Sunday, 6 October 2013

Weird smelling things at Serenade Palace

Just don't be alarmed if you ever see it in its raw form...
Serenade Palace on Urbanspoon
A mad rush during lunch hour on Fathers Day this year meant a solid 20+ minute wait for a table at Serenade Palace. Quite a wait, and more so surprising, considering the restaurant has never been more than half full on other days I have been here.

It's a longstanding tradition of my family's to head out for Dim Sim for Mothers and Fathers Day; we'll be there, putting up a fight for a free table and battling all the other dads there who deserve a good siu mai on their special day without needing to struggle with the crowds.
Serenade Palace
The restaurant is still pumping and full of people eager for more rounds of dim sim on their lazy susans. Stacks of bamboo steamers are making their way around the floor on trolleys; some letting out lots of steam, representative of being freshly delivered right out of the kitchen while others not so much, having done many laps around the restaurant.

It is a huge disappointment that the majority of the items we call are barely even lukewarm. We were especially perplexed as to how some dishes that we ordered to be immediately steamed, still managed to come out lukewarm.

I think the only positive thought I left the restaurant with, was how beautiful this painting is. The colours are amazing, and I catch myself staring at this serene painted landscape every time.
Deep fried Prawn and Meat Dumplings - $4.90
We said "Yes, please" to the waitress who offered a plate of deep fried dumplings as our bottoms just touched down on our seats. As it was a frantic and mad dash for food in the restaurant that day, we unfortunately said yes to a plate of three cold deep fried dumplings.
Fresh Prawn Rice Flour Rolls - $5.20
I am somewhat surprised that these rice flour rolls ended up being one of the most satisfying dishes that landed on our table.
Deep fried Crab Meat Dumplings - $5.20
The deep fried crab meat dumplings are golden balls of crab "meat" - similar to the taste and texture of fish cakes, made out of surimi. Serenade Palace's version have a very thin batter, unlike others which might be wrapped in tofu skin and deep fried, giving it a very crisp, shattering between your teeth effect.
Prawn Dumplings - $5.20
These freshly steamed and plump pillows of prawns looked promising as they were plonked on the table, however I was not a fan of the flimsy dumpling skin, which tore apart easily as I tried to transfer it safely to my bowl. 
Steamed BBQ Pork Buns - $4.80
BBQ pork buns are the lovable must-haves at a dim sim chow down with many people, but not an item frequently on our eating agenda. I remember being scolded by my parents when I was a little one, as I had a strange habit of eating the bun and throwing out the filling; the reason for the scolding being not only because it was a waste, but because I'd be unnecessarily filling stomach space too fast. This is probably why we still don't order it these days - strategic eating is the buzz word in my family!

They usually comprise of too much bun (not a negative if the bun itself is soft and fluffy) and too little filling, be it meat or sauce, and these pork buns fit in perfectly well with this description.
Siu Mai - $4.80
The siu mai of chopped prawn and minced pork were satisfyingly juicy, with its high fat to meat ratio. A no no for me personally, but that's the guilty factor that makes them so satisfying.
Beef Tendon in Szechuan Sauce
A popular way of preparing tendon is to simmer the stuff until it is unbelievably soft. I am quite opposed to this way of eating tendon, as it takes away the enjoyment of gnawing away at the slightly chewy, almost crunchy texture of it when it is cooked al dente.

The tendon dim sim is not featured in the menu, but can be prepared when asked for. It is a less known, uncommon dim sim but nevertheless should definitely be tried. Just don't be alarmed if you ever see it in its raw form; if curiosity plagues you, let SeriousEats relieve you.
Steamed Tripe with Spring Onion and Ginger - $5.20
If there was a dish that was worthy of a mention, it is this. Don't get me wrong though - it is worthy of a mention for all the wrong reasons. As I picked up a piece of the steamed tripe, a strong, unpleasant stench started making its way up my nose. As I was about to put it in my mouth, I was mortified - the smell was from the piece of tripe; it reeked like body odour! Even dad, who didn't believe me when I told him initially, realised I wasn't telling fibs when the smell drifted past him.

