Zi Char - Paradise Group (Canton Paradise)

October 27, 2014 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Zi Char - Paradise Group (Canton Paradise)
2 Jurong East Central 1
#02-09 JCube

311 New Upper Changi Road
#B2-10 Bedok Mall

1 Vista Exchange Green
#B1-45 The Star Vista

1 Sengkang Square
#03-19 Compass Point

53 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3
#B2-01 Ang Mo Kio Hub

112 East Coast Road
#B1-15 I12 Katong


Good Dim Sum & Roast Meats

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 8
Ambience & Setting: 7
Food & Beverage: 8
Service: 9
Value for Money: 7
Spent about SGD $28 per person.


Canton Paradise is the Paradise Group Dim Sum concept restaurant, styled after Hong Kong tea houses. Welcoming diners into a elegant oriental setting, and serving up Cantonese favourites like Dim Sum, Congee, Wanton Dumplings, and Roast Meats, as well as a selection of Chinese Zi Char dishes, I enjoyed my dining experience at Canton Paradise!

Ambience at Canton Paradise is styled after a traditional Chinese tea house, but with touches of elegance. Colours themes of purple, black and gold lend an air of sophistication and royalty, while partitions and furniture in oriental style bring to mind the traditional. As befitting the Hong Kong tea house inspiration, the interior does get noisy and bustling during peak periods. I also like that the roast meats are well displayed, and look appetizing!

Service at Zi Char - Paradise Group (Canton Paradise) is efficient, with orders served extremely quickly, even during peak periods! I also like that they assign a particular staff to attend to a selected group of tables, which results in more proactive attentiveness, such as quick clearing of dirty / empty plates, topping up of drinks, and friendly service. Staff are also knowledgable on the menu, and able to make recommendations. Excellent!

Food at Canton Paradise includes a variety of Cantonese specialities, such as double boiled soups, roast meats, dim sum, and wanton dumplings. They also do pretty good Chinese Zi Char dishes, as per the rest of Paradise Group. Portions are meant for sharing, and communal dining is encouraged. But I find prices to be slightly higher than other dim sum restaurants, budget about SGD $28 or more per person for a meal here.


A steaming Tea Pu Er (SGD $1.20) & Salted Peanuts to start off the meal. Love the deep, earthy taste of the tea, great as a palate cleanser too!

Tea Pu Er & Salted Peanuts

We ordered the BBQ Combination (SGD $22.80) with 3 varieties of meat - BBQ Pork With Honey Sauce, Crackling Pork Belly, and Crispy Roasted Duck. Perfect for sharing, and I find it value for money for the portion size, overall, this is an above average dish.

The BBQ Pork With Honey Sauce is sweet, and the meat is well marinated, but I find it lacks a noticeable smoky char of grilling. The Crackling Pork Belly is above average, with skin that is so crispy and satisfiying with a loud crunch, but while the meat is tender, there is a strong smell of pork. The Crispy Roasted Duck has a nice savoury, salty taste, and the duck is tender and moist, but the skin isn't too crisp.

BBQ Combination

BBQ Pork With Honey Sauce

BBQ Pork With Honey Sauce Slab

Crackling Pork Belly

Crispy Roasted Duck

Loved the Double Boiled Spare Ribs Soup With Chinese Yam And Snow Pear (SGD $8.80), the soup is fragrant and sweet from the infusion of snow pear and chinese yam. The fruits are suitably soft, as is the tender pork ribs at the bottom. A very good Cantonese style soup / broth!

Double Boiled Spare Ribs Soup With Chinese Yam And Snow Pear

The Duck Soup With Winter Melon, Barley And Lotus Leaf (SGD $6.80) features small chunks of tasty, tender duck meat on bone, with soft, tender slices of winter melon and barley. This Cantonese style soup / broth is fragrant, with a balance of salty and savoury tastes, and a slight sweetness from the barley. Pretty good!

