Crystal Jade Dining IN Manila 翡翠膳坊馬尼拉, a Taste of Cantonese Chinese Cuisine at the BGC Fort!

Early Warning! Remove all your previous notions of Crystal Jade in Manila - there is no xiao long bao at this Fort branch, the Crystal Jade Dining IN 翡翠膳坊馬尼拉 (FeiCui ShanFang Manila) has a different concept from the Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao (now Crystal Jade Shanghai Delight) in Greenhills (Casual Dining) =) I had the opportunity to visit CJ Dining IN (Fine Dining), which just opened at the Bonifacio High Street Central, and I must say that this is a must-try if you're looking for a new take on Chinese food in Manila (especially if you always spend holidays with the family in Chinese restaurants like me haha). Let me take you on this journey and introduce you to some Cantonese/Chinese cuisine =) As I always say, eating different cuisines in Manila is a great way to experience a slice of life in different parts of the world.

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A brief introduction of my food preference: I’m a proud Chinoy and I grew up eating lots of Chinese food (Gloria Maris for the most of my adult life and it survived that long because of Chinoy patrons) in Manila. I seldom crave for Chinese food because I know I'll have it a number of times in a year and we have it at almost every celebration. Some of my favorites include Birthday noodles and the usual 8 to 10 course meal called PanTo with the cold cuts, steamed Lapu-Lapu, crab, mango sago, etc. =) I'm definitely waiting for restaurants to introduce to my whole family, especially something that the elders will enjoy - something familiar yet different like with some food that they've never tried before (gets?). The ambiance must also meet their standards, including super accommodating staff who can speak Hokkien and private function rooms for super special occasions with the clan or their friends. 


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For Crystal Jade Dining IN at BGC, they prepared some of their most popular dishes for us from the time they did their soft launch =) This week, they just had their grand opening so Congratulations, CJ Manila! Crystal Jade is a Singapore franchise present in 9 countries (Singapore, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, Thailand, Philippines and Japan) and 18 cities in Asia. 


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This fine dining branch is huge and beautifully designed. It is located at the corner of the newest BGC complex where they have Jamba Juice and the Mind Museum.

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The Food
Appetizers

Bittergourd (Ampalaya) with Plum Sauce - The plum sauce balances the bitterness of the ampalaya so I put lots of it haha. They said this is a CJ best-seller for those who to add veggies to their meal.

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Crispy Duck Sandwich with Shredded Duck Fruit Salad (P680) - The salad is my favorite among all those they served for this meal. You can eat the duck sandwich whole. It's super crispy and you have to eat it with everything they put in there. It's quite a good mix. Both come as one order, good for 4 to 6 people.

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Drinks

Fresh Pomelo Juice - I had this and it's fresh but a bit bitter for me. They must have included and crushed the small seeds although I'm not sure.
Lemon Iced Tea - Chinese style - This is not your average Manila iced tea (Nestea haha). It's literally tea with squeezed lemon served hot. 

I would stick with the normal drinks next time or mango shake! I forgot to ask if they have soya milk.. They also have a selection of wines.

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Soup

Double-boiled Crab Claw Soup with Superior Mushroom in Fresh Coconut (P480/person) - This soup is pretty amazing. It's hot but has a refreshing flavor. The coconut keeps it warm and you can eat the meat (malauhog). 


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I love those white mushrooms and crab claw! I got full easily with this culprit. Haha. 

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Main Courses

Braised Pork with Special Sauce served with Mantou (P350/person) - If you're familiar with Dongpo Pork then this is it.

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It comes with one Mantou (bun). They tie it so as to maintain it's shape.

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Have the string removed and tada - that's loads of tender pork meat and fat (you'll survive haha)! 

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I actually just tried eating it now with the Fried Mantou. This balances the super rich flavor of the pork. You can order it separately and ask for condensed milk ;) Oh, so sinful.. 

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And we're not yet done! haha. This is the Sauteed Beef Rib with Basil Leaf and Spicy Sauce. The meat was super tender and the sauce was great. It's not as spicy but it's hard to debone. I wish it was boneless and had more meat. 

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Fried Assorted Grain Rice in Hot Stone Bowl - This was a nice surprise and it's the first time I saw this type of rice in a Chinese restaurant. I usually just have plain or Yangchow. I guess this is their take for the healthy eaters. This is a great alternative - organic mix of white and brown grain rice with corn, mushrooms, veggies, egg and pine nuts.

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Sauteed Scallop or Prawn with Chicken & Assorted Mushroom served in Pumpkin (P680 small) - Dig in and you'll find big New Zealand scallops or Super Prawns! Mmm..

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Desserts

Chilled Avocado Pudding & Pomelo (P180) - This was a winner - a very nice twist to the traditional Mango sago ;)

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A nice sweet ending to our delightful meal.

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Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Taro (P160/3 pcs) - I was too full to finish this (it was a bit dry too)

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but if it were me, I'd go for the Sesame Paste.. BTW, they have the Almond Cream - hot dessert.

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Upstairs / Private Areas

I went upstairs and looked at the private room, which can seat 48 people max. Great for small gatherings. I didn't see an elevator for elders, though it's not that high up. 


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There are also open booths on the 2nd floor.

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Downstairs

Nice place, huh? You can definitely call to reserve ahead here. Youngsters, there's WIFI! haha. Vegetarians, you can eat other things on their menu! No to MSG? Just tell 'em! For the adventurous, there's Salt & Pepper Frogs in the menu.. Want Birthday Noodles? Just ask! They can actually cook stuff that are not on the menu (things you usually eat in a Chinese restaurant, like sauteed veggies, 2-way Lapu Lapu, etc.). If the HK, Vietnam or Malaysian chefs can whip it up, then no problem =) Just don't ask for Xiao Long Bao hahaha. And their dimsum is until afternoon only.

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They even have these tanks where they keep the lobster and fish. I found this amusing when I was a kid and in a Chinese restaurant.

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Want private dining? Just close the curtains and enjoy a night at their round table ;) I just love Lazy Susans. It's a super easy way to share food with the family in a Chinese restaurant hehe. 

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Restaurant Details:
Unit SEUG201, Bonifacio High Street Central
30th Street corner 7th Avenue
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Open Mondays to Sundays 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
519-8191

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh, no Xiao long bao? But still a good find for Chinese culinary!
    It's fine dining, so it might be expensive, yeah? Will try to make a visit.

    ReplyDelete

Hi. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I'd love to hear from you =)