Sunday, 14 September 2014

Chef Tony: Bitter Gourd Rice Noodles

Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant stands where Hon's Richmond used to be before it closed down. It is now a Chinese restaurant with higher menu prices and fusion interior design.

Deep fried fish flakes and radish ball: The presentation of this dish reminded me of takoyaki balls with the fish flakes on top. The balls are made of shrimp paste and shredded radish so you get the texture of soft radish between the chewy shrimp paste. I quite liked this and wish there was a dipping sauce to go with it.

Deep fried fish flakes and radish ball
Almond sticks: I don't remember the English name on the menu but direct translation from the Chinese name is Almond Sticks. It was oval balls of pork meat covered in almond slices and fried. The almond created a nice crunch and the pork retained its juiciness inside. This is a unique dish that I've never seen at other dim sum restaurants.

Almond sticks

Shrimp and matsutake dumpling: They say that you can evaluate if a dim sum restaurant is good by its shrimp dumplings. Although the previous two dishes were good, this shrimp dumpling was nothing special. The wrapper broke easily and the shrimp didn't have the bouncy texture of fresh shrimp. 

Shrimp and matsutake dumpling

Bitter gourd and chicken shreds rice noodles: This was another dish that fell flat. The rice noodle roll is made with bitter gourd juice so it tastes slightly bitter. It was over-cooked in the steaming process and broke easily. A well-made rice noodle roll would not break when holding it up with chopsticks and retain a smooth texture when you eat it due to the oil used in the steaming process. The dish seems to be creative but not well executed.

Bitter gourd and chicken shreds rice noodles

Baked egg white and cream buns: These buns are really good if you ignore the filling. The outside with the sugar and egg white coating is baked to crunchiness coating a soft layer of bun underneath. The filling of the bun is this white blob-looking custard that is bland. The coating outside offers the only taste for this bun which is slight sweetness and it was not even sweet enough.

Baked egg white and cream buns

Chilled osmanthus jelly pudding: This dessert looked the most different from its menu photo. The photo featured alternating layers of clear beige osmanthus jelly and opaque white jelly. As you can see in the photo below, it arrived as a much brighter yellow and there weren't any opaque white layers. Osmanthus (a flower) is fragrant and tastes excellent in jelly. However, this jelly offered only a mild osmanthus taste and slight sweetness at best. If it was more sweet it would taste more like a dessert.

Chilled osmanthus jelly pudding
Overall there are some unique dim sum dishes that you can try out at Chef Tony but at a similar price point to Kirin I would go to the latter for consistency in quality.

Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant 頤東大酒樓 on Urbanspoon


Thursday, 11 September 2014

Coast: Cocktail Hour Buck-a-Shuck

Coast offers happy hour or as they call it "Cocktail Hour" from 3-6pm daily. Appetizers are 50% off , some oysters for $1, and selected drinks are $5.

This promotion drew quite a crowd on the weekday evening I went and we were told we had to return the table within 1 hour and 45 minutes.

While waiting for our server to take our order, we were given a complementary dish to try which was like a fried dough ball with some shrimp paste inside. 

Complementary dish
The oysters were pretty fresh though I did feel some bits of shell in some of mine. There were no shell bits in the raw oysters I tried at Joe Fortes or Chewies. The sauce variety was lacking and weren't flavourful.

Raw oysters
The dungeness crab cake served with fennel salad had shredded crab meat and wasn't deep fried which I enjoyed. It was a bit delicate and broke apart easily under the fork but wasn't too salty like some crab cakes I've tried.

Dungeness crab cake
The garlic fried calamari with fresno chillies, cilantro and lime aioli reminded me of squid I'd eat at Chinese restaurants. The chillies added a hint of flavour without making the calamari spicy at all. Each piece was thoroughly battered and fried to crispiness. It's great for sharing!

The bill came to $40 before gratuity and the seafood was pretty fresh. The dining atmosphere during Cocktail Hour was very rushed with our server forgetting to collect our menu after taking our order and having the oysters arrive last after the hot food. Overall I may visit again for the raw oysters and its convenient location.

Coast Restaurant on Urbanspoon