Chopsticks at the ready! The Secret Garden Chinese Restaurant at SS 23 has opened their door for Chinese cuisine lovers. The ‘secret’ in the name makes it sound all mystifying and underground, which is far from the truth. In décor and cooking, Secret Garden is not just one of a kind but utterly wonderful with their heartwarming home recipes made into gourmet dishes.
The menu is a compact selection of exquisitely steamed, baked, or stir fried dishes and ranging from classic fried rice to more sophisticated items such as braised “dong po” meat, one can enjoy the authentic taste of Chinese culture through the flavours in their dishes. Starting with the Home Styled Taiwanese Chicken Soup with Pickled Pineapple and Bitter Melon (RM 18), this timeless Chinese classic is not only nourishing and benefiting but lovely as appetizer.
Both Crispy Deep Fried Prawn Cracker (RM 38) and Steamed Free Ranged Duckweed Fed Chicken with Homemade Sauce make such great communal dishes. The prawn cracker has a fantastic texture and with the festive season approaching, this one is quite a good starter option. And for decades after steamed chicken being treated as a classic dish, Secret Garden is serving theirs using nothing but the best fresh produce- free ranged duckweed fed chicken.
The much anticipated signature is a must order, and that is coming from someone who avoids eating those pork fats. Signature Taiwanese Style Braised “Dong Po” Pork Belly (RM 38 small and RM 66 large) is being served meticulously tied up, to hold the cubes while it go through an 8 hours of braising. These giant cubes of pork belly with thick, almost gooey gravy is unbelievably delicious. It’s best companion is some of their fluffy soft mantao buns, which arrives a little late for we have all finished out meats before it arrives. Or, maybe we wallop the pork a little too quickly?
The late arrival of those sweet and fluffy bun turns out fantastic to go with their Grouper Fish Head in Yellow Curry with Fresh Milk (RM 56 small, RM 98 large) as well. Curry gravy is pleasant and light thanks to the clever replacement of fresh milk instead of coconut milk. Also swimming in the hot pot served on a portable stove, is an assorted mix of vegetables.
The Secret Garden here exemplifies Chinese cuisine’s attitude when it comes to communal eating. Seafood are usually symbol of luxury and is normal to have them on the table especially when there is a special occasion to celebrate. We are all generously served with these super huge Pan Fried Fresh King Prawn with Soya Sauce (RM 88 small, RM 156 large) that’s typically robust with an abundance of sweetness from the soya sauce, I can’t help licking my fingers. Also, they are as big as my face. Watch it on my snapchat to believe it.
Talking about standard Chinese dishes, Secret Garden cooks aroma and flavours so close to home and comforting to the stomach, it is the reason enough to return for more. Take their Homemade Organic Black Soyabean Tofu in Pumpkin Gravy (RM 28), Stir Fried Garlic Chives with Minced Pork (RM 25 small, RM 38 large), and Pork Belly Fried Rice with XO sauce for instance; it took me right back to my mum’s dining table.
When it comes to dessert, the Herbal Jelly with Wild Honey (RM 12) is served chilled and this one is a good representative of classy dessert being a trendsetter and hopefully remains a benchmark against all high end Chinese restaurants.
I love it that alcohols are available and this is apparent as soon as we enter when greeted by the bar facing the dinning floor. Overall, Secret Garden isn’t Earth-shattering but there’s great potential for this eatery to be really popular.
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Secret Garden Chinese Restaurant is located at:
7 & 9, Jalan SS 23/15,
47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: 03-7887 6999
Business Hour: 11:30AM–3PM, 6–11PM (daily)