All the dim sum you can eat...
You won't hear the endless chatter of diners here, as you would at some dim sum place or Chinese tea house, nor would you hear some plates clanging over the din. At Li Li's (those are two separate words) home, a mix of European and Oriental influences is apparent, and the ambiance is a place of tranquility, where you can dine heartily in peace.
I am particularly enamored with the Wine Cellar room, and much more so with the Library filled with bookshelves. Here is where we had our dim sum buffet preluded by a tea ceremony.
I'm not much for hot tea, I prefer the cold one, thank you very much, albeit I can't deny the nice aroma of the Oolong Tea served to us. Clear in color and ceremoniously poured into each of our tea cups, its flavor was as light as its hue. The one in the glass supported by a metal frame, was Jasmine Tea, if I'm not mistaken.
We start with the upper left photo, which is the Hot and Sour Soup with Assorted Seafood, and boy, was it hot. And sour! It had a slight savory appeal, though. The Steamed Fish Shape Dumplings with Cod Fish and Chinese Parsley was so pretty to look at, unfortunately, I couldn't say the same thing about the taste. I think it was the parsley, or maybe something else I can't quite put my finger to, but it didn't bode well for me.
The green dim sum was the Steamed Fresh Scallops Dumpling, while the yellow one was the Steamed Crabmeat Dumpling with Black Mushroom. While the former didn't quite catch my attention in terms of taste, the latter pretty much made up for it as the crustacean flavor was apparent in each bite.
The Steamed Pork Dumplings with Crab Meat "Shanghai" Style was pretty decent at most, though the crab was lost on me. On the other hand, the Deep-fried Mashed Taro Puff with Chicken was fun to eat. Slicing through the midsection, you'd be able to see the mixture of chicken meat with taro bits (?). Dip it into the sweet chili sauce for more depth of flavor. And of course there was also the ubiquitous Steamed Pork and Shrimp Dumpling with Flying Fish Roe, more commonly known as Pork and Shrimp Siomai. Quite good as most siomais tend to get.
Gladly, their version of Steamed Shrimp Dumpling with Bamboo Pith "Har Gao" or what is colloquially known as Hakaw, had a clean shrimp taste and a firm wrapper, since I really hate it when the wrapper tends to stick to the metal plate inside the bamboo steamer. The second photo on top is the Baked Barbecued Pastry Puff, one of my top choices for the day. Painted with a golden sheen, savory barbecued meat are ensconced in these flaky pastries.
Probably my least favorite dish was the Steamed Glutinous Rice with Assorted Meat Wrapped in Lotus Leaf. It just had this odious aftertaste that I had to eat more of the baked barbecue puff just to rid my palate of it. The Pan-fried Spinach Dumplings with Shrimp reminded me of gyoza, only a lot less unctuous. Crisp under the pressure of a bite, it was a nice respite from all the meat we've been devouring.
One of the best dim sum dishes present was the Steamed Shrimp, Dried Seaweed Roll, Asparagus and Fish Roe. Pleasing to both the eyes and the palate, every element just melds well together. I particularly like the touch of asparagus spears sticking out from each roll. And then there was the Deep-fried Becho-becho Stuffed with Mince Shrimp and drizzled with Wasabi Mayonnaise Sauce. It was the wasabi mayonnaise that actually left a good mark.
For dessert we had the Sesame Balls with White Chocolate, and this is my favorite buchi to date. I don't have a sweet tooth---as I must have mentioned a thousand times---and yet the sweetness of the chocolate was very much appreciated by my palate. Perhaps maybe because the gelatinous part curbed the saccharine flavor. Whatever it was, it worked!
The Chilled Mango Sago with Pomelo was also a delight with its sweet yellow liquid impregnated with pomelo bits for texture.
I love, love, love their Guava Iced Tea. I'm an iced tea addict, something I can't stop drinking even when I'm trying to stick to my diet. I have a mental list of the places that carry my favorite iced teas, and this one shoots to somewhere in the top 3. Oh, and you get to have a glass for FREE until June 30, 2013 if you mention this blog when you make your reservations.
All-You-Can-Eat Dim Sum
Mondays - Saturdays 12NN - 3PM
Php888 nett per person
Spot: 5th/F Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila, 1588 Pedro Gil cor. M.H. Del Pilar, Manila
Contact Nos.: 247-8666 or 245-1234