Sherman's Food Adventures: Dinner @ Floata

Dinner @ Floata

Alright, what the heck am I doing at Floata? There are not many restaurants that I truly despise. On that list are Po King and Floata. Every time I go for Dim Sum at Floata, it's been the same experience over and over again. The service is completely devoid of professionalism and attention to detail. Furthermore, there are times it's just plain rude. In addition, the Dim Sum at Floata is not really all that good either when you compare to other places such as Sun Sui Wah, Kirin, Red Star, Victoria, Sea Harbour, Spicy Court and Fisherman's Terrace. My aunt invited us to dinner at Floata tonight and we gave her "face", which means despite our feelings towards Floata, we gave her respect and showed up. Well, I have been to dinner on many occasions at Floata in the past and mercifully the service is actually decent. Well, it's easy to be decent when there are always less than 5 tables every time we went for dinner.

Tonight, the restaurant was cordoned off for a function in the next section. I have not idea what it was, but the diners were taking turns going up to the mic and singing their hearts out. It was excruciating while we were eating our dinner. There were several non-Asian tables in our section and I could see the pain on their faces. Great, now the stereotype not only includes bad driving, add bad singing into it too! Let me be totally fair and tell you that the service tonight was pretty attentive and accommodating. Either it was truly the lack of tables or the managers are different from the day shift. I've actually had managers during Dim Sum insult us when we were in the right!

Admittedly a bit indifferent, I left the ordering up to the others at the table. There were several specials including the Peking Duck (2 Courses). At least the meal started off in a positive manner since the skin was crisp and the flour pancakes were soft. I particularly liked the table side carving of the Peking Duck. The next dish was Steamed Crab on Sticky Rice. Again, the presentation was pretty good with the crab majestically sitting atop a plethora of stir-fried sticky rice in a bamboo steamer. Although the sticky rice was fantastic (slightly chewy, yet still soft), it was seasoned a bit too aggressively. This essentially masked the natural crab juices which were supposed to seep into the rice.

Right when I thought that the food at Floata was acceptable, it started to go downhill from here. The second course of the Peking Duck was the Duck Lettuce Wrap. If you look at the picture, there is an absence of rich colour in the dish. There was not enough caramelizing of the ingredients in the wok to give it good colour. Also a splash of dark soy might've helped too. The result was a flavourless filling for the lettuce wrap. The hoisin sauce added some flavour; but that was about it. The Pea Shoots with Bean Curd Stick was a disaster. The pea shoots were so overcooked that the colour became a pale green. Moreover, the shoots were limp and overly soft. The same could be said about the Ginkgo nuts. Upon picking them up with my chopsticks, they disintegrated. There was some redemption in the Stir-Fried Green Beans with Fish Slices. The fish was cooked nicely and the beans had a bright green colour. However, for me the beans were slightly soft.

Coming curiously late in the meal was the Roasted (fried) Squab. Usually this dish is supposed to arrive early in the meal (unless if it is on a wedding menu). I must admit, the squab had good colour and was not dry. It was adequately seasoned without being salty. However, look at the picture - why was there only one head for 2 squabs??? Continuing on the fowl head theme, the Free Range Chicken was freakishly presented with the head pointing up on a large platter. It looked like whoever chopped the chicken merely slapped the poor thing onto the plate. Rather than impressively presented on the plate as it should be, it resembled more of a fowl crime scene than anything. Moreover, most of the pieces were not even chopped correctly since everything was stuck together. Taste wise, the chicken was well-seasoned; but as with all free-range chickens, the meat was a bit tough.

The last dish to arrive was the Pan-Fried Yee Mein. The good news - it was a large amount of noodles on the plate. The bad news - it was horrendous. It was so dry and flavourless, I had an extremely difficult time swallowing it. It's similar to stuffing 4 saltines in your mouth. So there you have it. Another disappointing meal at Floata. I'm not sure how this place continues to operate since it's such a big restaurant. With so many better options available for Chinese food in the GVRD, Floata is not even on my radar. Granted, the service was half decent tonight; but on the whole, it's not very good (especially at Dim Sum). If you ever read Urbanspoon or Dinehere, you will see that others share my sentiments. With their business highly dependent on tourists, I cannot fathom how they cannot see that they are on a one-way street to disaster. Tourists read online reviews and comments! I only hope for their own survival that they take customer comments seriously.

The Good:
- We had lots of room, because the place was empty!
- Service was actually acceptable, because there were so few customers!
- Some dishes were decent

The Bad:
- Most of the meal was disappointing
- Restaurant needs a bit of a cleaning
- They claim to be classy, but are far from it

Floata Seafood on Urbanspoon


KimHo said...

Great, now the stereotype not only includes bad driving, add bad singing into it too!

Sorry, bad singing stereotype was cemented a couple of years ago by William Hung. William who? Check here. ;)

Unless your aunt happens to be the "rich aunt", next time, just give some lame excuse, hehehehe.

Danny said...

They are dependent on the big Chinese society gatherings and wedding banquets. Not many restaurants can accommodate more than 40 tables. I think Floata's max is 100 tables.

koji said...

i agree about service at Floata, it's just plain bad. i had dim sum once where i asked the waiter to refill our tea pot, only to watch as he took our pot away to the back, put on a jacket and end his shift......we didn't get the pot back.

unfortunately, there really is no good dim sum places in chinatown anymore, i think chinatown will be pretty much dead in 20 years, someone should create a permanent outdoor market in richmond that caters to the tourists and locals alike. San Fran's chinatown still has culture and the feel of a chinatown, unlike ours.