August 20, 2012
采 – Flo Tea Room, Richmond BC
芒果冰沙+珍珠 (Mango Slush with Pearls)
干炒牛河 (Pan Fried Beef Rice Noodle)
鱼汤海鲜泡菜火锅 (Seafood, Kimchi, Fish Soup Hot Pot)
[配菜&饭 (Side Dish of Vegetables & Rice)]
I have meaning to see Jessica for a long time and also wanting to try out Flo Tea Room, so dinner there with her was like hitting two birds with one stone – except it was more like two straws in one bubble tea. Somehow, the Flo logo in that slightly fancy calligraphy just really appeals to me.
Our drink to share was the 芒果冰沙+珍珠 (Mango Slush with Pearls), regularly priced at $4.50. We originally wanted a special drink with mango stars but our server told us for $2 we can change our mini meal drink to a bubble tea. It was a good deal we could not pass up so we got Mango Slush with Pearls since there would be too much mango otherwise. The slush was good, although not the most consistent in texture. Some parts had larger ice bits and the bottom was more watery. The flavor was very sweet, which I like, but it was quite artificial with only the lightest hint of a fresh mango aroma. The pearls were not consistent either; some were softer than others and they were not exactly sweet. I think they were leftover ones, perhaps from the weekend or at least early that morning. For a cafe with so many specialty bubble tea drinks, I really expected a top notch drink. For $4.50, it was somewhat disappointing.
The dish with which the drink came with was the 干炒牛河 (Pan Fried Beef Rice Noodle). It was quite a decent size for $6.50. There were plenty of beef slices and they were tender. However, I found the dish to be on the bland side. While the rice noodles were nice and ‘al dente,’ with a good chew and stretch to them, they did not have much flavor. Although the whole dish, including bean sprouts and onions, had enough colour, the taste did not reflect that. I still enjoyed the wok taste and it is hard to screw up a generic comfort food like this one. Having not had this in quite a long time, it was still satisfying.
Since it was chilly for August, we also ordered the 鱼汤海鲜泡菜火锅 (Seafood, Kimchi, Fish Soup Hot Pot). They put it ona little pot with an open fire on our table to keep it warm. The soup was basically a kimchi flavour and the pot was filled with kimchi, which I really enjoyed. I love spicy soups with vegetables so it was perfect. The seafood consisted of pieces of a white fish fillet, shrimp, squid, mussels, and imitation crab sticks. I would have liked to have some scallops but there was plenty of seafood for $9.75. The flavor of the kimchi was strong and it warmed me up nicely.
The hot pot also came with 配菜&饭 (Side Dish of Vegetables & Rice). The first was pickled strips of carrots and white radish. They were crunchy yet sweet and acidic. The vinegar taste was strong but along with the sweetness of the sauce in which the vegetables were marinated, it was not overwhelming. Instead, these were rather refreshing and quite enjoyable. The salted peanuts were quite boring. I do not even consider them a side dish of vegetables. They were crunchy but not the freshest of peanuts. The flavour was definitely salty enough and for what they were, they were decent, although some more complexity in the flavour would have been nice. The rice was also more than enough for the two of us, especially since I prefer to eat the soup by itself.
Our bill came to $22 after tax and tips, which was very reasonable. The portions were good and so were the taste. Nothing was exactly outstanding but we did not expect them to be. Comfort food is always nice to have when catching up with an old friend and really, that is all that we needed. We even had a lot of food left and took it to go since neither of us were extremely hungry. The service was friendly and the ambiance casual and relaxing. For a quick meal and a place to chill, I would come back again to try more from their extensive menu.