Duck Soup With Winter Melon, Barley And Lotus Leaf

A standard bowl of White Rice (SGD $0.50) which accompanies nearly every Chinese meal. The rice here is well cooked, with grains that separate easily without clumping together.

White Rice

The Canton Jumbo Prawn Wanton Soup (SGD $8.90) features huge, fresh prawns, wrapped in a dumpling skin that is thin enough to be translucent, yet thick enough to hold together without falling apart. Very good wantons, but the soup is rather astringent, with a strong soybean taste that I didn't quite like.

Canton Jumbo Prawn Wanton Soup

The Prawn Dumpling Soup (SGD $8.90) sadly, isn't as good as the other dumpling soups. The lettuce soup / broth has that same astringent, sour taste. But what causes this to be less value for money is the 5 small dumplings within. While the prawns are fresh and meaty, there is little stuffing within each dumpling, and some contain black fungus or mushrooms, while others don't. Also, I find this skin to be much thicker than other dumplings. Skip this.

Prawn Dumpling Soup

The Congee Scallop, Prawns, Sliced Garoupa (SGD $11.20) was so heavenly! The congee porridge was thick yet smooth, and fragrant with ginger infusion. The garoupa fish is thickly sliced and very fresh, without any bones. The fresh seafood, consisting of prawns and scallops, were large, meaty, and scrumptious.

Congee Scallop, Prawns, Sliced Garoupa 01

Congee Scallop, Prawns, Sliced Garoupa 02

You can also choose to get the Congee 2 Varieties (SGD $8.20), which allows you to choose 2 ingredients to add to the fragrant, thick, smooth Congee. I chose the Congee Sliced Grass Carp, Hand Made Pork Meatball. The grass carp fish slices are slightly thin, but there are sufficient pieces within. I also loved the tasty pork meatball, which was fresh and tightly packed. Very good!

Congee Sliced Grass Carp, Hand Made Pork Meatball 01

Congee Sliced Grass Carp, Hand Made Pork Meatball 02

The Steamed Pork Dumpling (SGD $5.80), or Dim Sum Siew Mai, is fresh and meaty, very delicious! I like the little garnish of fish roe on top, lending a splash of colour!

Steamed Pork Dumpling

The Steamed Prawn Dumpling (SGD $5.80), or Dim Sum Har Gow, is well made, with fresh, meaty prawns within the soft, pliable dumpling skin that is just the right thickness.

Steamed Prawn Dumpling

The Steamed Spare Ribs With Black Bean (SGD $4.30) is fragrant and delicious, with a good ration of lean pork meat to fat. Love how tender the meat is, and the fat comes off easily too.

Steamed Spare Ribs With Black Bean

I felt the Steamed Scallop And Scrambled Egg White Dumpling (SGD $4.90) was odd in terms of taste and texture. Not used to the gooey, almost cartilage like substance within, this unusual combination with the soft egg white tasted quite plain. Personally, I didn't like it.

Steamed Scallop And Scrambled Egg White Dumpling

The Steamed BBQ Honey Pork Bun (SGD $4.60) was really good. The bun is soft and fluffy, served piping hot, and holds the savoury mixture of BBQ honey pork really well. The meat itself is very tasty, with a slight hint of sweetness. Highly recommended!

Steamed BBQ Honey Pork Bun

The sauce of the Wanton With Chilli Oil (SGD $5.80) is the real winner here. A well balanced mix of quality vinegar and chili oil result in a sauce that is predominately sour and tangy, with a hint of spicy. The wanton dumplings are large and meaty, holding the meat juice really well, but I find the skin slightly too thick.

Wanton With Chilli Oil

Love the Crisp Fried Egg Plant With Pork Floss (SGD $7.80), with its crisp, almost crunchy texture! I also like that it isn't too oily, but the overall taste without the pork floss is rather plain... but together, it's quite tasty!

