Sherman's Food Adventures: Cafe Gloucester

Cafe Gloucester

Having driven by Kintaro Ramen and witnessing the really long lineup, we tried to decide on an alternate place to eat. One place that came to mind was Cafe Gloucester, which is a Hong Kong-style cafe on Cambie near 18th. This place has been here for quite awhile and had closed briefly in 2007 because of the dreaded Canada-Line construction of the Skytrain. It's now apparently under new management and I wanted to check it out (I actually visited it last year, but I wasn't blogging yet). For those who are not familiar with Hong Kong-style cafes, it's basically a restaurant (western-like decor), that serves up Hong Kong versions of other ethnic foods. However, they do still serve up stir-fried Chinese noodles and rice dishes. I've been to Cafe Gloucester many times in the past and I do consider it one of the better Hong Kong-style cafes. It's in a nice location (lack of parking withstanding), the food is consistent, service is decent and it's clean/modern.

Upon our arrival, there was only a short wait for our table. However, I must give credit to the hostess, because some waitress was going to give our table up to a group that had arrived after us. The hostess immediately stopped the waitress and pointed out that we were first. That is refreshing, a Chinese restaurant that not only keeps to the list; but also is not afraid to correct a mistake.

The menu at Cafe Gloucester is a bit classier than other Hong Kong-style cafes in the GVRD. They even have a prime rib carving station at the front of the restaurant. However... the person carving the prime rib was butchering the poor thing. Looking over the menu, I chose the set meal, as I always do. Even though the set meals at these places are usually well over $10 (except for Alleluia), you do get good value. Similar to most other places, the set meals at Cafe Gloucester include soup (Russian borscht, cream soup, fish chowder or clam chowder), bread, 2 or 3 meats, one carb (rice, spaghetti, mashed potatoes, fries or baked potato), vegetables, sauce (black peppercorn, garlic, demi-glace, onion, mushroom or curry), coffee/tea and dessert. There is no one set price here at Cafe Gloucester; rather, it depends on which combination of meats you choose. I chose S7, which included Ox Tongue (yes, my favourite, you can never get enough tongue!), Rib Eye Steak and Fried Pork Chop. This particular combination cost $15.88. Viv wasn't that hungry so she was going to eat whatever else we ordered. Since my son likes noodles, we got the BBQ Duck Lai Fun. I got one more dish for good measure and decided on the Salted Fish and Chicken Fried Rice.

I chose the "Russian Borscht" for my soup and it was balanced; being tart but not too tart. I put Russian Borscht in quotations because an authentic borscht would be more red because of the beet content. This one had beets, but just like other Hong Kong-style borschts, it's closer to vegetable soup. My meal came on a sizzling hot plate and it kept everything hot, including the lemon wedge that I picked up without thinking... HOT! The tongue was tender and seared perfectly. The pork chop was very crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. I still laugh at the mayo that's served with any fried items in a Hong Kong-style cafe. But I guess Viv ended up doing the laughing... I used it for my pork chop. The rib eye steak was quite large; but was cooked all the way through. I did find it odd that the waitress never asked me how I wanted my steak done. However, the steak still retained its meatiness since they did not marinate it in baking soda. I liked the peppercorn sauce that came with my meal, it was loaded with peppercorns and was very flavourful.

The BBQ Duck Lai Fun was actually pretty good, considering the fact we were not at a noodle joint. The soup was light, the noodles were not overcooked (still had elasticity) and they gave us the duck leg (it was tender and not too salty). The fried rice was not bad, the rice was dry (which is good) and there was plenty of salted fish flavour. However, I wish they would put some lettuce in it, the rice was very plain without it. I prefer the one from The Boss. Lastly, my dessert was a piece of coffee pudding. Don't judge it by how it looks because it was quite good. Velvety texture and lots of real coffee taste. Although the service was hurried, it was always polite and attentive. So there it is, Cafe Gloucester is still a good place to get your Hong Kong Cafe fix, even after the whole Canada-Line mess.

The Good:
- Clean, modern dining room
- Food is consistent
- Service is good

The Bad:
- A bit pricier than other Hong Kong-style cafes
- Parking is hard to find
- Seating can be a bit tight

Cafe Gloucester
3338 Cambie Street
Vancouver, B.C.

Cafe Gloucester on Urbanspoon



I Love Food Blog said...

Have you tried Copa Cafe? It's down on Cambie and West 23rd, right by Corner 23. Hong Kong cafe style cuisine like G.

Sherman Chan said...

Nope, but I will now! Thanks for the suggestion. However, I do want to go to Corner 23 first. You've convinced me with all the pictures!

holly said...

Cafe Gloucester has become one of my favourite HK style cafes in Vancouver, but I also like the Copa Cafe which I tried yesterday.

Their fried pork chop was tender and nicely grilled and they also have a good selection of baked items. Their restaurant also offers more spacious and comfortable seating than Cafe Gloucester.

Right now, if you dine at Copa you can get a coupon for a free red bean drink the next time you dine between 6-9 pm. The offer expires on July 31st.

Sherman Chan said...

Hi Holly, I have that coupon! LOL... I need to go!

holly said...

Just tried Corner 23 today. I really enjoyed their pancake wrapped beef. The pancake was the perfect balance of crunchiness and chewiness. There were only 5 bite sized pieces, but every bite was delish.

I also tried the spicy wonton and that was the most surpising dish. Eight wontons came out swimming in a Chef Boyardee-like red soup. It tasted better than it looked and I liked the peanut bits which added another depth of taste. It was also good for dipping the beef wrap into.

Lastly, I had their spicy beef noodle soup which definitely rivals any I have had so far. The noodles were think and al dente, much chewier than regular rice noodles probably because it was made fresh. Also, the beef was interesting. It was very black in colour and initially freaked my dining companion, but upon biting, was very tender and tasty.

To top it off, I also ordered a fresh mango slush with coconut jelly which provided a refreshing break whenever I needed it. I don't normally order a bbt drink because I'm too cheap, but I did this time because I wasn't footing the bill. heh, heh.

Corner 23 will become the triumvirate of restaurants in this area for me in addition to Cafe Gloucester and Copa. My father has been in/out of the hospital lately, so this area is very handy for a quick bite.

Hope you try it soon.

Sherman Chan said...

Hi Holly, WOW! That's one detailed comment. And yes, I agree with your comments about the beef roll. I think the food at Corner 23 is solid and to top it all off, there is good BBT too! I hope your father is doing alright...

twinkienic said...

I really enjoy Cafe Gloucester... it's one of my late-night staples.

For better value, try going after 9pm. They have a late night "mini-meals" menu which mostly consists of their western-style dishes, and rice and noodle dishes. It usually ends up being around $7 pre-tax/tip and comes with a complementary hot drink (or iced, for an extra $1).

Sherman Chan said...

Thanks for the tip!

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