Sunday, February 19, 2017

[Media Invite] JIM GARDEN 珍厨明苑私房菜

Jim Garden is a relatively new place that serves up Chinese dishes of the 东北 (Notheast) style. Googled and read that 东北 cuisine involves foods from the Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Hebei (north-eastern region) and inner Mongolia. Usual 东北 cuisine representative dishes are 酸菜白肉鍋 (pickled cabbage and pork stew) and 猪肉炖粉条 (pork stew with vermicelli) amongst others.

Jim Garden 珍厨明苑私房菜 shopfront

The restaurant has mostly square tables and a few round ones for the larger group. Staff are knowledgeable and able to make recommendations to guests. Had an enjoyable time learning about Chinese cuisine from the staff from the mainland.

hello Chef
We were in a party of 6 pax and we managed to try the recommended dishes as well as some Chef's Special. There was another interesting item that we wanted to try as well, the Pig Skin Jelly but alas, we didn't manage to. Made in limited quantities, this is a rarely seen delicacy. Not sure how it would taste like but if you are keen, then do arrive early or make a one-day advance reservation prior to your visit to avoid disappointment.

good food, reasonable price

One of the boss recommended dishes is the sauteed tender meat with black fungus. Tasted very homely, strongly flavoured and very suitable to eat with steamed rice.

Boss recommendation - 东北大酱烧芸土非@$12.80

Next up, we had something similar to the black fungus dish but this one had tofu in it. Braised tofu in special sauce. Yes, yet another yummy dish to eat with the white rice. Since both dishes are quite similar, I'd recommend to take the braised tofu simply because it has better pricing with more ingredients; tofu, black fungus, chili slices, pork slices and yummy sauce.

Chef's recommendation - 风味酱焖豆腐 @$8.80

Let's roll out the heavyweights. The meaty dishes. How about a whole fish? The sweet and sour whole seabass has a very nice presentation. Its fish fillet were carved out into flowery petals and deep fried to golden. Can you believe that this dish was made without vinegar? The 'sour' element was achieved by natural acidity in fruits that were carefully selected to make this sweet and sour sauce.

Boss recommendation - 糖醋金目鲈鱼@$32
One of my favourites that night was the Qiubi shrimp. Don't ask me what qiubi means. I have no idea! But, what I do know, was that this dish was seriously addictive. Battered and fried, yet not overcooked plus tasty. Lovely!

丘比虾仁 @$22
How about Gold Medal Pork Ribs with Pineapple. Likely the name came about because this dish won a gold medal? Am guessing only. The presentation was good and the ribs were leaning towards the sweeter side of things.

Chef recommendation - 金牌西波排骨@$28

For the older folks, perhaps the stewed pork in brown sauce resonates better with them (us?). Boneless braised pork belly that is not 'jelak' sitting ontop a bed of dihuang miou (帝皇苗) vegetable. Again, this goes well with that bowl of rice.

Boss recommendation - 私房红烧肉 @$16

Wanted to try the 酸菜白肉鍋 but unfortunately, the staff shared that they are unable to continue with this dish in the menu. Primarily because they couldn't get the ingredients in. Hence, we had the other one which was the stewed pork feet in chinese cabbage.

It has the dullest colour when comparing with the rest of the dishes, but do give this a try. Comfort food and suitable on colder nights. The pork feet was soft and collageney, both the cabbage and the porous beancurd gave burst of flavours as it had absorbed the soup. This was surprisingly, good.

How about dumplings, you might ask. Common in all Chinese restaurants, Jim Garden has their version too. Below are those that we've tried. The fillings were more or less the same. Pork and cabbage.

Wealth Dumpling 百财水饺 @$6.80 (10 pieces)
pot stickers 锅贴 @$6
pan fried bun 生煎包 @$5 (3 pieces)

For desserts, one could try the tau-sar bun where its skin has been infused with milo for a very mild cocoa taste or the sweet pancake, which is one of my personal favourite as well.

tau-sar bun 豆沙包 @$5.80 (3 pieces)
sweet pancake

But if you only have stomach for one dessert, then I'd strongly recommend the Papaya Jelly. Definitely a must-try! Was rather impressed by this. The coconut jelly has a great consistency and not to mention, it has a thick coconut fragrance and sweetness. No extra sugar added nor required. Plus, the papaya was oh-so-sweet. Goodness, get this. Pronto.

木瓜冻 @$5.80
All in all, the prices are reasonable and from what I saw of the other tables, the portion was good too. Suitable for family and friends.

Thank you to Jim Garden's management and staff for hosting the dinner and Hungrygowhere for the invite. This place serves tasty and reasonably priced food.


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