Sherman's Food Adventures: Neptune Palace Dim Sum Service (The Amazing Brentwood)

Neptune Palace Dim Sum Service (The Amazing Brentwood)

After a good dinner service at the newly-opened Neptune Palace at The Amazing Brentwood, we made plans to return for Dim Sum.  This is my M.O. when it comes to Cantonese restaurants because their dinner and Dim Sum chefs are usually not the same person.  Therefore, judging these restaurants solely on dinner or Dim Sum alone is not only not representative of the food in general, it is rather unfair as well.  So only week later, we returned on a busy Sunday morning for the Dim Sum rush.

We started with the Lobster & Shrimp Dumplings that consisted of 4 shrimp dumplings and one special shrimp dumpling in the middle with lobster on top.  Due to that special dumpling in the middle, all the other ones got stuck to it and hence, when picked up with chopsticks, the dumpling wrapper tore.  Despite this, the dumplings were good with a wrapper exhibiting elasticity.  Inside, the large pieces of shrimp were well-seasoned and exhibited good shrimpiness.  Texturally, the shrimp had a meaty snap.

Next, we had the Truffle Siu Mai (Pork & Shrimp Dumplings).  I like the trend with 5 dumplings being the standard rather than 4.  It is a much more versatile amount when it comes to multiples.  I digress.  The dumplings themselves were quite good. There was an even mix of tender bouncy pork with equally bouncy shrimp.  There was a bit of pork fat, which was fine as it added both flavour and helped bind everything.  Seasoning was on point and the whole thing didn't taste too porky.  Of course the dollop of truffle sauce added woodsiness.

As per usual, we got the kid's favourite in the Garlic Shrimp Spring Rolls.  They actually gave us a bonus order (as they messed up), but being the honest people that we are, we sent it back.  Curses for being honest!  Anyways, these were very good with a crunchy exterior.   Not too greasy either.  The filling was mostly big pieces of shrimp that were well-seasoned and had a snappy bite.

Food came out pretty fast at this point and our table got pretty crowded with food.  We anticipated this and split out order into 2 rounds.  So for some offal dishes, we had the Steamed Chicken Feet first.  Although one particular foot was mangled, the rest were decent in size and fairly plump.  All of the cartilage and fat underneath were soft, yet not melted away.  This was aggressively seasoned where it was sweet and salty.

Of course, offal isn't offall without Tripe and Tendon.  This dish was overloaded with it whereas some places give you meager amounts.  We found big strips of honeycomb tripe that was soft, yet still maintaining a bite.  Underneath, the large pieces of tendon were super tender while not completing melting away.  Both were sauced with starch-thickened glaze that was garlicky, sweet and savoury.

Very light on the greens (onion and cilantro), the Beef Meatballs were also quite good.  Although they were modest in size (cue the jokes...), the dish had 4 of them, so there was still a decent amount of meat. Texturally, they were a bit on the firmer side, but still had that whipped meat mousse bounce and airiness.  Typically with this dish, the meat is mildly seasoned and this was no exception.  That's completely alright as you need to dip it into Worcestershire sauce anyways.

One of the more disappointing dishes was the Steamed Black Bean Spare Ribs.  Now it was actually seasoned well with a garlicky saltiness.  Also, the good rib pieces exhibited that preferred meaty bounciness that you want in this dish.  So what is the problem right?  Well, most of it was cartilage pieces that had little-to-no-meat and also fatty pieces that were not edible.  So this could totally be back luck, but it wasn't great nonetheless.

Since we already ordered spare ribs, we decided to get the Cured Pork Belly and Sausage Clay Pot Rice instead.  The rice was surprisingly good with a nutty chewiness that indicated it was cooked in the clay pot itself (and long enough too).  We did laugh at the meager amount of sliced sausage though (they could've put a few more right?).  At least there was enough cured pork belly.  No matter, the rice was good and we ate it with the spare ribs.  LOL... 

For our requisite rice noodle roll, we ordered the Prawn Rice Noodle Roll with flowering chives.  Now this was stuffed full of large meaty prawns with 3 to a roll.  They were mildly seasoned where they still had the natural sweet aroma of prawns.  As for the rice noodle itself, I found this to be medium-thick, yet not heavy.  There was some elasticity to the noodle, although it was soft.

One of their grand opening specials on the Dim Sum menu is the Whole Lobster with Crystal Noodles.  Although it was a smaller lobster, we found it more than adequate for the price.  It was fresh and had a decent amount of bouncy and sweet meat.  However, the best part of the dish was indeed the crystal noodles as they were both plentiful and beautifully textured.  They were soft, yet exhibiting the classic chewiness.  This was bordering on salty, but it tasted great with the stir-fry of white and green onions as well as ginger.

To really make sure we were full, we also ordered the E-Fu with Black Truffle and Seafood (aka Yee Mein).  This was a huge portion served in a large pot.  The noodles were soft, yet still retained a bite while the amount of bay scallops, shrimp and fish was substantial.  They were barely cooked, which was perfect.  They also didn't skimp on the black truffle sauce as the whole thing was very earthy.  I'd order this again.

Onto dessert, we got 2 items including the Portuguese Tarts.  Exhibiting the classic blistered and charred top, these tarts were pretty good.  Although the puff pastry was not exactly like the Portuguese tarts that I'm used to (they were like regular egg tart shells), they were still good being buttery and flaky (fully cooked too).  In the middle, the filling was creamy and light while being purposefully sweet and aromatic.

Our last dessert was actually a combination of 2 paying homage to the Tortoise & the Hare with the BBQ Pork Tortoise Buns and Coconut Pudding Bunnies (Year of the Rabbit reference?).  The buns were good being light and fluffy with a crispy sugary topping.  The BBQ pork was lean and coated in a sweet glaze.  The coconut pudding was on the firmer side, but was just sweet enough.  Overall, we found the Dim Sum at Neptune Palace to be good.  However, the dining room is far too small and they put us at one of the "temporary" tables at the front.  These tables did not exist during dinner service on our previous visit.  Hence, it wasn't that comfortable with people nudging by throughout our meal.  So I guess your experience will highly depend on your luck with whichever table you are seated at.  For a Michelin-recommended spot, this is not optimal.

The Good:
- Generally solid eats
- Despite being busy, service was quite good
- Satisfies a need in the area (as in no place like this nearby)

The Bad:
- Dining room is far too small for the amount of tables they squeeze into it for Dim Sum


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