I'm really not sure what it could possibly have been, but it was unfortunate because it really spoiled the tripe for me - it's usually one of my favourites. I ate one, but that's about all I could manage.
Red Bean Pudding
I practically halted the waitress who was serving these in her tracks; I love red bean! The flavour of red bean is very prominent in this sweet dessert pudding, with the top layer featuring a very compressed paste of it. The rest of the pudding comprises of coconut milk and red bean fragments mixed through, although I wasn't expecting it to be as dense when I bit into it, nor as sweet as it was.
Mango Cake
Instead of the common mango pudding dessert usually served at dim sim, I was highly intrigued by this mango cake that was being touted by the waitresses. Upon taking a bite, we all announced our reactions, which all happened to be the same: surprise. The texture was like nothing we had expected and its appearance gave nothing away - a bit like jelly but at the same time, it's nothing like jelly.

Your teeth immediately sink through the cake, as it is soft, airy and kind of like stiff egg whites. Simultaneously it is quite moist but bland; I wouldn't have guessed it was a mango dessert if not for the vivid yellow colour.
Steamed Fish Balls - $5.20
After dessert, it was straight back to the mains as we were not quite satisfied at this point (quantity and quality wise). As it was getting towards the end of dim sim service by this time (places usually stop serving around 3pm), further orders have to be requested then cooked to order, which is even a better option really!

I ordered some steamed fish balls, which strangely arrived not as hot as one would expect food to be if it came fresh from the kitchen. Steamed fish balls at dim sim are not quite like the fish balls found in packages from Asian grocers and in noodle soups, these are less "bouncier" to chew and taste more genuine.
Chicken Feet with Spicy Sauce - $4.80
Chicken feet are a sometimes food for me, and this occasion was one of those "sometimes not" occasions. Serenade Palace's version looked tempting and flavoursome from being soaked in that vibrantly red and garlicky sauce. The fiery looking redness is just that - fiery looking, but much more mild in taste.
Setting the tables for dinner service
Serenade Palace is a mixed lucky dip bag - you never really know what you will get and it's best not to have any set expectations in place. I have been here a few times for dim sim but never for dinner, and I find that my weekday visits are quieter and generally the food seems to be of a better quality than what we experienced on a very busy and hectic but loving Fathers Day.
Serenade Palace, Warwick
Serenade Palace Urbanspoon page
Open 7 days
Mon - Fri: 11am - 2.30pm
Sat - Sun: 10am - 3pm
Mon - Thurs: 4.30pm - 10pm
Fri - Sat: 4.30pm - 10.30pm
Sun: 4.30pm - 9.30pm

(08) 92038828
Warwick Entertainment Centre
Shop 3B, 639 Beach Road Warwick, WA 6024


  1. Love yum cha - we always order har gau, siu mai and cha siu bau. Washed down with endless cups of tea of course :)

    1. Haha, no wonder why those items are seen as dim sim staples! I love how you call it "yum cha" and actually do yum a lot of cha. The food is the focus for me, no wonder I call it dim sim instead of yum cha hey? :)

  2. Waooo!! That mango cake looks fantastic! For awhile, I thought it was some sort of fruit!

    And I totally agree with your family! I tend to stay away from buns except for the runny yolk/pineapple custard ones :)!

    1. Yep, it lured me in with its striking good looks! Haha, strange how we can probably fit 3 runny yolk buns in yet can fit only 1 boring bun in right?
      If you like pineapple custard buns, you should try the buns with real pineapple filling. They used to have them at Royal Seafood, I'm not sure if they still do...

  3. Oh I love Dimsums but the husband hates them which means I have to eat them usually alone but I don't care as they are my favorite.

    1. How could he possibly hate dim sum, have you made him realise that he's probably the only person that hates it yet? ;) Not a bad thing though I guess, when it just means no sharing is needed :)


So what did you eat today?

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