Disclaimer: All food was complimentary but opinions are my own
Pearl Castle is one of my favorite Taiwanese cafes and I used to come here a lot before some of the newer Taiwanese cafes popped up. Even my parents like it! I was invited to a menu tasting by ChineseBites with Sophia (Every Day Is a Food Day) so I was excited to try some new things and old favourites. We ordered 4 appies, 4 drinks and 4 entrees! It was enough to feed another three people… Read more
My aunt suggested coming here for a late Chinese New Year’s family dinner and it was her treat. Her family had visited a few times and thought it was a good choice. I had never really paid attention to Big Chef before and frankly I had no idea what it was called. Big Chef is located in the same complex as Cattle Cafe and Deer Garden on Alexandra Road. They are only open for dinner though and they seem to be very hot pot focused. I was pretty sure we were the only ones not doing hot pot that night.
Their regular menu seemed on par with other Chinese restaurants and they had some interesting specials like the ostrich meat dish.
First we started with the salted chicken and it was served a bit warmer than usual. There was lots of meat and it was salty indeed.
Next we had the seafood and fish maw soup,a staple at all my family dinners. The soup was not too thick and had plenty of shrimp and scallop and fish maw so there was a good ratio of seafood to soup.
Next we had the pork chop with sweet orange sauce. The presentation was nice and this was my favourite dish of the night. Probably because I really like sweet and sour stuff. There was a very evident sweet citrus flavour and the pork was very tender and soft. However, I thought the portion was on the small side.
My aunt wanted to try the oven roasted oysters with port wine. They told us to order an extra half order since we had such a large group. I don’t usually eat oysters, in fact I rarely ever do so I’m not sure how they’re suppose to taste. These ones were a bit crispy on the outside and had a sweet soy sauce flavour. After the first bite I couldn’t tell that I was eating oyster but I did enjoy the flavour and texture despite not being a fan of oysters.
Then we had the eggplant and cod hot pot. Or it might have been halibut but let’s assume cod? There were actually two large pieces of cod buried beneath all the eggplant! The eggplant was tender but not mushy and the fish was flaky and went well with the sauce. For some reason they also had BBQ pork in the hot pot too which I thought was strange since the focus of the dish was on the fish so the BBQ pork seemed out of place.
We also ordered a lamb hot pot and I did not expect them to bring out such a large pot! This had a lot of bean curd and there were not too many large bones either. I’m not used to having this much sauce though so it made it harder to pick up the lamb without pouring lots of sauce into my bowl every time. The meat was quite tender but still chewy enough though.
Finally for dessert we had tapioca pudding with taro. There wasn’t a lot of tapioca in it so I was disappointed. However there was a lot of taro if you like taro but they could have had more tapioca. It was sweet as usual.
Since I did not order the food this time I didn’t find it to be particularly interesting. The food was not bad but nothing in particular made me want to revisit either. I also felt a bit strange ordering regular dishes instead of doing hot pot. The server actually came over and told us to put in our order quickly before more people came in because they didn’t have a lot of chefs to cook regular dishes but I found it hard to believe they would be that busy anyway. They are open late from 5pm-2am and they also have two rooms with TVs that can be booked. While I was there, there was constant cheering and shouting from one room because the Canucks were on that night.