We adore our Chinese food, there's no doubt about it. From our dimsum staples by fast food brands, rice topping faves at our neighborhood hole in the wall, to gut-busting lauriats all laid out on a big round table at restaurants where we gather for special occasions–there's always something to love about this Asian cuisine. Good thing we're spoilt for choice in Manila for having it readily available everywhere.
So another Chinese restaurant can perhaps just cause one to shrug or dismiss it as "same old, same old" — unless it's got something quite special for customers, maybe that one special dish that will pull you in more often. China Blue by Jereme Leung has easily pulled in many diners with a different take on elegant dining, paired with a refined approach to some of the most well-loved Chinese dishes. This modern Chinese restaurant in Conrad Manila also has the seemingly simplest of dishes as their superstars that will hook you and make you come back for more.
China Blue by Jereme Leung is the hotel's signature Chinese restaurant located on the third level. It is a first for a Chinese restaurant in the Philippines to partner with a celebrity chef, the Hong Kong born and award-winning Leung known for his creative interpretations of Chinese cuisine. Aside from this unique collaboration, Chef Jereme Leung also has participated in numerous television shows, has his own private wine label, penned cookbooks, and provided F&B consultancy to top restaurants all over Asia. Delicious food is the promise at this new restaurant, and with that, an unparalleled ambiance — modern elegant interiors, private dining rooms, touches of blue from its pretty dinnerware to chandeliers, and floor-to-ceiling glass windows that offer panoramic views of Manila Bay.
If you're seeking a more extensive dimsum lineup, China Blue delivers. Their dim sum menu, in fact, groups together different kinds of dimsum, from the classics ('regional Chinese dim sum series'), older favorites popular in the 60s and 70s ('bygones dim sum series'), international takes with modern ingredients ('gourmet dim sum series'), to luxurious creations ('deluxe dim sum series'). You may dismiss the simplest of dumplings when at a more refined restaurant such as China Blue, but this where it'sbest to order your staples — they pay more attention to ingredients and flavor. The steamed Siew Mai (P220) is plump and bright, filled with pork and tiger prawn, while the Har Kau (P210) encases the shrimp in a translucent pocket that is just thick enough to hold everything together, and not compete with the seafood filling. It is also stuffed with ivy moss plant.
For more unique and playful dimsum, go for their gourmet lineup that adds whimsy with every bite. When our basket of House-specialty Steamed Truffle Mushroom Buns (P260) arrived, it was easy to see why people love ordering this best-seller. Three steamed baos were made to look like plump shiitake mushroom, complete with a speckled cap and stem. This vegetarian signature dish isn't just pretty to look at, it packs an umami punch with its truffle oil and mushroom filling. It was like I was doing a power-up like Super Mario with every bite of this delicious and cute bread.
Another must-try, and must-not-miss item from China Blue's gourmet dim sum series is their House-specialty Black Gold Egg Custard Buns (P240). Have it as an appetizer, or order it for dessert. You can order it twice, actually; it's that addicting. Three glossy jet-black steamed buns come with golden stripes, a little teaser of what the bun is hiding in its center. Bite carefully, as you might make a little mess of things — the golden egg custard is divine, spilling out warm and coating your palate with that sweet, salty, and mildly chalky texture that salted egg lava is known for. Don't make the mistake of sharing one order — it's so hard to part with these buns, and you'll easily finish off three buns before you know it.
Get Our Newsletter
Aside from their top-notch dimsum selection, what impresses is also the vegetable and vegetarian dishes in this restaurant — there are meatless dishes that just beg for more bites, rather than just settle for being a vegetable order out of afterthought to 'balance' things out. China Blue's Stir-Fried Shiitake Mushrooms with Sweet Vinaigrette Sauce (P360) will convince your tastebuds that the crispy appetizer isn't mushrooms — its texture and flavor closely resembles deep-fried eel (Wuxi), another Chinese specialty. The mushrooms are battered and fried, and given a sweet-sour glaze; the appetizer is served alongside Crispy Seafood Spring Rolls. Another meatless offering makes use of salted egg deliciously — Crispy Pumpkin Coated with Salted Duck Eggs (P390). The plating is playful, like an "oops" moment in the kitchen captured on the platter, the slices of fried pumpkin tumbling out of a cup. This signature dish is extremely addicting to eat, with a crispy coating of salted duck eggs and a mealy inside of soft and sweet pumpkin.
If your craving is wandering to more meatier territory though, the Wok Fried Beef Tenderlon Cube with Asparagus and Wild Hunan Pepper (P950) is highly recommended. This entree hits all the right notes for the local palate: very tender meat, savory with some sweet and just enough heat. Every bite is also very flavor-loaded that you'll probably be very Filipino and request for a side of rice to pair it with.
China Blue by Jereme Leung is located at level 3 of Conrad Manila, Seaside Boulevard corner Coral Way, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City. The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner. For inquiries, call +63 2 833 9999, email ConradManila@conradhotels.com, or visit www.conradmanila.com. Follow Conrad Manila on Facebook and Instagram (@conradmanila) and tag them on your social media channels (#ConradManila #StayInspired).