Friday, July 3, 2009

Jasmine 八月花

It was the 1st of July and everywhere seemed to be so crowded. Good that we booked a table otherwise the waiting time would have been over 30 mins. I have been to Jasmine 八月花 @ Festival Walk many times already but usually for lunch only. This time I can try out some of the dinner items and maybe I can figure out why this place is always so crowded. Before I go into the food items, I wanted to express how I enjoyed reading its menu. Similar to its sister restaurant House of Jasmine 八月居 @ TST, the menu was very well designed with a touch of artistic feel to it, especially with the transparent pages in between. Unlike the usual menu items with some plain background, this one adds in a theme to the who menu reading experience.

We ordered the following: Starters - (1) Eggplant with sesame sauce 醬麻茄子 (2) Marinated ox cheek with sweet bean 家傳甜臉珠 (3) Crispy BBQ suckling pig 脆皮BB豬, Main - (4) Steamed Egg white fresh crab meat with lobster sauce 龍蝦汁鮮蟹肉蒸蛋白 (5) Shrimp pastes lettuce in hot pot 三蝦唐生菜 (6) Signature crispy fried Chicken (7) Stir-fried scramble egg with conpoy 桂花炒銀芽 (8) Guava Sweet and Sour Pork 石榴子咕嚕肉, Dessert - (9) pan-fried sticky rice cake with black sesame 香麻煎軟餅. We ordered traditional dishes rather than many of their fusion offerings because they are just not tempting enough even with their pretty pictures. Maybe I will try those fusion dishes next time.

(1) Eggplant with sesame sauce 醬麻茄子
A fair dish in general, the eggplant was well prepared to my liking. It was slightly chilled (as a starters) to give it the right texture. The sauce was good with rich sesame taste while not too thick. Sometimes it is the simple dishes that most satisfy your taste bud in my opinion.

(2) Marinated ox cheek with sweet beans 家傳甜臉珠
This item was in the special menu and Chinese name made me ordered this dish. However, no surprises at all, a bit disappointed actually due to the high expectation perhaps. It tasted just like any thinly sliced beef brisket with tendon. On a positive note though, I like the sweet beans because they were not the soft types, they were the really hard type which I think is the traditional way to prepare it. In either case, I like it the way this way.

(3) Crispy BBQ suckling pig 脆皮BB豬
This is one of their so-called signature dishes; however, I do have some reservation. Yes the skin layer was very crispy and thin, but somehow I found it a bit fatty still as a whole. Maybe it is from the very fatty layer in between the skin or it has been left out in the cold for a period causing extra fatty oil to solidify. This little baby pig was definitely an overweight pig. My suggestion is that if you are coming here in a big group, I think you should try ordering the Crispy BBQ whole suckling pig because it can ensure it is freshly prepared.

(4) Steamed Egg white fresh crab meat with lobster sauce 龍蝦汁鮮蟹肉蒸蛋白
In my opinion, this dish should be called steamed lobster bisque on egg white. Why? It was because there were so much lobster sauce and that it was so rich it tasted like lobster bisque. Egg white itself has no taste in general (or light taste), but with this sauce, the egg white served as a complementary items to give the dish the texture it needed. That was all.

(5) Shrimp pastes lettuce in hot pot 三蝦唐生菜
Compared with Victoria City 海都海鮮酒家 dish, there is still room for improvement. Taste wise it was good, rich in shrimp paste and it came with dried prawns and crayfish (I think) as well. However, it wasn't "dry" enough resulting in the generation of excess water in the pot while eating. Wished the lettuce can be a bit more crispy as well. I think the reason was the type of clay pot they use, just a wild guess.

(6) Signature crispy Fried Chicken 炸子雞
Whenever possible, I would rather order one whole chicken because it would have a higher chance to be freshly prepared. The half portion we ordered should be a half from a freshly fried chicken based on the skin texture which was crispy. However, it was a bit too salty even without the sauce and spices. Overall a fair dish I guess and it is rather hard to make this dish badly.

(7) Stir-fried scramble egg with conpoy 桂花炒銀芽
An interesting serving presentation. Usually this dish is served without those white pancakes but it was an interesting combination especially when mixed with the XO sauce that came with it. The scramble egg was slightly overcooked but it was acceptable thanks to the texture of the bean spouts which overtook the focus of the ingredients. Worth trying it especially eating it with the pancakes and XO sauce.

(8) Guava Sweet and Sour Pork 石榴子咕嚕肉
A common dish in a Chinese restaurant but by no means the an easy dish to make. Luk Yu Tea House 陸羽茶室 is one of the places I have tried so far that can really make a good sweet and sour pork. Usually the sweet and sour pork is prepared with pineapple, but once in awhile you will see various combination such as strawberries or lychee (ie: Luk Yu Tea House). Here they used diced Guava (inside a transparent flour batter) which was refreshing indeed. Plus, the fried pork itself was not bad at all, batter was thin, meat was tender even after being fried. A surprisingly good dish.

(9) Pan-fried sticky rice cake with black sesame 香麻煎軟餅
The sticky rice layer was too thick but the sesame paste inside was a surprise. Instead of using plain grinded sesame paste, it used a mixture of paste and whole sesame. The whole sesame provided a crispy texture to the chewing sensation and gave off an extra aroma as well. Only if the stick rice layer was thinner than it would be very nice indeed.

  • Stir-fried scramble egg with conpoy 桂花炒銀芽 (especially the pancake + XO sauce)
  • Pan-fried sticky rice cake with black sesame 香麻煎軟餅 (especially its use of sesame paste + whole sesame mixture)
  • Guava Sweet and Sour Pork 石榴子咕嚕肉 (refreshing combination of using Guava)
  • Contemporary Menu

  • Fusion style steamed egg white with "lobster bisque" requires much improvement
  • Relatively small portions for a Chinese restaurant
  • Food served too quickly + possibly a lot of them are pre-cooked

Jasmine 八月花
Shop No.25, G/F, Festival Walk,
80 Tat Chee Avenue,
Kowloon Tong
Tel: 2333 0222

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