We're generally fans of the Paradise Group. Their casual outposts like Paradise Inn and Paradise Dynasty are regular haunts for us, for their tasty and value for money offerings. That's why we decided to get their Paradise Group card, and in the process received a voucher for $30 off their signature peking duck.
The restaurant, located at Marina Bay Financial Centre, was surprisingly packed on Saturday night. Somehow I expected it to be mainly patronised by business types on weekdays and empty on weekends, but there were quite a number of family dinners there.
Their peking duck is prepared and served like the one at Imperial Treasure. The premium skin is served on its own and meant to be dipped in sugar, and they serve the breast meat and thigh meat sliced separately as well.
Their duck is roasted with apple wood, meant to impart some fragrance to the meat. Comparisons with Imperial Treasure's duck are inevitable, and unfortunately Paradise's falls short. Yes you do get the apple wood aroma but the duck was overcooked. The meat was a bit tough and dry, and even the cubes of premium skin didn't have the airy crispiness of the Imperial Treasure one.
At $88 – $20 more than Imperial Treasure's, I don't think it's worth the mark-up. They don't even give you the option of a second preparation for the remaining meat for a nominal sum, which is pretty much par for the course at most other duck joints.
In fact, the general impression was that the hefty prices aren't justified by the quality, or lack thereof. Sure, there were some good dishes, in particular the roast pork and a prawn and vermicelli claypot with a rich garlicky stock, but almost everything else we had, we've had better elsewhere.
Somehow it feels like it's trying too hard. The decor is too fancy and looks a bit forced, and the cooking doesn't quite match up to the ambience it's trying to create. Imperial Treasure has better food for lower prices, and if I were to spend this much, I'd rather go to Chinois by Susur. I think we'll stick to what the Paradise Group does best, which is simple yet well executed home-style cooking.
Er... the service was good and the food was decent, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a traditional dinner. It seems like a place for fancy degustation versions of a Chinese meal. And maybe for client lunches.
8A Marina Boulevard
#02-01 Marina Bay Financial Centre
Lunch: 11.30 am – 3 pm (Mon to Fri); 11 am – 4 pm (Sat, Sun & PH)
Dinner: 6 pm – 11 pm daily