Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Paradise Dynasty - Legend of Xiao Long Bao @ VivoCity [Singapore] #paradisedynasty #xiaolongbao

With so much travel backlog, I actually do not have time to blog about food in Singapore and prefer to try an eatery for the first time before deciding if a second visit (together with a blog post) would be warranted. 

I have been to Paradise Dynasty on a number of occasions with a group of former NUS colleagues but i have never gotten around to blogging about it until today. Do note that the Paradise Group is huge with ten different brands under their belt and expansion has been rapid over the past ten years; i still recall having their mouth-watering butter crabs back in 2010! 

The word "dynasty" said a lot about its theme - while i didn't feel like i was transported back in time to imperial China, the restaurant felt classy, and expensive. 

Without further ado, let's forge ahead with our food review! p.s. tea is chargeable at S$1.50 per person and i don't know what material is the pot made of as it's super good in retaining heat! 

Egg Fried Rice - fried rice that was plain yet so flavourable; i was in fact relishing every bite! This should be a simple enough dish for me to try at home but i am guessing my skill wouldn't result in me cleaning up the entire portion.

Pork Dumpling in Hot Chilli Vinaigrette - more famously known as 紅油抄手, the best i had was at Crystal Jade and this version at Paradise Dynasty was rather good with an appetising spiciness that could have matched Crystal Jade if the meat filling was juicier. 

Stir Fried Diced Chicken with Cashew Nuts and Dried Chilli - this caught me by surprise as the meat was so tender and boy did i love the addictive mixture of numbing spiciness as my teeth sank into the teeth! And how could i forget the crunchy cashew nuts?! Have them with the meat for added nuttiness! 

Pan-Fried Pancake with Red Bean Paste - generous filling that's not overly sweet and that's just about the only positive attribute for this Chinese style dessert. I could only wish that the next time i had this, the crust would crispier and a tad thinner.

Scrambled Egg White with Fish and Dried Scallop - to be honest, i wouldn't have ordered this dish f i am the decision maker but after my friend commented that it's a must try; we did and absolutely didn't regret our decision! 

You are supposed to mix up everything so that it became a mish-mash of god knows what! However, don't be deceived by its looks; it's good on its own and tasted yummy like a gooey egg mixture with the flavours from the sea.

Signature Original Xiao Long Bao - with the tagline "legend of xiao long bao", it;s obvious we had to get a basket to check out the xiao long bao said to be "25 grams a piece" that's "immensely filled with non-oily delightful clear broth" and closed up with a "delicate 18 folds" skin said to be "intricately thin" and "springy".

I do agree with all the aforementioned claims; saved for weighing the dumplings to determine their exact weight. Unlike the past, the standard of xiao long bao in Singapore nowadays is pretty good (must eat with vingear and shredded ginger) and you can get decent ones in a number of reputable restaurants. 

Only one complaint from me; can't they eliminate the folds?! I am the type who would bite off the thicker top folds and leave them on the plate. 

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Location
1 Harbourfront Walk, 
VivoCity #03-08A, 
Singapore 098585

Website

Order List
As above. Right click and saved as picture to zoom in! 

Pricing
Egg Fried Rice - S$7.80
Pork Dumpling in Hot Chilli Vinaigrette - S$6.80
Stir Fried Diced Chicken with Cashew Nuts and Dried Chilli - S$12.80
Pan-Fried Pancake with Red Bean Paste - S$7.50
Scrambled Egg White with Fish and Dried Scallop - S$13.80
Signature Original Xiao Long Bao - S$12.30
(Subject to GST and Service Charge)

The Berkeley Hotel Pratunam - Five-Star Accommodation (Premier Triple Room) @ Bangkok [Thailand]

photo taken from here
Those sparkling golden domes can be seen from afar but as i didn't manage to secure a picture that would wow you; the best i can do is to take it from the Agoda.com website so that you can marvel at the beauty of The Berkeley Hotel Pratunam!

