The Place It is a gorgeous space to begin with. Housed in one of the conserved colonial building in Dempsey, Min Jiang at Dempsey is the latest addition to this lifestyle destination. For those familiar to the Min Jiang brand, Min Jiang at One-North has closed and this is the Chinese restaurant’s second location other than its space at Goodwood Park Hotel.
The new Dempsey space is anything but a traditional oriental look. For one, I like the lush surrounding, full floor to ceiling glass window panes which wakes your senses up in the day, and the contemporary chinoiserie interior, something which I do not usually see in Chinese restaurants. There is a small bar area by the entrance of the restaurant, before you move on to the main dining area. Towards the end of the restaurant are three private rooms which can be combined to accommodate up to 26 diners.
The Food Helmed by Master Chef Goh Chee Kong who has been with Min Jiang for 17 years, the menu is a mix of new creations and classics from Min Jiang, with a primary focus on Cantonese and Sichuan cuisines. My dinner started with the intricately plated Steamed ‘Goldfish’ Prawn Dumpling (S$4.80/piece), served with egg white sauce and topped with tobiko. The texture of the dumpling skin is perfect, while the egg white sauce with chicken stock is delicious.
Next up is The Heritage Treasures Platter (S$88/serves 4), a mix of Crisp-fried Teochew Style Shrimp Roll; Braised Pork in Wuxi-style; Deep-fried Crabmeat with Chicken Liver and Salted Egg Yolk; and Stir-fried Freshly Harvested Seasonal Greens and Macadamia Nuts. My favourite here is the tender and flavourful braised pork prepared for a few hours. For the shrimp roll and crabmeat, I will recommend having it along with some sweet sauce which enhances its flavours better.
I always tend to order hot and sour soup at other Chinese restaurants but this version brings it to a whole new level. The Sichuan Hot and Sour Soup (S$12) at Min Jiang is uniquely accompanied with Prawn Spring Roll, served in a large stone pot to retain the temperature of the dish better. The soup is a good balance of spicy and sour elements, neither of which is overly domineering. The crispy spring roll is the icing to the cake here, wrapped with prawn and chicken meat in a thinly rolled fashion which makes it easy to dip into the soup, or simply enjoy the crispness as is.
For something to share, I enjoyed the Turbot Fish serves in Two Styles (Seasonal price / 100g). The first thing to note for me is that I do not usually come across turbot in Chinese restaurants, or probably because I do not have the impression of trying one which is done the oriental style. The two styles in this dish refer to the deep-fried version with almond flakes and bread crumbs, along with a stir-fried version with seasonal vegetables, Hon Shimeji mushrooms and truffle oil. Each style has its merits. The fried version is slightly spicer as it has elements of chilli sauce and fragrant oil added, complemented well by the addictive almond flakes and bread crumbs.
The stir-fried version spots a tinge of truffle oil and this method of preparation brings out the freshness of the turbot better.
I also had the Chicken and Kai Lan served with Ginger Paste (S$34). This dish uses local chicken and it reminded me of our local chicken rice. The chicken is tender and goes well with the ginger paste, prepared by blending ginger with spring onions in a 80-20 ratio. It is a competent dish, though it lacks surprise.
It is obligatory for me to have at least one tofu dish for a Chinese meal. This Homemade Tofu with Crabmeat, Assorted Mushrooms and Seasonal Greens (S$28) is one dish which I wouldn’t mind a second helping. The tofu is stuffed with three types of mushrooms, enoki, shiitake abs button mushrooms, mixed along with crabmeat. The sauce itself is delicious too, made by simmering Sri Lankan crabmeat with superior stock.
The last savoury dish I had was the Iberico Pork Fried Rice served in Mini Pumpkin accompanied with XO Sauce (S$18). I am usually not a big carb eater but I found myself finishing every grain of this fragrant rice. The flavourful and tender Iberico pork ‘char siu’ is quite the star here, and do not forget to mix the rice up with copious serving of the XO sauce.
For dessert, I tried the Chilled Blue Pea Lemongrass Jelly with Lime Sorbet and Malay Cake with Salted Egg Custard (S$12). The lemongrass jelly is a refreshing end to the meal, which is not too sweet and I do enjoy it.
Rants The restaurant is located at the far end of Dempsey and is not the most convenient spot to get to without a car.
Will I Return Again? In most aspects, Min Jiang at Dempsey is a competent addition to the Dempsey dining scene, which frankly needs a fresh injection of good concepts. I like the contemporary and convention defying space here, and I am already looking forward to return for lunch soon.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
Min Jiang at Dempsey
7A and 7B Dempsey Road
Tel: +65 6774 0122
Daily: 11:30am to 2:30pm; 6:30pm to 10:30p
Ranted by The Ranter