For Viv and I, we honestly thought that the wedding blitz for us was well over. We watched as most of our friends got married year after year. For the last few years, it has been rather sparse. So it was much to our surprise we'd being going to 4 within a month and half. In fact, this was the 2nd wedding in 2 days for us! Tonight, it was my brother-in-law's wedding at Kirin (City Square). I used to frequent this location of Kirin quite often when I still lived in downtown. Now the closest location is in Coquitlam, which in my opinion is not as good, especially for Dim Sum. We got to the restaurant quite early because the actual wedding ceremony was being held there. My son and daughter were going to be the ring bearer and flower girl respectively. As you can imagine, Viv and I were quite nervous as to what would happen because the first 2 times my son was not very cooperative. This time, we had to rely on him to guide his younger sister down the aisle without incident. Even the officiant gave us a "good luck with that" during the rehearsal. As if on cue, just before they were supposed to walk down the aisle, both kids had meltdowns. It's amazing how candy lego blocks can suddenly be the magical cure! To our utter amazement, both kids made it down the aisle without incident. It's like going to Richmond without being cut off, it was a miracle!
After a brief ceremony, the officiant announced that they were man and wife. Their kiss was one of the longest I've ever seen! Usually with people watching, newly married couples often do a short ceremonial kiss. This one lasted what seemed like an eternity! Go get a room already! Well, that certainly takes all the fun out of clinking of the glasses during dinner. And talking about dinner, it started quite expeditiously which was another pleasant surprise. First up was the requisite appetizer platter which consisted of Vegetarian Goose, Smoked Salmon, Braised Beef Shank, Marinated Jellyfish and Roasted Suckling Pig. Not much to complain about this dish, the jellyfish was well-seasoned and had good elasticity. Tender and not too salty, the roasted pig was delicious. I particularly liked the vegetarian goose since it was filled with plenty of tender mushroom pieces.
The appetizer platter was followed up by the Sauteed Scallop, Geoduck, Chicken and Organic Mushrooms. This dish was a curious one. The snap peas were cooked perfectly exhibiting a sweet crunch; however, some of the scallops were a bit overdone. Viv had a nice juicy one; yet some other people had some chewy ones. Despite this, the dish was seasoned conservatively, which allowed us to taste each individual flavour. To be brutally honest (I hope my brother-in-law doesn't read this!), the Fried Crab Claws were horrible. Either they fried them too long or they were refried because the outer coating was as tough as a leather jacket. Everyone had great difficulty chewing through. The one positive is that the shrimp inside was not too bad. Thankfully, the Shark's Fin Soup with Crabmeat and Fish Maw was pretty good. Every bowl had plenty of large pieces of crabmeat and shark's fin. It was quite thick; yet was delicately seasoned. Since my son didn't want his, I had a second bowl. Too bad for him!
Of course, after the soup comes the star of any Chinese wedding banquet - the Lobster in Consomme Sauce. Overall, the lobster was cooked well and the sauce was a nice compliment. Much like the other dishes so far, the sauce was not over-seasoned which allowed us to taste the lobster itself. Up next was the Sliced Fresh Abalone Braised with Shiitake Mushrooms. For some people at our table, the dish was a bit too bland. Personally, I didn't mind it so much because I really am not a big fan of salty Chinese food. Also, depending on which piece of mushroom, some where quite soft and some were not. However, the texture of the abalone was good, being slightly chewy and soft at the same time.
If you've ever have been to a Chinese wedding banquet before, I'm sure you can guess what the next dish is - Crispy Skin Chicken (sometimes substituted with Squab). Don't you love the picture I took? I emphasized the head. Enough to give vegetarians (and even carnivores) the heeby jeevies. The chicken was pretty good. The skin was crispy and the meat wasn't too overcooked. A pretty standard dish really. The Steamed Whole Live Rock Cod was also a tad overcooked; but it was still pretty good. The flesh still had a bit of elasticity around the fins and the fillet meat was a bit soft.
The next 2 dishes are what we call the fillers - Special Fried Rice (Fook Jow) and E-Fu Noodles (Yee Mein). When we get to this part of the wedding banquet, not many people have the appetite or the will to eat both a bowl of rice and noodles. More often than not, these dishes are packed up as leftovers. Well, I was pretty full at this point; but decided to give the rice a try just because it looked pretty tasty. Well, it turned to be surprisingly good. The delicate sauce on top was accompanied with shrimp, BBQ pork, veggies, shiitake mushrooms and squid. For the purposes of this blog, I took a quick taste of the Fried E-Fu Noodles in Abalone Sauce. No, I didn't have a whole bowl, I passed the bowl of noodles when Viv wasn't looking. Besides, it probably would've caused me to puke. Honestly, regurgitated noodles do not look very good. On that wonderful note, the noodles were also quite good. They retained some chewiness and once again the flavours were delicate.
Suffice to say, I had no room for dessert. I never got to try any of it; but it looked good. The 3 desserts consisted of Mini-Almond Cookies, Taro Coconut Jelly and Sweetened Red Bean Soup. Although I'm pretty sure they were almond cookies, there was a piece of walnut on top. So, without trying it myself, I could be totally wrong. Overall, the meal was decent and pretty standard. No real surprises other than the crab claws. There were some issues here and there; but that happens with most meals, especially one that involves serving a whole restaurant full of people. With that being said, currently I enjoy Red Star's execution of this menu. Mind you, I will get to relive the Red Star menu in a couple of weeks because that is the restaurant of choice for the next wedding. After that, I get to do the Kirin wedding meal again at the Richmond location next month. That's a whole lot of shark's fin, lobster and abalone! But I'm not complaining!
- Superb service (even for a wedding)
- Nicely decorated and kept
- Plenty of validated underground parking
- Restaurant is extremely cramped
- Execution of food could've been a bit better (usually this location is quite good)