After just a few months, the boyf and I found ourselves back in S Maison at Conrad Manila again. But this time, for the then-newly opened Paradise Dynasty -- a Chinese restaurant that promises to delight with offerings from both northern and southern Chinese cuisine, with an innovative twist. Founded in 2010, Paradise Dynasty has been continuously expanding -- from multiple branches in Singapore, to opening in Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, and now, its first branch in the Philippines.
Like most of the other restaurants at S Maison, Paradise Dynasty is also beautifully dressed in warm elegance. It feels luxurious and quite intimidating, if you haven't checked the menu prices yet. But if you already did, then I'm sure you'll appreciate the imperial ambiance.
If you're booking for a big group, Paradise Dynasty also has a function room with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out the beautiful Manila Bay.
Colorful Xiao Long Bao
As much as I want to try everything that my foodie friends had posted on their social media and blogs, we only had 2 mouths and 2 stomachs with us. And while the boyf and I can eat quite a lot, I still have to admit defeat -- we've only barely scratched the surface.
|✓ Specialty Dynasty Xiao Long Bao (P388 for 8pcs)|
There are many dishes I wanted to try at Paradise Dynasty. But one I wasn't about to miss was this famed colorful xiaolongbao! The very reason I took a trip to the restaurant.
Xiaolongbao or soup dumplings, have always been a favorite of many Chinese food enthusiasts. And while the usual pork or seafood filling with soup is already very satisfying, these fusion xiaolongbao were undeniably very interesting! For 8 pieces, you get 8 different flavors, which is a good way to discover which one you'd consider a favorite, enough to order a whole basket of next time.
It's recommended to enjoy these different flavored xiaolongbao without any dipping sauce and ginger, and following the specific order on the instructional leaflet.
I was lucky the boyf let me have everything on the basket, except for the Crab Roe -- which a lot say are really good! But I'd have to find out for myself next time... Anyway, my favorites are the original, the Foie Gras, and the Black Truffle. Oh, and for those who love heat, the Szechuan xiaolongbao is pretty hot!
Dumplings and Noodles
Since I had almost all the colorful xiaolongbao, it was imperative that we order another basket.
|✓ Signature Original Xiao Long Bao (P188 6pcs; P298 10pcs)|
As much as I love the flavored xiaolongbao, the classic will always have a special place in my heart, and my tummy. Meaty yet delicate, and with a thin yet firm skin -- every piece of the original xiaolongbao was a delight to the palate. I actually wish we ordered the 10-piece serving. Haha!
|Steamed Pork and Chive Dumpling (P145 for 6pcs)|
The boyf love his Cantonese dimsum -- you know, siomai and hakaw. But since this is not a Cantonese restaurant, he had to make do with other dumplings available. Although this serving of steamed pork and chive dumpling is pretty decent, especially when dipped in soy sauce and chili, it still didn't spark the same joy as eating the soup dumplings here. I would've loved to order the Pork Dumpling with Hot Chili Vinaigrette (P168) instead, if only the boyf were keen on spicy food.
|✓ Radish Pastry (P138 for 3pcs)|
The moment I saw this on the menu, I knew I had to get it! I was not wrong. The pastry was light, flaky and beautiful. A tad oily, but it adds to the charm. The hot and soft radish filling gave contrast to the crispy pastry casing. And although every bite was savory, there's a subtle sweetness that I really enjoy. Ugh! Just writing about this make me crave for a piece or two of this right now!
|✓ La Mien with Minced Meat and Mushroom Sauce (P230)|
As much as I love Japanese ramen, I have this deeper affection for Chinese noodles done right. Even with simple ingredients, good Chinese la mien often gives me strong foodgasms. And this serving from Paradise Dynasty was no exception. The savory, thick and slightly acidic sauce was enjoyable, but it's the thin, firm and springy noodles that's the star! Next time, I'll order the La Mien with Scallion (P200) to best enjoy the greatness of the noodles.
Dessert and Drinks
|Chilled Glutinous Rice Roll with Red Bean Paste wrapped with Grated Nuts (P128)|
The boyf isn't really a dessert person. That's why I was surprised when he excitedly ordered this Oriental dessert. And I admit, I don't know a lot about this Chinese item, so although I found it good and enjoyed it a lot, I can't really tell if it's better than others. It didn't help that it's pretty heavy on the stomach too.
|Chilled Aloe Vera in Osmanthus Honey Juice (P100)|
My choice of dessert was this light and refreshing chilled aloe in osmanthus-honey. However, although I liked it, I'd have to give this round to the boyf's order. I enjoyed his choice of dessert more than mine. Haha! (Yes, I know when to admit defeat.)
|Cold Water Chestnut Drink (P80)|
The restaurant serves house tea, which was more than enough for our visit. But since nag-iinarte ako, I figured I'd order something from their beverage menu as well. And while my drink was served late, after having the need to follow it up, I'd say I enjoyed it. I would've enjoyed it more if it came early though, since I was already full when it was served on the table. (But yup, I still finished it!)
There's already a good number of Chinese restaurants specializing in xiaolongbao that opened in Manila in the past few years, and Paradise Dynasty is definitely a welcome addition! Some may think that their colorful xiaolongbao seems like a gimmick to set them apart from the competition. But gimmick or not, these colorful soup gems are not only beautiful, but tasty as well. And while I liked the xiaolongbao just a teeny bit than its competitors', it's the la mien that I'm really excited to come back for.
Visiting on a Saturday late afternoon, we enjoyed a spacious restaurant void of the crowd, and with friendly and courteous service. However, there were definitely a few hiccups like my forgotten beverage order. I've also read from some reviews that service can be bad when there's a full house, which I luckily didn't experience. I guess to be safe, it's better to call in for reservations if you're coming in during peak hours (lunch/dinner on weekends).
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Paradise Dynasty, S Maison
Level 2, S Maison, Conrad Manila, Seaside Blvd. cor. Coral Way,
Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines
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