Monday, March 15, 2010

Vancouver eats: Kirin Restaurant, downtown

with Guillaume D

I am just back from a week in Vancouver. It was a cold, wet March this year, the weather a bit of a havoc. For some reason, the weather was more reminiscent of winter than spring...though the cherry trees had already welcomed spring with the blossoms...



The Winter Olympic Games had just finished. And on Fri, I managed to catch the Paralympic flame being passed for the opening that evening.



Despite the wet weather, we managed to make our way from Sheraton Wall Center, where our conference was being held, a few blocks downtown to Kirin Restaurant.



This was a highly recommended restaurant, and given the large Hong Kong population in Vancouver, and generally large numbers of Chinese, I thought there was merit in this. Larry's nephew, who lives in Vancouver recommended the Richmont branch, and my friend Ray...who had lived in Hong Kong for 2 years and a foodie himself, had dinner at Kirin just a few days before, and highly recommended it.

It was early when we arrived....about 11:30am...in fact we were the first customers for the day...when we left at about 1pm, the restaurant was full.

We decided to take the Lobster Set Menu for 2 persons, and added some Dim Sum.

Har Gao, or shrimp dumplings:



Typical of the har gao in Hong Kong...with a resilient, springy skin, covering fresh, luscious inside treasure of prawns. Wonderful.

We also tried Xiao Loong Pau:



The XLP was not very soupy within the dumpling...the skin was a bit on the fragile side...it broke on 2 of the 4 dumplings we were served...but the meat filling was absolutely spot on. Delicious.

The cold dish of cold smoked salmon and sliced pork hock was our starter:



The smoked salmon was marvellous. Heavy smokey flavour. The salmon was almost fresh tasting...perhaps it was...superb. The jellied pork hock was a bit too gamey for my tastes, but ok.

The next dish was a soup of assorted dried seafood and shark's fin:



The thick soup smothers the dried, and rehydrated ingredients ably. The soup stock was probably made with hours of simmering of chicken and pork bones and all...very flavourful. I could find some dried scallops but also fresh prawns, bamboo shoots. The shark's fin was a bit precious.

The live lobster was up, and the catch of the day



A beautiful, red, fresh, Canadian lobster...off Newfoundland, says the waiter...not Boston...and much higher quality...the meat was fresh, wonderfully sweet and bursting with flavour. Very good. A thin layer of steamed egg white intermingled and flavours the lobster meat very well. The lobster was mid-sized...I estimate, perhaps 300g.

The next dish was sauteed fresh scallops and chicken:



This was another winner. The scallops were very fresh, and the diced chicken was very tender and smooth. The sauce was beguilling...sweet, flavourful. Very nice.

We had our vegetables too...more than just the French Beans served with the scallops dish, we had the Bok Choy with crab meat:



Again the fresh ingredients shone. The crabmeat was excellent..savoury but sweet tasting, with a breath of the fresh sea. The bok choy was also very fresh...living in Singapore, we don't always get the freshest greens...and I find that when I travel, eating vegetables which are truly fresh is a delight...even in China, where I don't usually like the food (too fat, too salty usually), the simple, blanched or stir fried vegetables are always great.

We rounded up the rather large lunch with fried rice:



Again nice. Not oily, or greasy. Each grain coated with egg, and blends with the seafood ingredients well. A bit mild tasting, but a good way to cap off a good meal.

Excellent service...the waiter was knowledgable, spoke good English, and attentive, as were the waitresses. Very good food...even when compared to Hong Kong or Singapore. Certainly a two thumbs up from me.




Kirn Restaurant
102-1166 Alberni Street
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada V6E 3Z3



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