We understand the challenge of business lunches: you need speed; you need consistent, familiar flavours that won’t be a shock to any party’s palate; and you have nary time for flipping through those dauntingly expansive menus. So, few business diners at Cantonese restaurants stray far from the formulaic trinity of a barbecued meat platter, double-boiled soups and wasabi prawns. While popular classics are competently executed at Cherry Garden, a little bit of adventurous ordering brings delicious rewards.
Take the unlikely dim sum item of escargot dumpling: bite-sized parcels of pastry each encasing a meaty, perfectly seasoned nugget. The delicate brittleness of the flaky pastry contrasts wonderfully with the succulence of the escargot, making this addictive item a showcase of technical sophistication and ingenuity. A handful of rustic dishes also impressed, thanks to precise execution and the use of high-quality ingredients, such as the kurobuta pork rice in a warm superior broth. The dish has comforting qualities of home-cooked soul food. Yet the rich umami flavour in the almost-milky broth and the natural sweetness of the slivers of premium pork elevate it from the usual muifan (rice in gravy), making it a luxurious treat.
What leaves an impression is the finesse of the service. Special requests are readily accommodated, such as an order of a quarter of a roast duck, when the menu only offers it as half and whole birds. And, when we asked to try the kurobuta rice dish after a long and large meal, our server took the initiative to make it a special order of a mini portion, which divided out perfectly for two. The genuine hospitality crowns the dining experience at Cherry Garden, and makes it a restaurant we’ll be eager to return to. Setting-wise, the restaurant offers a serene and elegant oriental setting, which is suitable for business lunches or special family dinners.
Level 5 Mandarin Oriental Singapore, S(039797)