Is there anything that Crystal Jade doesn’t do? Another aspect of their vast repertoire is their attempt at cha chan teng cuisine – Crystal Jade HK Cafe, its newest branch at Orchard Central. The problem with Orchard Central is that the layout sucks, and the cafe suffers from being right at the corner of one floor, which doesn't attract much foot traffic.
Prices are surprisingly reasonable. Our entire meal cost us just S$29! I had a crispy spring chicken, A had a nissin noodle with chicken chop, and we had a cold yin yang each.
The chicken was extremely good value for money - $9.90 for a whole spring chicken and a basket of fries. The chicken was supposed to be flavoured with lemongrass, but instead I found it almost curry-like, with aromas of curry leaf and kaffir lime leaf. The chicken was quite juicy, but the breast was slightly dried out. I love the fact that they gave a pair of disposable plastic gloves for attacking the chicken! A bit like seafood joints providing bibs.
A’s noodles were a bit misrepresented. They weren’t on the regular menu, but on a separate menu card on the table. It was listed under the “Pastry Crust” section, along with a photo of a bowl topped with a puff pastry crust. We were curious to see nissin noodles prepared that way so we ordered it, but it was a bit of a letdown when they ended up just regular instant noodles. The chicken chop was nice and tender though.
I normally go for hot drinks, but here I would recommend the cold yin yang, just for the sheer elaborate way that it’s served. It comes in a sake-like flask, with a hole in the centre, and little shot glasses for the drink. At the table, they pour some water into that hollow (which is filled with dry ice), which results in some serious smoke. It’s not all just drama though – the yin yang itself is actually really tasty.
We’re not at the Somerset side of Orchard much, but when we are, this would be a good place for a drink if nothing else. With the opening of so many new eateries in basement 3 of 313 Somerset next door, I do fear the staying power of the stores in Orchard Central.
Very generous portions for the price. The food is decent, but what’s really great are the drinks. Our yin yangs were excellent and had a really cool presentation.
The service is a bit iffy and the location sucks, but if we’re ever back in area, which is unlikely given the horrible parking around there, this would be my go to spot.
Crystal Jade Hong Kong Cafe
181 Orchard Road
#07-05 Orchard Central
Open daily: 11.30 am to 11 pm