Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Joyden Treasures - A Family Treat in Every Sense

Joyden is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with in the Chinese culinary scene. Synonymous with zhe char styled dishes in a more posh setting, Joyden Treasures is the latest addition to their chain of family style restaurants.

It happens to be my first encounter with the Joyden group as well, and Treasures can be found in a spanking new venue at Kallang Leisure Park.

Bright and beige in their colour scheme, it is meant to invoke a family friendly atmosphere with its large spaces and cosy surroundings.

Familiar piped in music with gu zheng undertones scoring popular Chinese and Cantopop tunes do not sound out of place with its oriental inducements. If anything, it is a bit too mandarin flavoured in its decor and tone.

Foodwise, Treasures seeks to present a series of less familiar Chinese dishes that they hope will appeal to the current dining audience. And for the most part, they have succeeded.

Double Boiled Soup in Old Cucumber

Classic double boiled soup done adequately with a clean set of ocean flavours, the wanton surprise at the bottom of the makeshift cucumber bowl adds a superfluous component to what is a very comforting and easy to drink bowl of broth. Little dots of seafood and meat punctate the soupy landscape for that addition of textures.

Steamed Grouper in Soya Bean Broth

Just as comforting and unusual for me is this steamed fish that is seemingly poached in soya bean liquid. It is an interesting contrast between the lighter notes of the fish, ginger, shallots and chives against the creamier depth of the soya bean base. As it turns out, it works surprisingly well. Almost like a western milk poached cod.

Crispy Fragrant Duck Served with Buns

The well seasoned crispy duck is another highlight and revelation. The herbs and spices used to marinate the fowl certainly gives the skin a much needed boost of flavours, and the well executed roast ensures an enjoyable light crisp on the outside.

Best eaten with a kong ba bao like bun, it is countered with some pickled papaya and cucumbers for some necessary acidity. It gives the party in the mouth phrase a good workout in one's palate. The meat is a bit on the dry side, but with the pickled juices creating some moisture, it works out pretty well in the end.

Salt Baked Crab

As the name suggests, it is baked in a salt crust first before giving it a good old stir fry in the wok to add in some extra bags of flavour. As this is more of a traditional Chinese style of doing crabs, there is no addition of butter to give it that creamy, greasy boost.

Nevertheless, it is less on the heavy side and despite the butterless nature of the dish, the crab meat's natural sweetness is accentuated slightly better in this version. The salt and spice rub on the outside helps to extract another level of flavours but perhaps, I am still more inclined to the classic peppery and buttery way of doing shell food. It is still enjoyable though.

Orh Nee

The orh nee or yam paste is finished off with scallion oil instead of vegetable or lard oil. Either way, I could not tell the difference but I can safely endorse this bowl of yam paste with all its classic yam goodness.

The mandatory gingko and pumpkin additions complete this familiar dessert picture and that scallion oil helps to lubricate the paste for an easier and smoother finish. Classic good.

All in all, the dishes are presented in a straightforward manner and that is a good thing. Nothing fancy nor pretentious, it makes communal dining an absolute pleasure here. Service from the waitresses are good and friendly, and they are even up for some lively banter from some of them.

Family dining should be like this and Joyden epitomises that Chinese communal dining philosophy wonderfully.

Joyden Treasures
5 Stadium Walk
#02-42

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