Fortunately, my visits to Chinese restaurants for the past two years have always left me grinning from ear to ear. This somehow put an indefinite hiatus to my Chinese food-taste fatigue syndrome. In fact, just recently, I found another addition to my collection of "great Chinese restaurant experiences" -- it's my visit to Crystal Jade Dining IN at Bonifacio High Street Central, to try their Chef's Special Recommendation for the month.
A brother of Crystal Jade Shanghai Delight in Greenhills, the Crystal Jade Dining IN in The Fort is its higher end sibling which focuses more on Cantonese fare rather than Shanghai or Taiwanese (home of xiao long bao). Unlike its Greenhills counterpart which interior looks more modern, the Crystal Jade here feels more like a family-style Chinese restaurant. More festive and more familiar. Perfect for bigger gatherings. And just a glance at its high ceilings will tell you that Crystal Jade Dining IN means business.
So, Crystal Jade Dining IN offers good food. You probably already heard of that. But today, let me share with you what its chef highly recommends this month of November.
Chef's Special Recommendation
With the Filipinos' and Chinoys' love for merriment and good food, I bet that this month of November, the holiday gatherings and feasts would've already begun. And in case you haven't decided yet on where to bring your family and friends for a reunion, do consider Crystal Jade Dining IN and its 3 set menus perfect for groups of 4, 6 and 10.
During my visit, I didn't get to try a particular set, but a combination of all 3. I can't say that those I've had are the ultimate highlight per set menu. But from what I've tried, I can guess that any set you choose will most likely make you a happy diner. (っ˘ڡ˘ς)
|Set A for 4 (P5,288+) | Set B for 6 (P10,800+) | Set C for 10 (P12,888+)|
Click the photo to enlarge menu.
For starters, I got a taste of the Double Boiled Cabbage Soup with Bamboo Pith and Fresh Mushroom. It's a mouthful to say (try saying it in one go), but it's sure a soup I'd want to have again and again. Very light yet has an enjoyable delicate flavor which I didn't initially associate with cabbage. But apart from the refreshing broth, what really had me hooked was the soft yet firm-to-the-bite bamboo pith and fresh shimeji mushrooms.
|✓ Double Boiled Cabbage Soup with Bamboo Pith and Fresh Mushroom|
Another appetizer we had was this platter of Peking Duck Pancakes which is essentially the 1st way of duck preparation. If you've already tried Peking duck pancakes before, then you'd know how good these babies are. Crispy duck skin with a thin layer of fat, slices of cucumbers, shallots and some Hoisin sauce are all encased in a delicate flour wrapper. No need to dip these bad boys too. Just pop them directly and enjoy a burst of savory flavors nicely balanced by the fresh fillings. It was so good I think I had 8 pieces!
|Peking Duck Pancakes|
Following the duck was the Fried Crispy Chicken Skin with Goose Liver and Mango Sauce on cute lettuce cups. Upon my first (and even second and third) look, I thought the chicken skin was of the duck's, and roasted at that. But while my sense of sight was fooling me, I can assure that eating a piece will successfully whet the palate. There's an interesting combination of tastes and textures -- savory, sweet, tangy, soft and crispy.
|Fried Crispy Chicken Skin with Goose Liver and Mango Sauce|
Fret not non-wasabi fans! The Sautéed Prawns with Wasabi Salad Sauce may sound scary. But give it a taste, and you might just learn to love wasabi afterwards. Oftentimes, restaurants that decide to infuse a safe choice of food with wasabi end up making the whole dish all about the wasabi. But with Crystal Jade Dining IN's, the prawns still remained the star. They were tender, succulent and cooked to the perfect doneness that gives a really enjoyable bite. And the wasabi sauce, it's not overpowering in anyway. Actually, it's pretty subtle and I somehow wanted more. Haha! (Crazy wasabi fan here!)
|Sautéed Prawns with Wasabi Salad Sauce|
The Peking duck returns, now in the form of Sautéed Shredded Duck Meat with Beansprouts. Although I'm used to seeing the rest of the duck minced or turned into soup, this is the first time I've had it shredded and sautéed. And with beansprouts at that, something I wouldn't have thought of ordering. However, for some reason, this beats all the other ways I've enjoyed my duck. I actually wanted to give a ✓ to the duck pancakes, but I just can't as I really enjoyed this so much more. Just top some on plain rice, and this will be a treat. Kudos to the chef for keeping it simple yet making it so good! d=(´▽｀)=b
|✓ Sautéed Shredded Duck Meat with Beansprouts|
To deviate from the usual steamed fish in Chinese restaurants, Crystal Jade offers the favorite lapu-lapu in an unusual, but very enticing (especially to kids) preparation -- Steamed Live Garoupa Roll with Chinese Sausage. Unlike the plain steamed lapu-lapu, this dish is really savory and actually pretty heavy taste-wise. I think this is good as an appetite whetter, or a bait for kids (and kids at heart) to eat fish. Teehee!
