As a child, I loved dim sum. I love variety and dim sum is all about ordering numerous dishes. These days dim sum has lost favour with me, due to the fact I go to dim sum quite a lot. Going to the same place over and over again also is another reason so when my dentist recommended a new place called Imperial, I had to go.
Imperial is a fairly new Chinese restaurant located in Como which also does dim sum. If you go around 11am on a Saturday, you should be able to walk in and get a table. Any later, you risk a wait. Even being situated outside of Northbridge, it can’t escape the curse of its Northbridge counterparts. After being seated we ordered our obligatory Chinese tea and it wasn’t before too long for the dim sum to arrive. Here dim sum is served from a trolley or on trays carried by the waitstaff. Due to the small dining area (when compared to a place like Dragon Palace or Northbridge Chinese Restaurant) the dumplings arrived to our table still steaming hot. Something you are lucky to get if not seated near the kitchen door at Dragon Palace during a busy service.
The first to arrive was the Century Egg Porridge. Century Egg is not to everyone’s liking but I like it’s unique taste and texture combination. Combined with congee, pork and sometimes chicken, I tend to always order this at dim sum. This version was quite nice and the serving was huge. Not as tasty as other places but this maybe attributed to the low amount or lack thereof of MSG.
Next to arrive were the Bean Curd Rolls and Glutinous Rice. The delicate bean curd wrapped around pork minces were good and on par with other places. The glutinous rice and had pork mince filling and was average at best. I’m starting to believe that dim sum places can not serve up a good glutinous rice dish. For a good one check out Fook Kee.
One of my favourite dumplings is Siu Mai or Pork and Prawn dumpling. This version had two topped with tobiko and the other two topped with some sort of vegetable. The pork in the dumpling adds that bit of resistance to the bite that I like and it was very tasty. Very happy with this dumpling.
Another favourite is the Prawn Rice Flour roll. Satin like rice sheets wrap around succulent prawns, served with a sweet soya sauce. The sheets in this version was a bit tougher than I would like but not bad. What was strange was the top roll had three prawns while the two bottom rolls had only one prawn. Something I founnd very peculiar. Each roll required at least two prawns, so a bit disappointed.
Coriander is a refreshing herb and pairs well with prawn in this dumpling. This is a good dumpling to have to help refresh one’s self to eat more dumplings.
I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with the shanghai dumpling. Dumpling skins are not robust so a good portion of the time, the skin will rupture, spilling the soupy contents into the basket. This rendition solves this issue by also having the dumpling in the soup. The soup is tasty but since the dumplings are in the soup, the skin’s integrity is also affected. Rupturing of the skin almost guaranteed, but with a soup spoon you can still have it with the yummy soup.
It was time for dessert, so the green tea glutinous rice balls were ordered. This was something recommended by my dentist and they were very good. A chewy glutinous rice layer infused with grean tea surrounds a sweet yellow mung bean centre. The only qualm I have with this dish was that the glutinous rice layer was a little too tough for my full enjoyment.
I also ordered the mango pudding. This was the only bad dish of the meal, and something I would recommend to skip. The pudding lacked sweetness and a “cheesy” taste masked away the subtle mango. Not very pleasant.
Imperial is a place I definitely return to, not only for the dim sum but to also try their a la carte menu. The prices however are a bit dearer than its counterparts but the freshness and quality made up for that. We also saw some dishes we have never seen before so will definitely order those next time. I would recommend to peruse the menu and order anything from there straight away as not all the dishes will be on the trolley.