Taste Paradise specializes in Chinese fusion cuisines and this is how it differentiates itself from other good Chinese restaurants. Fusion cuisines is about combining different elements of culinary traditions, for example, to rejuvenate an otherwise traditional dish to give it a new life and meaning according to modern trends and themes. To do that, it requires a deep understanding of traditional cuisines and, an innovative mind and certain amount of risk taking. Obviously Taste Paradise possesses a lot of these attributes and it is the forerunner of the Chinese fusion movement. It has no doubt gained a strong foot hold in an extremely competitive F&B industry.
Baked Cod in Miso Sauce （西京烤鳕鱼）
High value fish like the cod should be eaten with the minimum fanfare. It is valued for its richness, texture and freshness, and usually it is either pan-seared or steamed Chinese style. But then it gets monotonous and lacks variety.
This dish on first sight looks like cod in baked-cheese. The cheese-looking layer is in fact Japanese miso-sauce （西京）. The flavour of the miso-sauce is surprisingly light, to retain and bring out the sweetness of the cod, yet the light creamy sauce gives that added texture and colour. Very nicely and cleverly done. My favourite dish!
Clay-pot Rice with Black Pork（黑猪煲仔饭）
Cooking food in clay is a primitive form of cooking, where all the flavours and goodness of the ingredients are retained in the pot. Meat cooked this way is usually more tender because it doesn’t lose moisture as it is surrounded by steam. For hardy folks, the best part of clay-pot rice is at the bottom, the slightly burnt and charred rice （锅粑）that is stuck to the clay-pot is crispy and aromatic.
This 5-star clay-pot rice is obviously a refined version for high-end customers. The clay-pot is set on fire literary, with a bit of fanfare, on solid fuel when it is served. When the lid is removed, the diced black pork （黑猪肉） imported from America can be seen resting on a layer of crispy rice to simulate the charred rice. Mix everything together and the rice is full of flavour and the meat very tender.
Black pork is known for its lean quality and flavour, without excess fat; a healthier choice for city dwellers. The meat is marinated with spices and condiments which the chef refused to divulge.
Desserts: Avocado Ice-cream（鳄梨雪糕）, Durian Sesame Ball （榴莲煎堆）, Sour Plum Aloe Vera Jelly（芦荟酸甘冻）
Indonesia is the land of avocado, it is bigger and cheaper than those found in Singapore, so when I’m in Jakarta, avocado juice is a must. This avocado ice-cream is made from pure avocado – served chilled in its natural flavour, smooth and creamy.
Sesame balls are Chinese traditional snack that usually come with a sweet filling like grounded peanuts with sugar, lotus or red-bean paste. Chef Wong broke all the rules and filled it with real, pure D24 durian, a premium cultivar from Malaysia! The sesame ball is crispy and the durian bitter-sweet and creamy. A match made in heaven! If you hate durian, then this is not for you, unfortunately.
The Sour-Plum Aloe Vera Jelly is the perfect concoction to remove oral odour, oil and to aid digestion after a heavy meal. The sour-sweet and juicy aloe vera refreshes the body to get it ready for . . . more shopping!
Taste Paradise indeed lives up to its name and promise, very reasonably priced, at 5-star quality standard. I would definitely come here whenever I visit Jakarta. Highly recommended.
Lunch was arranged by renowned travel blogger Ng Sock Peng, winner of the Singapore Blog Awards 2013, Best Travel Blog.
Address: Plaza Indonesia South Gate 4 Fl # 01 JL M.H. Thamrin kav 28 – 30, Central Jakarta, Indonesia