|Steamed Live Garoupa Roll with Chinese Sausage in Two Kinds of Sauce|
For carbs, we had the Fried Assorted Grain Rice in Hot Stone Bowl. Just like what its name says, this rice dish has different kinds of rice -- white, brown (?), red. It even has corn kernels that make every spoonful even more enjoyable. (I love my corn!) Though it wasn't extraordinary taste-wise, this rice dish can definitely add more fun on the table.
|Fried Assorted Grain Rice in Hot Stone Bowl|
For a not-so-typical sweet ending, we had the Chilled Red Wine Jelly. This very interesting dessert is not something I'd expect from a Chinese restaurant. But it was really good! Every mouthful was light, although you can definitely tell that you're having red wine. This might not be advisable for kids (although they might get over the red wine taste since it's jelly anyway), but adults will surely enjoy it! （＾ᴗ－）≡★
|✓ Chilled Red Wine Jelly|
Not really part of the set menus, but this Braised Pork in Special Sauce is the bomb! If you ever avail of the sets, you're already guaranteed at least a serving of this melt-in-your-mouth treat. The pork itself is very, very tender and succulent, while the skin and fat melts like butter. (So good!) And don't get me started on the sauce! It has a really good sweet and savory balance that won't have to beg to be finished off. You'll just mindlessly find yourself swiping your cuapao (and asking for extra cuapao) until it's all gone.
|✓ Braised Pork in Special Sauce|
Free serving for a minimum spend of P5,000.
Crystal Jade Gift Boxes
The set menus are guaranteed to please. But if you want to take home a piece of Crystal Jade Dining IN, then I suggest taking home one of their gift boxes. If it's good enough to be gifted to others, then it's definitely more satisfying to be gifted to yourself! ;)
Or, if you're not the kind of selfish person that I am, then these gift boxes will make a great gift to your food-loving friends and loved ones. Here's a list of the available items.
- Roasted Duck or Peking Duck (P2,700)
- Suckling Pig (P6,500)
- Crystal Jade Bolo BBQ Bun (P350 for 6 pieces)
- Crystal Jade Creamy Salted Egg Yolk Bun (P310 for 6 pieces)
- Baked Mini Egg Tart (P310 for 6 pieces)
- Baked BBQ Pork Pastry with Sesame (P310 for 6 pieces)
Roast items are subject to 10% packaging cost.
I got to take home a box of mixed Crystal Jade Bolo BBQ Bun and Crystal Jade Creamy Salted Egg Yolk Bun, so let me throw in a quick review of them.
My Bolo BBQ Buns got a little mushed during transport (Riding the MRT can get pretty crazy!), so it looked a little flat when I arrived home. Popped it in the microwave for less than a minute, and it came out soft with a sweet-savory asado-like BBQ filling inside. Pretty good, but I think it would've been better if I was able to eat it in the resto.
|Crystal Jade Bolo BBQ Bun (P350 per box of 6)|
Compared to the bolo buns, these Creamy Salted Egg Yolk Buns held pretty well during transportation. It's recommended to eat these babies warm, so I microwaved them for a few seconds to let their creamy filling liquify a little. And after heating, what soon followed is foodgasm. It can be quite messy to eat them, but these buns are so, so good! It tastes exactly like what it promises. You'll just have to try them and fall in love!
|✓ Crystal Jade Creamy Salted Egg Yolk Bun (P310 per box of 6)|
Crystal Jade Shanghai Delight has left me craving when I got to try it. And this time, Crystal Jade Dining IN also didn't fail to satisfy. While prices are definitely on the steeper end, quality is undoubtedly guaranteed. Everything I had that afternoon was nothing short of great, with a few dishes even making it to my exceptional food list. So if you're looking to impress your family, friends, colleagues or even clients, definitely keep Crystal Jade Dining IN in mind. And while your at it, do yourself a favor and take home a box or two, or even three, of the Creamy Salted Egg Yolk Buns! ☆～（ゝ。∂）
Taste - 4/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3.5/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3.5/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Crystal Jade Dining IN, Bonifacio High Street
Unit SEUG201 Bonifacio High Street Central,
30th St. cor. 7th Ave., Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City
Metro Manila, Philippines
(02) 808 5233