Weekends are for over-eating. It is a fair statement that may be painful to digest but very true. On Sunday, my initial grand plan to take down the menu at Clinton Street Bakery for the third time failed. I got to Clinton at 11am only to be told a table for five will take 1.5 hours. My behaviour is not at its best during Hanger so we high-tailed out of there. However just forty minutes later and while standing in the middle of Orchard Road, Clinton called and said a table was available. Seriously guys.
But it was no loss because I had the most creative and sumptuous dim sum buffet at Mitzo. Widely known as the sexiest Cantonese restaurant in Singapore (there is even a jellyfish tank in the adjourning bar!), classic Cantonese dishes are given a modern twist. I will be first to admit that when I come across words such as “modern twist”, immediately I will lose interest immediately. Because more often than not, the flavour combinations will be either weird or trying-too-hard. And sometimes after eating all kinds of Western food, a Chinese just wants to have straight-up traditional Chinese cuisine. But Mitzo was different. Sure, their dishes look different from traditional Cantonese dim sum. In some cases, a tad too colourful (how often does one see purple flowers adorning Har Gaos?!) However superb execution was evident in almost all dishes. On any given day I choose flavour and ingredients treated with utmost respect over looks but Mitzo triumphs in all respects.
Upon being seated, we promptly pencilled in “1” to almost every dish on the menu. Unlike the chaos of traditional dim sum, Mitzo’s atmosphere was relaxed and daintily-portioned dishes were as fine as Chinese dim sum could get.
We had quite a spread so here are the best dishes of the afternoon.
Steamed crystal prawns dumpling 虾饺 – the prettiest Har Gao I have ever seen! Adorned with purple flower petals, these did not just look good but were very well-executed. When I see this dish, I can only recall the crunchiness of the fresh shrimps and the chewy translucent dumpling skin. A stunning feat.
Crispy duck roll 脆皮炸鸭春卷 was my favourite of the afternoon. Crispy springrolls jam-packed with shredded duck and a single strip of cucumber topped with mayo. Devoid of any dryness or gaminess, we needed a second plate of this.
Poached chicken in spicy sauce 口水太爷鸡 – this was a textural winner. The chicken was beautifully tender and juicy.
Stir-fried scallop with egg white and fresh milk 带子炒鲜奶 – the fresh milk might put you off but there was little hint of milkiness. In reality, a rich egg white concoction with tiny cubed scallops. This dish may not have veered too far from the classic we have come to love but was still much enjoyed.
Mitzo special barbecued pork 蜜汁叉烧 – my second favourite of the afternoon. The caramelized and crunchy exterior with tender interior was so addictive! A second plate was ordered within minutes.
Crystal vegetable dumplings 水晶菜饺 – strong in truffle taste. This was immensely enjoyed by those who had it.
Pan-fried ribeye in wasabi and Korean chilli sauce 日韩煎牛扒 – not photographed was the beautiful pinkiness in the middle and that beautiful sear. At the same time, I was floored by the tenderness of every slice. Very very well done with utmost respect to the beef, it was this dish that made me respect Mitzo.
Custard bun 流沙奶皇包 this caused quite a stir on my Instagram. Not only was this salted egg yolk custard visually stunning with the unusual charcoal bun and yellow crescents but the fluffy buns packed with liquid custard gave us more joy. When my friend tried to “share” a piece, we begged her not too. If you don’t place this near your mouth when the bun splits open, be prepared for hot custard all over your hands.
Deep-fried shrimp dumpling 脆皮明虾角 and Crispy bean curd roll 家乡鲜竹卷 the former, with its thin crispy skin and supple prawns: truly joyous. The latter was also a well-executed dim sum classic. If you can’t put a spin on it, don’t butcher it. Mitzo didn’t.
Pan-fried duck with mushroom in spicy peanut sauce 麻香辣子煎鸭脯 this single dish provided much discussion during our meal because the pieces of extremely tender meat did not taste or resemble duck. At all. I only knew it was duck as I recalled the waiter saying so upon placing on the table. However the meat was nowhere near duck meat’s usual deep red. Duck or not, my carnivorous self was well-pleased with the tenderness.
Stir-fried Osmanthus chicken 桂花炒鸡柳 was one of the prettiest dish of the spread. While visually stunning, you either like chicken with floral accents or hate it. I hated it.
Wok-fried duck with assorted mushroom and Chinese yam 山药野菌炒鸭脯 thin slices of roast duck stir-fried with an assortment of mushrooms. Each piece coated with a thick spicy Chinese brown sauce; so nice.
Vegetable bun 菜包 another dish that showcased Mitzo’s creativity, this bun filled with chopped up mushrooms was shaped entirely like a button mushroom, right down to the “stem.” This was mind-blowing! The shape will cause your mind to expect the taste of a mushroom. However, upon biting into it, the fluffy bun texture will completely throw you off-guard with the truffly innards will reel you back. Totally cute, delicious and fun!
Wasabi infused baked fish 青芥茉焗鱼柳 no one at the table liked this but me. Maybe my love for Wasabi Prawns has forever tuned my tastebuds to enjoy any marriage of wasabi and seafood.
Crispy pork belly served with bun 脆皮烧肉包 – the clear winner of the afternoon! One dish we all loved and could not get enough. Each bun contained a thick piece of pork belly with an extremely crunchy skin. We had three plates of this.
Here are the other dishes that fared alright.
Deep-fried tofu with spicy seaweed 紫菜脆豆腐 consisted of little cubes of soft tofu with an crisp exterior.
Braised sliced abalone with bamboo pith soup 黄焖鲍丝竹苼羹
Braised truffles udon 浓汤黑菌焖乌冬
Not pictured: Crispy prawns with spicy mango sauce 香芒脆虾球 and Braised congee with scallops 瑶柱带子粥. I have an unusual and almost immature complaint about the prawns with mango sauce, it was much too fruity.
Char Siew bun 叉烧包 this dim sum classic was a surprising disappointment. Charcoal-flavoured steamed buns were “off” and a reason charcoal is a rarely-seem spin on the classic. The pork filling was nowhere as fragrant or memorable as a good char siew bun elsewhere.
While the savouries excelled in creativity and execution, these were completely missing from the desserts. Completely. I have never been to restaurant where all the desserts failed to impress. Seriously, all five desserts were a letdown. One could not help but feel that after so much energy was expended with the savouries, the kitchen adopted a heck-care attitude with the desserts. For example, the Double-boiled almond cream with glutinous rice ball 杏仁茶汤圆 may have been rich with the almond taste but frozen glutinous rice balls sold in supermarkets trumps the single glutinous rice ball here. The dough was so thick and devoid of any chewiness. The Chilled mango cream with sago and pomelo topping 杨枝甘露 was rightfully yellow but could have benefitted from more mangoes and flavour as it was just bland. I could not find the pomelo. The Fruits tart 水果塔 resembled those from Delifrance but paled in comparison. The mini Pandan & egg tart 斑兰蛋塔, I have no idea where to start. Thick pastry shells that lacked any crispiness and weak pandan flavour. More could have been done. As my friends suggested, some coconut shreds adorning each tart? Finally the only non-letdown Aloe vera with osmanthus jelly 芦荟桂花冻 was just that.
When you dine at Mitzo’s weekend brunch, go all out for the savouries! Each will pleasure your taste buds and a feast for your eyes. Skip desserts. Walk across the road to Paragon and satiate your sweet tooth with Da Paolo Gastronomia or Chalk Farm. You will be much happier.