Didn't I just have dinner in Richmond yesterday? Yes I did. Don't you fear Richmond traffic and drivers? Don't even get me started! Why am I back in Richmond again in less than 24 hours? The answer to this is that one of the best places to have Dim Sum in the GVRD is Sea Harbour Restaurant. Yes, the same Sea Harbour that looks like any other run-of-the-mill Chinese restaurants you'd find in a strip mall. Don't let the laughable exterior scare you away, once inside you are treated to a clean, modern and upscale dining room. If you think of Sea Harbour, you also have to consider the competition: Imperial, Victoria, Fortune House, Fisherman's Terrace, Red Star, Sun Sui Wah, Spicy Court and Kirin. All of the aforementioned restaurants are solid choices for Dim Sum, and there is very little to choose between them all. However, taking personal preference and location into consideration, there would be a considerable debate as to which one is the best.
Sea Harbour is definitely one of the best places to have Dim Sum in the GVRD. We'll see if this visit affirms that or not. Luckily for Viv and I, we didn't have to work on the Good Monday; thus we could go for Dim Sum. Knowing that Sea Harbour can get quite busy, we made a reservation for 11:00am. Although there is a decent-sized parking lot in front of the restaurant, it can get full pretty quick. Best to arrive early or carpool. We were pretty early, so we didn't have any problems getting a parking spot. Moreover, this reduces the chance of going insane trying to fight for a spot (see Bo Kong post).
After a bit of thinking, we decided on the following dishes: Shrimp Dumpling, Beef Noodle Roll, Mini-BBQ Pork Rolls, Shrimp Spring Rolls, Beef Tripe & Tendon, Black Bean Spareribs, Pot Stickers, Seafood Yee Mein, Lap Mei Fan, Beef Tripe/Tendon/Brisket/Daikon Hot Pot, Egg Tarts and Steamed Sponge Cake. I mentioned that the shrimp dumpling (haw gow) at Red Star as being one of the best in the GVRD. Well, the one at Sea Harbour is either just as good or better (depending on your preference). The shrimp dumpling were large and bursting with crunchy whole shrimp. The skin was not as thin as Red Star, but it was still good. The rice roll was very good as well. The noodle was so quite thin that you could see mostly through it. There was plenty of perfectly spiced beef filling, with just enough cilantro that it didn't overpower the dish. The spareribs were meaty and delicately flavoured. Unlike Floata (msg overload), I could actually taste the pork. This is one of the differences between a good Dim Sum place and a bad one.
The pork bun was soft; but a tad too sweet. Also, it had onions in it. This, of course is personal taste; however, I don't believe there should be onions in a pork bun. The onion ultimately ends up overpowering the flavour of the BBQ pork. The shrimp spring rolls were uniquely served in a glass. Not only was this aesthetically pleasing, it help the rolls stay crisp. When spring rolls are placed flat, the bottom tends to get soggy from the oil and juices settling on the bottom. Moreover, the residual heat essentially steams the bottom of the spring roll. The rolls themselves were very crispy, even through multiple layers; yet not very oily. In addition, there were plenty of whole shrimp in them. Despite having a very tasty, meaty centre, the pot stickers were pretty average. The skin was a bit thick and it could've been fried for a little bit longer (bottom not crispy enough).
The tripe/tendon/brisket/daikon hot pot was very light; yet still delicately flavourful. Unlike the more rustic, traditional version, the sauce did not have much depth. However, it was less heavy as a result. All the items were just right - soft, but not too soft. The yee mein (Chinese egg noodle that has been fried and then dried), was cooked perfectly, still retaining it's elasticity. There was a decent amount of seafood and the dish was lightly flavoured with soy. The lap mei fan (cured duck and sausage on rice) was cooked in a hot pot and was pretty good. The rice was cooked correctly being a bit dry. Combined with the cured meats, the rice is supposed to be dry and aromatic. A side of sweetened dark soy helps soften the rice a bit and to provide flavour. The best parts are actually the rice that has stuck to the pot itself. The beef tripe and tendons (don't know why we ordered 2 dishes with the same things) were not very good, it was way too sweet.
For dessert, we ordered the egg tarts and the steamed sponge cake. The egg tarts didn't look very good, with too much pastry and a sunken centre. However, they tasted much better than they looked. The sponge cake was much darker than we were used to because they used brown sugar. Taste-wise, they gave the cake a much more richer flavour. However, the cake was not fluffy enough, as you can see, it didn't rise very much while cooking. The service at Sea Harbour was quite good. The servers were always responsive and pleasant to deal with. Overall, I thought the Dim Sum was pretty good. I wouldn't say it is the best in the GVRD; but definitely up there with the best.
- Food was not over salted, flavours were delicate
- Unique items for Dim Sum
- Service is pretty good
- Dining room is tight (but nice though)
- Parking spaces can be hard to come by
Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
3711 No. 3 Road
10:30am - 3:00pm, 5:00pm - 10:30pm (Mon - Fri)
10:00am - 3:00pm, 5:00pm - 10:30pm (Sat & Sun)