We're back! Before embarking on the reviews on a few eateries in Macau and the Philippines, let's go back to Shenzhen and Guangzhou first. This is gonna be another review on dim sum, so please bear with me haha... Many people have mentioned that whenever you come to Shenzhen, you should try the dim sum at Laurel Restaurant which is known to be Shenzhen's best Cantonese restaurant chain.
On the first day in Shenzhen, I visited Portofino. It's not exactly a tourist attraction, but a housing estate built around a pretty refreshing imitation of an Italian Piazetta, complete with a lake (not sure if it's natural or man-made).
Appetiser & Condiments
The appetiser costs CNY 5.00 (~S$1.00) per person, consisting of pretty juicy mushrooms and sliced leeks, as well as crunchy preserved vegetables. The condiments cost CNY 1.00 (~S$0.20) per person, consisting of hot chili oil, chili mixed with fermented soybean (I thnk) and a very stinging, tear-inducing yellowish stuff which I know not what.
Steamed Chicken Feet with Black Bean Sauce CNY 19.00 (~S$3.80)
Laurel Restaurant passed the acid test. The chicken feet were huge, meaty, pretty flavourful and not too greasy. While the sauce was thick, it seemed to be slightly lacking in the black bean taste.
Steamed Spare Ribs with Black Pepper CNY 23.00 (~S$4.60)
It was interesting to find out that the spare ribs had a bit of a curry flavour, but they tasted only slightly better than average. The meat couldn't come off the bone easily.
Steamed Shrimp Dumpling CNY 23.00 (~S$4.60)
The har gow were pretty much comparable to those served in Yè Shanghai with not-so-thick skin and succulent shrimp inside.
Steamed Glutinous Rice Wrapped with Lotus Leaf CNY 19.00 (~S$3.80)
The glutinous rice was nicely chewy, but the filling of minced chicken and mushroom wasn't exceptional. One bamboo container comes with three wrapped glutinous rice.
Steamed Vermicelli Rolls with Twisted Cruller CNY 17.00 (~S$3.40)
As I saw a thumb next to the name of the dish, I immediately ordered the above-mentioned vermicelli rolls. They did a good job on the you tiao which was crunchy, but not too dry. The texture was also nicely contrasted by the slightly chewy vermicelli rolls. Too bad the soy sauce lacked taste.
Deep-Fried Beancurd Skin Wrapped with Assorted Mushroom CNY 17.00 (~S$3.40)
Isn't it the other way round: assorted mushroom wrapped with beancurd skin? Anyway, there were lots of delectable, juicy mushrooms inside the crispy beancurd skin. Nice, but pretty much oily...
Congee with Tomato and Beef CNY 19.00 (~S$3.80)
I was glad to find out that the congee came with you tiao, but then I should've ordered vermicelli rolls with fillings other than you tiao. The congee was smooth in texture, but it'd be better if it was slightly thicker. The beef was pretty juicy, and the tomato slices gave out natural sweet and sour taste to the dish.
Roasted Pigeon CNY 45.00 (~S$9.00)
Initially I wanted to order the roasted goose because I know many people are crazy about it, but since I came a bit late, there was none left. As such, I took the waiter's suggestion and ordered the roasted pigeon which came with apple and potato salad. It looked somewhat emaciated, perhaps, but the meat was juicy and the skin was thin and crispy. Pika's advice: Come early since the roasted items are only available for a short period of time everyday from 12 noon to 3.00pm.
Cantonese Sponge Cake CNY 12.00 (~S$2.40)
The cake was pretty fluffy and moist, but I believe it could be a bit sweeter to further please my palate.
Sweetened Osmanthus Cake CNY 12.00 (~S$2.40)
The jelly wasn't as fragile as the one in Tim Ho Wan, but the former couldn't beat the latter. Although it was pretty nice for a dessert, the coconut milk layer threatened to jeopardise the fragrance of the osmanthus.
While the atmosphere inside the restaurant building seemed to be not entirely pleasant due to the excessive noise, I truly enjoyed the ambience outside the building where I could eat my lunch in a relaxed manner with the light breeze of wind caressing my back, as well as the presence of the (more or less) tranquil lake before my eyes. The senior waiter who attended to me during the first half of the meal was very friendly and efficient. Oh, I guess the staff there can't speak English at all.
OCT Xiang Shan Street
1/F Portofino Club House
(Daily: 8.00am - 11.00pm)
*Prices quoted are subject to 10% service charge.
Have a nice meal,