Crisp Fried Egg Plant With Pork Floss

The Steamed Ling Zhi Spring Water Tofu With Minced Pork And Salted Fish (SGD $13.80) is incredibly silky smooth in texture, with a fragrant hint of the mushroom infusion. The garnish of salty, savoury minced pork and salted fish lend a punchy flavour, and this dish is best eaten when paired with rice or porridge / congee.

Steamed Ling Zhi Spring Water Tofu With Minced Pork And Salted Fish

I thought the Wok-Fried Mustard Leaf With Minced Duck Meat (SGD $12.80) was rather novel and unique. Despite the name, only the stems are used in this dish, stir fried with minced duck till it absorbs the fragrance of the meat. Has a refreshing, light mouth feel, with hints of savoury taste. Good!

Wok-Fried Mustard Leaf With Minced Duck Meat

The Steamed Sea Bass In Supreme Soya Sauce (SGD $28) is an example of a simple dish, done well. A whole fish, extremely fresh, is simply steamed in a savoury soy sauce in the traditional Cantonese / Hong Kong style. Garnished with a few aromatics, this is completely delicious, well worth ordering if you dine here!

Steamed Sea Bass In Supreme Soya Sauce 01

Steamed Sea Bass In Supreme Soya Sauce 02

Loved the Deep-Fried Pork Ribs With Minced Garlic (SGD $16.80), which featured crisp, savoury, tasty pork ribs, garnished with fried bits of garlic and chili, which lent a wonderful fragrance, and a slight spicy heat. Also loved that it wasn't too oily!

Deep-Fried Pork Ribs With Minced Garlic


Update Feb-2017: More than 2 years since I last visited Paradise Group (Canton Paradise), and they're still consistently serving good quality food, in a comfortable, Oriental ambience, with professional and friendly service. Prices are slightly higher than before, but Paradise Group (Canton Paradise) remains a pretty good choice for a dining destination. This time, I tried more of their Chinese Zi Char dishes, which are served from lunch to dinner.

The Braised Peanuts & Water Chestnuts (SGD $1.20) is served as an appetizer. The braised peanuts have a tender, soft texture, with an earthy salty nutty flavour from being braised in a light soy sauce. The water chestnuts have a tender texture with a slight chew, and flavours that are sweet nutty earthy, pairing well. Good!

Braised Peanuts & Water Chestnuts (SGD $1.20)

Love the Green Dragon Vegetable (SGD $9.80) with its fresh, crunchy texture, and sweet vegetal flavours, fragrant with garlic. The qing long cai / green dragon vegetable / garlic chives is cooked together with straw mushrooms, which lends a touch of earthy flavour to the dish. Pairs well with white rice, good enough on its own. Good!

Green Dragon Vegetable (SGD $9.80)

The Pork Rib Soup With Adzuki Beans & Arrow Root (SGD $8.80 / $22.80) has a rich, cloudy look, with a lovely earthy sweet savoury flavour. The stewing of adzuki beans, arrow root, salted mackerel fish, and pork ribs creates fragrant layers of taste that are distinct, yet complement well. Hearty, and it opens the appetite. Good!

Pork Rib Soup With Adzuki Beans & Arrow Root (SGD $8.80 / $22.80)

Pork Rib Soup With Adzuki Beans & Arrow Root

The Steamed Kampong Chicken Canton Style, Crispy Roasted Duck (SGD $21.80) features tender, clean-tasting, sweet savoury steamed chicken, having a lovely bouncy texture to the meat. The robust flavours of the roasted duck is meaty and savoury, with a hint of salty, and the meat is firm with a slight chew. Worth ordering!

Steamed Kampong Chicken Canton Style, Crispy Roasted Duck (SGD $21.80)

Steamed Kampong Chicken Canton Style, Crispy Roasted Duck

Loved the Braised Firm Tofu With Assorted Mushrooms (SGD $14.80), which features soft, silky tofu beancurd in a braised soybean gravy. Served along with a medley of vegetables, including carrots, kai-lan / Chinese kale / Chinese broccoli, straw mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, and king trumpet mushrooms. Simple and satisfiying, flavours of earthy savoury sweet vegetal, textures of tender crunchy soft silky. Good!