Let's now proceed to the huge reception area which manages the 788 rooms spread over 2 towers known simply as Main Tower and North Tower.

It's all about old school opulence with polished marble flooring and hanging chandeliers befitting its 5-star status! However, there's a large contrast in atmosphere once you step into the connected Palladium World Shopping Mall; not that i am complaining as i adore cheap over branded buys! 

Our room - 22708, located in the North Tower. I heard from a Thai friend that the hotel was haunted and that's after i had made the non-refundable booking! Well, nothing happened to us so i guess it could be urban legend or rumors by competitors. 

54-meter Premier Triple Room - in terms of size, i thought it was comparable to the Anika Hotel at Kluang but Anika made better use of the space by compartmentalizing the area at the entrance to provide for a dressing table that's lacking in the The Berkeley Hotel Pratunam

Usual things to expect in a hotel room - with the distance between the bed and the television, i guess it would be really nice if the size of the TV can be upped to maybe 55-inch. 

Nowadays, i always look out for an in-room safe but do be mindful that in some hotels, the safe is not drilled to the wardrobe / cabinet and a robber can technically run away with the safe! Anyone uses bath robe? Not me. 

Hidden fridge and a wine bucket and glass mugs for liquor! 

Seating area which we didn't utilize except to put our towels. Given that hotel is more for me to sleep than anything else, maybe i should explore cheaper alternatives in the future. p.s. i eventually did in my trip to Langkawi last week. 

The double bed and single bed - no complaint about its softness. Only one thing is lacking; bolsters! So far, i think only the KSL Hotel & Resort in Johor Bahru offers them as a default. 

As we were on the 22nd floor, i was hoping for a spectacular view and wasn't disappointed! The second photo shows how close The Berkeley Hotel Pratunam is to Talad Neon night market where i had my first taste of fried grasshoppers

Complimentary WiFi! 

Bathroom with a humongous mirror and plenty of toiletries that i don't use except for the shower gel / foam. I would actually bring back the shower caps as they are so versatile! Read here on other uses for the shower cap! 

Rainfall shower has become the norm! 

Continuing our exploration of the hotel; this time, the amenities that were mostly concentrated on the 11th floor which was also the connecting floor between the main tower and north tower. 

The fitness centre that i didn't manage to step into much. I was focused on making the trip a relaxed one and didn't want to spend the time and effort in the gym. 

One of two swimming pool sections on the same level; this particular section had the dull sun and moon theme and appeared to be the less popular one. 

Towels were available.

The other swimming pool; featuring welcoming blue water and see-through glass, it was a hit with families! You don't see anyone in the pictures as i took them early in the morning at about 7.00am. 

Came with jacuzzi too! The only thing i dislike; you would be under the watchful eyes of the residents staying in the upper floors of the two towering condominiums.

Those who prefer a quieter environment can proceed to the upper decks where sundecks were placed for you to soak up the sun. Again, sunbathing is not an activity i enjoy.

Better view of the swimming pool.

The late April period i went was in fact very cooling and on some days, many of the tower buildings were shrouded in mist / fog like the Baiyoke tower shown above.

Bar on the 11th floor and there's another one on the ground level. Those hungry for food would also be pleased to know that there were a few restaurants in the hotel too! 

You can also sign up for tours and tailor made some shirts! Strange thing is that the tailor listed the prices in Singapore dollars! For me, i was all set to make my shirts at Galaxy Tailor and you may read my review here if you are keen to tailor made your clothes

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My friends and i enjoyed our stay and while The Berkeley Hotel Pratunam is in the heart of the popular shopping district, i still find it a hassle if i need to take the BTS! You may want to consider taking the boat at the nearer Pratunam Pier instead. 

Location
559 Ratchathewi, Pratunam, 
Bangkok, Thailand, 10400

Website

Price
Premier Triple Room - S$132.69 a night via Agoda.com.
(inclusive of all applicable taxes)
(no breakfast)


If you are interested in a 6-day itinerary to Bangkok, click here.

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