Taste Paradise on Mosque Street

[Photos courtesy of Umami.]

Ever had tze char that does fusion food? No? Neither have I.

So it is with some trepidation that I walked down Pagoda Street looking for 29 Mosque Street.

And upon reaching 29 Mosque Street, I was staring at a dark building that housed an Import/Export company and a poster promising sensual massage.

If someone needs to film a horror movie about a shophouse that bodes evil, this is the place.

This all started when I was complaining to a friend that I have been to a few fine restaurants and tze char restaurants the past month and with the exception of a few restaurants, the tze chars seem to be the better place for a meal. So, this appeared to be a compromise. Or so I thought.

In any case, walking (rapidly) down towards the brighter section of Mosque Street, I finally found the place called Taste Paradise. And yes, the brightly-lit building across Taste Paradise also promised a sensual massage.

The restaurant itself is a soothingly lit place. Upon approach, the doors swing open and you are greeted by people smiling brightly. The decor is your typical Chinese restaurant going for the Zen look.

The difference here is that they have the budget. Rumor has it that Taste Paradise started out in Defu Lane and only moved to Chinatown recently.

After some hard wrangling, the restaurant finally relented on charging corkage. Seriously, this is a very important consideration for us diners. The Liquor Licence does not cost $6,000 per annum.

The menu is quite difficult to read as one is constantly distracted by the words "Pan-seared Foie Gras". So the dinner menu was created in the background while we busied ourselves by preparing the wines.

This is one of the few Chinese restaurants that actually serves an Amuse Bouche. A crafty concoction of Dragonfruit, sliced grape and cold prawn in mayo served in Kiwi Fruit oil.

Impressive, but not nearly as impressive as the Pan-fried Foie Gras with Fried Prawns topped with Crab Roe and something called "Beegee Selaseh" (no one spelled it for me as I did not ask). The Foie Gras was dipped in batter and then "pan-fried", which is something rarely done now in these "Pan-searing" times.

Like all high-end restaurants, an individual portion is served. This is a good thing especially when Foie Gras is on the menu.

Oh yes, they have something called "Pan-fried Foie Gras with Abalone" too if you are looking for something really decadent.

The Hashima and Seafood soup was hearty and the taste was greatly improved by adding a well-known secret sauce that is readily found in any Chinese kitchen in the world. This secret sauce can also radically change any broth or soup, e.g. Shark’s Fin, for the better.

For those who do not know what Hashima is, especially non-Chinese, you are better off not knowing.

Oh yes, the Fallopian tube(s) of the snow frog is noted for being very good for nourishing the lungs.

Moving right along… The Cod fish (oh yes, we Chinese are famous for our conservation efforts) with Crab Roe and honey was creamy and sweet. We had a 2000 Fritz Haag Riesling to go with it. Beautiful.

Then came the time to break out the heavy reds as the meat courses began. First up to bat is the Baked Rack of Lamb in Red Wine sauce. It had a sweet, Port-like taste yet the baking also imparted a flavour that is not quite unlike Satay.

We found the lamb to be very tender. Some even ventured to say that it was an over-application of a tenderizer. Like most men, my only complaint was the size of the rack: Too small!

The Sauteed Scallops with Asparagus and Lily buds was a nice combination of Lily buds and Asparagus with juicy Scallops all sauteed up.

Seriously, with XO sauce and crunchy Asparagus, this was a no-brainer. Wonderfully spicy with the Lily buds competing against the Asparagus in the Crunchily Good category. The Scallops, unfortunately, was overwhelmed by the XO sauce.

The star of the dinner was the Crispy Spare Ribs in Fine Chinese Wine.

If the Rack of Lamb was very tender, this beautiful dish has gone beyond the Tenderness Scale.

Deliciously sweet Pork ribs that simply slides off the bone and disintegrates softly in your mouth. It has that slight burnt taste that is the mark of a good "Wok Hei". Some lucky people could even crunch up the bone. This is the one thing you must order when you are at Taste Paradise.

Finally came the "carbo" of the dinner. This is a traditional practice to make sure that everyone has eaten their fill.

Known as the Traditional Wok-Fried Mee Sua, this was a simple dish with some meat and fish cakes in it. However, it is a testament to the skill of the Chef to take such simple ingredients to create something that still lingers in the memory of people. The "wok hei" was subtle in this simply wonderful dish.

Dessert was rounded off by a strange but very refreshing mix of Dragonfruit, Aloe Vera, Grass Jelly and an Apple Sorbet with a leaf of mint. This launched an interesting discussion on how before the second World War, there was no such thing as a Dragonfruit and how a friend’s friend does not want to take it because of the fact.

The service at Taste Paradise is excellent, it has a valet service, which is a good thing in Mosque Street and the food, with small "Western" influences, was well executed. Prices are a little on the pricey side (about $80 per pax).

While I would not call it Haute Cuisine, it’s a nice place to have dinner with friends, bring a date or impress your parents and/or in-laws. Their menu offer no promises of sensual massages though.


Taste Paradise is at 48-49 Mosque Street (Chinatown). Reservations can be made at 62262959.

Posted on 13th May 2006 in Food and Drink


There Are 2 Comments


lelearn commented on May 17, 2006 at 6:43 pm

Also recommend the teochew restaurant opposite, Lee Kui (Ah Hoi) Restaurant if you’ve not been there before. Excellent braised goose, cold crab, garlic crayfish!


ivan commented on May 17, 2006 at 8:37 pm

Got sensual massage or not? 🙂

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