Braised Firm Tofu With Assorted Mushrooms (SGD $14.80)

Loved the X.O. Carrot Cake (SGD $6.80), which features cubes of soft white daikon radish, tossed in eggs, crunchy bean sprouts, and a special dried shrimp sauce. Fragrant, eggy savoury sweet with hints of vegetal flavours, this was so addictive. Highly recommended!

X.O. Carrot Cake (SGD $6.80)

X.O. Carrot Cake

What I like about the Stir-Fried Sliced Marbled Beef With Black Pepper (SGD $18.80) is the tender, soft cuts of beef, coated in a spicy but not too sharp black pepper sauce. The smoky caramelised onions and bell peppers / capsicum lend a lovely sweetness to the dish. Pretty alright, not the best I've had, just decent.

Stir-Fried Sliced Marbled Beef With Black Pepper (SGD $18.80)

Stir-Fried Sliced Marbled Beef With Black Pepper

The Steamed Molten Salted Egg Yolk Custard Piggy Bun (SGD $6.20) is the cutest thing ever. If you can get past the pretty presentation, you'll find the execution is spot on too. The thick, luscious salted egg yolk custard is piping hot and rich in salty savoury flavour. Incredibly satisfiying. Would order again. Highly recommended!

Steamed Molten Salted Egg Yolk Custard Piggy Bun (SGD $6.20)

Steamed Molten Salted Egg Yolk Custard Piggy Bun

Steamed Molten Salted Egg Yolk Custard Piggy Bun


Update Jul-2018: Over 1 year has passed, and I dropped by Paradise Group (Canton Paradise) for a meal with loved ones. Not much has changed, from the comfortable, Oriental ambience, the professional and friendly service, or the decently tasty Chinese Cantonese specialities. Prices remain the same as last year.

The BBQ Combination 3 Varieties (SGD $27.80) is better than I remember. The BBQ Pork With Honey Sauce has a pronounced sweet savoury flavour, with the meat being well marinated and juicy, with a faint smoky aroma. The Crackling Pork Belly has a crispy skin with tender meat that has a delicate savoury salty flavour. The Roasted Duck has juicy and tender duck meat, with bold savoury flavour, and the skin is lightly crisp with a touch of salty flavour. Good!

BBQ Combination 3 Varieties
BBQ Combination 3 Varieties (SGD $27.80)

BBQ Pork With Honey Sauce
BBQ Pork With Honey Sauce

Crackling Pork Belly
Crackling Pork Belly

Roasted Duck
Roasted Duck

Greatly enjoyed the Poached Sea Bass Fish With Pickled Cabbage In Spicy Fish Stock (SGD $32.80). The large portion is sufficient for 3 - 4 people, with the thin but flavourful fish soup / broth having a delicate sour salty spicy flavour, that gradually builds throughout the meal, and numbs the palate. The chunks of sea bass fish are generous, with a tender, flaky texture, and a light sweet savoury flavour, though it seems they use 1-day old sea bass fish for this. The slightly crunchy pickled mustard greens round out this delicious main course. Would order again.

Poached Sea Bass Fish With Pickled Cabbage In Spicy Fish Stock (SGD $32.80)

Poached Sea Bass Fish With Pickled Cabbage In Spicy Fish Stock
Poached Sea Bass Fish With Pickled Cabbage In Spicy Fish Stock

We didn't enjoy the Wok-Fried Rice Noodles With Sliced Beef (SGD $14.80), as it has inconsistent execution. Some parts had a beautiful smoky wok hei / breath of the wok, while other parts had the flat rice noodles clumping together. The slices of beef were dry and limp, although the bean sprouts and spring onions were fresh and crunchy. Skip this.

