I like the fact that they did not scrimp on the ingredients -  there were loads of mushrooms and strips of whatnots that make up this classic Chinese favorite.  It was not too spicy either, perfect for people like me who cannot stand extremely spicy dishes.

Multi-flavored Xiao Long Bao
Cheese (yellow), Spicy Beef (red), Shrimp (orange), Vegetable and Dried Bean Curd (green) and Spicy Chicken (dark orange)
Different colored xiao long bao stands for different flavors.  This was the dish that made my mouth water when I saw a photo of it a few days ago.  Being tired from all the normal xiao long bao available in other Chinese restaurants, this was a welcome change.  The wrapper was a bit thick though, but Kenneth assured me that they'd improve on it since the restaurant was barely half a month old and the chefs are still adjusting.

Crispy Eel in "Wu Xi" Style
A few years ago, I remembered having the crispy eel in Crystal Jade and liking it.  It was a familiar sight when this was served to us.  Well, I don't like it anymore.  Now, I love it!  This dish possesses the three main things I love about food in general:  I love eels, I love crunchy stuff, and I like my food on the sweet side.  So yes, in my opinion, this dish can do no wrong.  My only problem is that I wish they serve bigger portions!  That's the glutton in me speaking.  Haha! 

Noodle with Spicy Chicken
Now this dish definitely adds the spicy kick for those who are craving for it.  Since I can't stand anything more than mildly spicy, I found myself guzzling water after a few bites of this.  What I can say is, the noodles are authentic hand pulled, and Hubby, the spicy-monster, happily ate my share.

Sauteed Beancurd with Seafood in Hot Stone Pot
Dishes cooked in stone pots are usually delicious.  And this was no exception.  Again, they did not scrimp on their ingredients, and each ingredient that makes up the dish was fresh and delicious. 

Braised Minced Pork & Mushroom with Cabbage "Lion's Head"
Another dish to rave about.  The braised minced pork was so soft that I initially thought I was eating tofu.  Kenneth mentioned that this was their owner's favorite dish, and I can see why.  That makes two of us now!

Mango Cream with Sago & Pomelo
Not so much to say here, after all, mango sago will be mango sago.  They did try to incorporate something different by adding a bit of pomelo, which gives off a bit of bitter taste to balance the sweetness of the mango cream.

Steamed Red Bean Bun

The insides of the Steamed Red Bean Bun
Soft and fluffy.  One of the best steamed red bean bun I've tasted.  Nuff said.

So the verdict?  I'm a convert!  Kenneth wins!  And no, I did not say nice things just because we were invited to the media lunch.  It really is pretty good.  And as for price points (my previous problem with the CJ Fort branch), I'm happy to say that for the quality of the food, the prices are pretty reasonable.  4 out of 5 stars!    

Crystal Jade Shanghai Delight is at Unit 117-121 V-Mall Greenhills Shopping Center, Greenhills, San Juan City

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