Saturday, 11 April 2015

Steam House

April 11, 2015
I can't believe how much difference a year makes in a restaurant.  I've been hearing that Steam House wasn't as good as it was before, but I didn't know the extent of their changes until I came back. 
Steamed Chinese mushroom, fungus and sliced chicken on rice
The portion size and presentation of the dish have changed. (see the "before picture" below).
There was way less chicken and Chinese broccoli and a lot less rice than before. The flavours were there, but the ingredients were missing!

Tiger shrimp steamed rice
Also a huge disappointment - where are these tiger shrimps?? I see tiny shrimps and some egg whites thrown on top of steamed fried rice. The dish was also a little salty.

Oxtail bowl with tomatoes and potatoes
The dish was rather bland, which was kind of surprising considering how everything else had a lot of flavour.
Hong Kong Milk Tea
The worst part of this whole meal was the ruined milk tea (what a way to cap off a disappointing meal).  The tea was way too bitter and awful tasting; we tried to tell the waiter that there was something wrong but they were (a) impossible to find when you needed them.  So we left our teas completely unfinished to show our dissatisfaction.

Overall: Since our expectations were higher from previous visits, the fact that this meal turned out so badly made it feel like it was a terrible experience.  The service was awful, the food was mediocre and we were really disappointed - we probably won't come back.

April 21, 2014
I love going to Maple Yip for Chinese food, but sometimes I like to try out new restaurants too and the new Steam House restaurant at Finch and Kennedy came recommended.
Steam House

They have a $5.99 lunch menu!
Beef Brisket Noodles
Soup vermicelli with beef shank
A decent sized bowl of vermicelli and beef shank. The beef shank was tasty, but it would have been nicer if it was braised longer to make it more tender.

Chicken and mushroom steamed rice
Steamed Chinese mushroom, fungus and sliced chicken on rice
The steamed bowl didn't look particularly filling at first, but it turned out that there was actually at least 4 bowls of rice under all that sliced chicken, mushrooms and choy. This steamed rice dish is the signature dish here and they really deliver! The chicken was delicious (and boneless!) and the rice was steamed in the juices and all the flavours were augmented by the sweet soy sauce. Yum!

Cream sauce and ketchup sauce spaghetti
Baked shredded chicken and shrimps in cream and tomato sauce on spaghetti
The chicken was on the tomato sauce side and the shrimp and zucchini were on the cream sauce side. 
Each sauce side lacked something individually - the tomato sauce was too sweet and didn't really add anything for the chicken and the cream sauce side was pretty bland with the shrimps. However, it did taste a little bit better when you mixed both sides, but it wasn't a favourite dish by any means. 

Diced chicken and salted fish fried rice
Fried rice with chicken and salted fish
Huge plate of fried rice! There wasn't a strong taste or smell of the salted fish and it was interesting that there was zucchini in the fried rice dish. Overall though, it was okay but nothing spectacular.

Crocodile soup
Coconut, sea coconut and crocodile meat soup
I thought this soup was really cool! I haven't really tried crocodile, but it definitely had a hint of that swampy smell (think rivers and bayous) and a leathery texture. The meat was tougher but it was really good in the soup! It was very aromatic and flavourful. Definitely another one of their specialties here.

Beef and egg noodles
Stir fried noodle with beef & scrambled egg
Contrary to how sloppy the noodle dish appears, it was actually pretty tasty. The scrambled egg made a kind of runny and delicious sauce with the stir-fry beef and it was all on a bed of ho fun noodles.

Braised pork and pickled vegetables and taro
Braised pork belly, pickled vegetables and taro
There was a little too much vinegar in this dish compared to the Maple Yip version and the pork belly wasn't as tender. However, the taro was a nice addition because it just absorbed all the sauce under the pork belly and pickled vegetables and offset the tangy flavour. 

Steamed tilapia
Steamed tilapia
Prepared Chinese style with soy sauce, coriander and scallions - classic and appetizing. 
The fish was a nice portion for lunch.

Yu Choy
Steamed Yu Choy

Overall: Enjoyable meal at the Steam House - the food was reasonably priced and pretty good. The service was a little slow though, but the restaurant was pretty big so the waitresses had a lot of ground to cover.

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