Jasmine is a premium Chinese restaurant located at New World Makati. It boasts an extensive eat-all-you-can menu featuring various dim sum flavors that gave me and my colleague—PhilSTAR L!feassociate editor Camille Santiago—a good reason to accept an offer to try it out.
On a quiet Saturday night, we were welcomed to a huge dining spot adorned in warm tones, wooden touches, and intricate patterns influenced by Chinese Art Deco. Round tables were there for big groups as well as comfortable spots for two by the window, revealing an unassuming view of the city. Only about three other tables were seated. While there were no glass barriers that most restaurants are now using to protect diners from potentially COVID-19-infected droplets, we were assured of health and safety precautions that made us feel free to relax and enjoy the buffet.
We were provided with paper envelopes for our face masks and a single-use paper menu for each set of orders. For the first round, we went straight to the stars of the night: dim sum. We kicked off with the xiao long bao, which undoubtedly was the perfect appetizer. Each steamed dumpling didn’t get easily punctured—and that, for me, made it more exciting when it burst into a delectable adventure, all thanks to its meaty filling and rich soup.
We proceeded to try the vegetable dumpling for some balance. It served as a good palate cleanser as it didn’t have a lot going on. As someone who isn’t wild for vegetables, I found it a bit too dull and dry. I’ll have to pass on this next time.
The Har Gao shrimp dumplings made up for it. This offering felt really delicate in my mouth at first, which then surprised me with its explosion of flavors and textures in every bite. The softness of the tiny pillow combined with the firmness of the shrimp and corn resulted in a sticky, savory product that was so good, we had to order more of it alongside the main dishes.
As expected, the yang chow fried rice was totally filling in itself. This, however, didn’t stop us from making room for other items like the wok-fried Kong Pao chicken. It tasted as colorful as it looked—I couldn’t think of a better accompaniment to the salty, mouthwatering chicken than the veggies and cashew nuts that it came with.
Noteworthy was the crispy pork belly. Deceptively simple, the taste of Chinese wine and familiar spices dominated the juicy, fatty meat amped up with some crispy, bubbly crackling that treated my tastebuds to a wonderful finale. The only problem we had with this was the size of each serving—we had to order it twice.
After catching up for long minutes, we were able to make space for more food. This time, we decided to go for some crispy dumplings. Its outer layer was honestly too thick that it compromised the taste of seafood and taro. Texture-wise, though, it was wonderful—crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
At this point, it would also be nice to mention that it came with unlimited iced tea that was quite tangy and refreshing.
Finally, we had some mango sago for dessert. We were no longer able to finish it, but don’t get us wrong—it was an incredible cap-off to the delicious buffet. We were just full.
Overall, I had no regrets about having dinner at Jasmine. The atmosphere was charming, the service was unmatched, and the Chinese selections were spectacular. While it’s not open for dine-in now due to the COVID-19 situation, I wouldn’t hesitate to come back for a visit when it reopens or simply let this restaurant satisfy my Chinese food cravings for now via delivery.
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Photographs from Jasmine