Wok-Fried Rice Noodles With Sliced Beef (SGD $14.80)

Wok-Fried Rice Noodles With Sliced Beef
Wok-Fried Rice Noodles With Sliced Beef


NOM Bistro & Bakery

October 25, 2014 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

NOM Bistro & Bakery
400 Paya Lebar Way
Level 1 Macpherson Community Club


Hearty, Affordable Food At This Hidden Find

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 7
Ambience & Setting: 7
Food & Beverage: 7
Service: 8
Value for Money: 8
Spent about SGD $27 per person.


'Nomsters' rejoice! NOM Bistro & Bakery is a social enterprise project from the people behind Yesterdae Cafe, offering simple yet hearty home cooked Western / American classic dishes, in a relaxing, family friendly environment. Their name 'NOM' is an acronym for 'No Other Meaning', but can also mean 'Om Nom Nom Nom', the internet slang for referring to the sound of someone enjoying what they're eating.

Love the chill ambience at NOM Bistro & Bakery. The interior is brightly lit by natural lighting from the floor to ceiling glass panelled wall, with bright lime green colours lending a splash of vibrance. Retro style metal grilles cut through the spacious area, while furniture is modern minimalist style. There is a small children's play area for families, but it can get noisy when there actually are kids running around here.

Staff are NOM Bistro & Bakery are addressed as 'Nomsters', a play on 'Monsters'. I find them friendly and welcoming, proactive in opening doors and seating guests. While they take and fulfill orders relatively quickly, peak periods can see them slightly ovewhelmed, and service tends to slow down as such. But they're rather efficient are clearing dirty tables, as well as knowledgable on the menu.

NOM Bistro & Bakery offers American style food, most of them classic American dishes. I find taste to be rather good for their mains. However, they are more well known for their desserts and appetizers, in particular, their famous Rainbow Cakes and Truffle Parmesan Fries. Portions are generally big for 1 person, and prices are standard cafe pricing, budget about SGD $22 or more per person for a meal.


The brightly lit, spacious interior with its colourful retro grille partitions and children's area lend an air of playfulness... along with staff dressed in uniforms that label them 'nomsters'.

NOM Bistro & Bakery Exterior

NOM Bistro & Bakery Interior

Dragon Head Slide

The trendy Japanese Beer Kirin Ichiban Frozen (SGD $9.90) is so cute and precious in the tiny glass! This golden coloured brew with a crisp, refreshing, smooth full bodied flavour is topped with a unique -5 degrees celsius frozen foam that is smooth, and keeps the beer cool for up to 30 minutes, without the use of ice!

Beer Kirin Ichiban Frozen Slushie Maker

Beer Kirin Ichiban Frozen 01

Beer Kirin Ichiban Frozen 02

Beer Kirin Ichiban Frozen 03

Beer Kirin Ichiban Frozen 04

The light, fragrant Yuzu Pear Blossom Tea (SGD $6.90) has refreshing notes of summer fruits and flowers, from the combination of Shizuoka green tea with yuzu, white orchid, and nashi sand pear. It's known for being high in vitamin C, and pairs well with dishes that are light on sauce.

Yuzu Pear Blossom Tea

The African Red Chocolate (SGD $3.90) differs from the typical hot chocolate you usually get at cafes. While thin in texture, it has an intense taste of chocolate, at once both deep and slightly floral, with hints of fruity notes such as plum or cherry. Overall, this West African hot chocolate is above average, I quite like it!

African Red Chocolate 01

African Red Chocolate 02

A rather decent Mocha (SGD $3.90), nice balanced flavour of chocolate and coffee, and not too heaty.


While I appreciate the amount of ingredients in the Clam Chowder (SGD $3.90), including a generous portion of de-shelled clams, chunks of carrots, and potatoes, I felt the creamy soup was quite a let down, tasting like it was the canned variety. Not that great.

