Saturday, 13 February 2016
Tian Fu Tea Room
One of my childhood dreams has always been to be an Emperor no matter how funny that sound. I am a hardcore Chinese Dynasty drama fan and once scored a B+ for my assignment on my Business History module because I wrote about similiarities in how Chinese Dynasties handled their succession planning like family businesses. B+ because I got penalized for doing my assignment on submission day and did not provide any academic references for my information source otherwise I believe I scored an A. Now that you get my fascination with dynasties, you probably understand why I chose to try Tian Fu Tea Room's Reunion Imperial High Tea this weekend.
The Reunion Imperial High Tea ($38++ per pax) is a limited time only promotion for Chinese New Year. It runs from 8 Feb till 22 Feb. Perhaps due to its short notice, it's not widely marketed and thus explains why we were the only 3 set of guests having the high tea on a Saturday at Park Royal Hotel, Kitchener Road branch. To give you some background on this place, Tian Fu Tea Room is a subset of the more known Si Chuan Dou Hua restaurant.
The first dish was Premium Black Truffle Yusheng. I've never been a fan of Yusheng. To me it's messy, doesn't taste nice and I honestly prefer cooked food. That said, my first encounter with black truffle Yusheng is a refreshing encounter. It helps that fussy pot didn't make a mess of the Yusheng when we did the usual Lou Hei. I felt the taste was given a very modern twist and it's the first Yusheng I ate more than the customary one bite.
The high tea basically served three different Chinese teas to go with different types of dim sum the chef prepared. The first tea being Bai Mu Dan (white tea). The accompanying dim sum was steamed siew mai with black moss and bird's nest dumpling in superior broth. I'd be upfront and say the steam siew mai looked pathetically small. However, the taste was pretty good and I particularly liked the chilli they gave me to go with my food! The bird nest dumpling in superior broth while tasted decent left me disappointed. I've drank better soup with less expensive ingredients and fussy pot couldn't even tell that there was bird nest since she asked me which dish had the bird nest after the meal.
The next tea served was Bi Tan Piao Xue (flower tea) and the accompanying dishes is a mouth full. Steamed prawn dumpling with crab roe, pan-fried carrot cake with waxed meat and peanuts, pan-fried pancake with chicken floss and Sichuan Dan Dan noodles with shredded abalone. This round the food was far more competent. Steamed prawn dumpling with crab roe was rich in flavour and the prawn was very crunchy. Pan-fried carrot cake on its own was ordinary but accompanied with the chilli, I ate more and more. Frankly this place should just be known for their chilli. Everything goes well with it. The pancake with chicken floss was another competently executed dish. The pancake was well fried and the chicken floss left me satisfied. Even though I have no major complains about the food, I kept feeling that something was missing and the Dan Dan noodles was the savior. It's probably the best dish of the day, sauce a tinge of spiciness while possessing the added oomph that makes the noodles addictive. The shredded abalone and vegetables were perfect variety to make you not get bored of this dish.
The final tea served was Yunnan Dian Hong (Red Tea), incidentally my favorite. The dessert selection was decent but nothing to wow me. To begin with, I am not a dessert person. They had pan-fried soy milk new year cake with soya bean crisps, chilled almond cake with strawberry sauce and homemade fine beancurd with wolfberry. The desserts in general aren't for the sweet tooth. The ingredients used are pure and fresh which is what I like about it. The fine beancurd with wolfberry is the authentic recipe of Si Chuan Dou Hua which I felt was good value for the price I paid.
All in all, food wise, Reunion Imperial High Tea at Tian Fu Tea Room is really value for money. $38 isn't exactly cheap but for the premium ingredients used and the number of dishes, it's good value. I was a little surprised that there's so little people, but I guess it's partially caused by Valentine's Day. A side note would be the service. The staff seemed a little untrained for this promotion and we felt really lost at the beginning whether we had to order from the menu or wait to be served since we already informed them we were here for the high tea. Other than that, I don't mind feeling like royalty for a day and paying $38 bucks to eat bird nest, abalone and truffle.
Tian Fu Tea Room
Parkroyal on Kitchener Road
181 Kitchener Road
(There's two other outlets at UOB Plaza 1 and Parkroyal at Beach Road with differing menus under the same promotion)