Clam Chowder

Love the Truffle Parmesan Fries (SGD $5.90), which were served piping hot! Thick cut slices, with good potato taste, sprinkled with finely grated parmesan cheese, and drizzled with just a hint of truffle essence, not too overwhelming. Excellent!

Truffle Parmesan Fries 01

Truffle Parmesan Fries 02

Quite liked the fresh, natural tasting Breaded Mushrooms (SGD $7.90), wrapped in a light, crisp batter that isn't too oily. But the accompanying vinaigrette was weird as a dipping sauce.

Breaded Mushrooms

Each ingredient of the Breakfast Rosti (SGD $14.90) was cooked perfectly, with a smooth, crisp bed of rosti potatoes, a perfect happy sunny side up egg, smoky rashers of bacon, a fresh garden salad, and a meaty, chessy, chicken cheese snail sausage. However, the overall dish was very oily, with pools of oil on the plate.

Breakfast Rosti 01

Breakfast Rosti 02

A decent Eggs Atlantic (SGD $12.90), which features perfectly poached eggs that are still runny. The combination of classic English muffin is good, as the spongy texture is perfect for soaking up the egg yolk. But the quality of the processed smoked salmon lets down the overall dish.

Eggs Atlantic 01

Eggs Atlantic 02

An above average HOG Ribs & Fries (SGD $17.90), with a generous portion of meaty pork ribs that are still moist and juicy in the middle, with very little fat. The barbecue sauce is heavenly, both tangy and sweet at once, and sticks well to the meat. However, the pork ribs tend to dry out at the ends, also, I found it slightly tough to cut away from the bone, definitely not fork tender.

HOG Ribs & Fries 01

HOG Ribs & Fries 02

HOG Ribs & Fries 03

The house speciality are the various flavours of Rainbow Cake. Photographs so well, each Rainbow Cake slice is tall and thickly sliced, perfect for sharing, but light enough for 1 person to finish. The Oreo Rainbow Cake (SGD $7.90) has layers of oreo cream in between, unlike other oreo cakes elsewhere, the cream here is very smooth, and not chunky at all. Overall, this version is quite average, it can get rather cloying because of the thick cream.

Oreo Rainbow Cake 01

Oreo Rainbow Cake 02

Oreo Rainbow Cake 03

Oreo Rainbow Cake 04

I prefer their Salted Caramel Rainbow Cake (SGD $7.90), which I feel is the best flavour amongst the Rainbow Cakes offered here. The sweet vanilla flavour of the cake is cut through by the salty, sweet, sticky caramel sauce drizzled over the top, lending a nice balance. Go for this instead!

Salted Caramel Rainbow Cake 01

Salted Caramel Rainbow Cake 02

Salted Caramel Rainbow Cake 03

The decadent Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart (SGD $4.90) is so heavenly! Love the rich, thick, dense chocolate fudge, coated with a thin layer of salty and sweet caramel sauce, contained within a chocolate tart pastry shell. Easily among the best desserts here, highly recommended!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart 01

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart 02

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart 03

They do allow private functions to be held on their premises, although you have to book the entire area. On such occasions, you can cater in your own food, or choose to have them prepare items from their menu for you. Their sambal chili sauce is awesome, do try it!

Assorted Private Buffet 01

Assorted Private Buffet 02

For the undecided, they offer a Pizza Half & Half (SGD $16.90), which allows you to combine any 2 pizza flavours. Considering that all the other pizzas are priced at SGD $14.90 each, this is a pretty good deal. The pizzas are large enough for sharing between 2 people, and all are served with a thin crust.

The Pizza Portobello has slices of fresh portobello mushrooms, lending an earthy taste, alongside fresh arugula, making this rather healthy! The Pizza Smoked Duck has slices of tender and smoky duck, with fresh cherry tomatoes that burst in the mouth, and sweet cranberry sauce, just lovely!

Pizza Half & Half

Pizza Portobello

Pizza Smoked Duck