As mentioned in the post on Provence Marinaside, Vandelay and Donna Chang are proud parents of a baby boy. As per Chinese tradition, there is usually a 1-month celebration. The story behind this is simple, long ago in China, it was an achievement for an infant to reach 1-month. This was due to the lack of modern science, nutrition and/or water. Nowadays, it's not uncommon to reach 1-month; but the tradition lives on. Knowing that I've been to almost all the major Chinese restaurants, Vandelay picked one I had never been before. Isn't it nice of him to think of my blog before he chooses a restaurant? LOL. He ended up selecting Gingeri in... surprise, surprise... Richmond! In fact, it's in Lansdowne Mall quite near the Toys R Us. Joining many of the usual dining companions mentioned in this blog was Jessica and M (Yum-O-Rama). Revelation of the day - she is actually Vandelay's cousin. I guess you'll be seeing another post on the Gingeri coming up!
We were given a private room on one side of the restaurant all to ourselves. That's a good thing since the rest of the place was taken up by a wedding. Yes, there were thoughts of crashing the wedding; but I'm not sure how we would blog about that! Besides, our set dinner menu is practically the same as a Chinese wedding dinner more or less. Unlike a wedding, we didn't have to endure an hour worth of speeches and introductions before we ate. The first dish is always some sort of Appetizer Platter. This particular one consisted of marinated jellyfish, pork hock, BBQ duck, vegetarian goose and sweet 'n sour spareribs. The jellyfish was lightly seasoned with only a modest amount of sesame oil flavour. The pork hock had a good gelatinous texture. The BBQ duck and ribs were pretty standard; although I did like the sweet 'n sour sauce, it was quite flavourful and had depth (probably from the Worcestershire sauce). However, the vegetarian goose was the one clunker in this dish. It probably could've done without the celery and carrots. The whole thing was too big and when picked up with chopsticks, it fell apart.
While enjoying my jellyfish, I chucked my chopsticks and leaped into action. No, I'm not becoming Super Foodman; rather, the server was about to serve us the Crab Claws with Minced Shrimp. I needed to take a picture of the plate before he ruined the presentation! I was able to head him off at the pass and got a few pictures in. He was probably thinking I was nuts. The crab claws were pretty standard. I liked the crispy outer coating; but the shrimp itself was a bit dense. Next dish was a bit interesting. In addition to the prawns and baby sea cucumber, there were lychees, which added a refreshing sweetness to the dish. I thought it was a nice complement to the delicate seafood. Moreover, there was almost too much seafood (which is not a bad thing) because our table couldn't finish it all. At this point, Viv wanted to head to the washroom. Now you might be wondering why I'm mentioning this. Well, the problem was that the washroom was on the other side of the restaurant, meaning that she would need to cut through the wedding to get to it. A bit awkward. Maybe she could've joined in on some of the games. I'm sure people wouldn't even know if she belonged at the wedding or not. Anyways, back to the food... At this point we were having a really hard time keeping up with the food since it was coming out quite quickly. Normally at a wedding, food is delayed due to games and speeches.
The Shark's Fin Soup was lightly flavoured and you could really taste the chicken broth base. There was plenty of ingredients in the soup and it was not too thick. We thought it was pretty good. As usual, I added red vinegar to mine for a little acidity. For the next dish, we got the both lobster and crab. Unlike the wedding at the Richmond Kirin, we got to serve ourselves and thus I could have the lobster head all to myself. Viv followed suit with the crab head. Nothing more attractive than a woman eating crab brains! The crab and lobster were cooked properly and there was an adequate amount of sauce. Although the Crispy Chicken was indeed crispy and not terribly overcooked, it was quite bland. There was a definite absence of saltiness normally associated with this dish. I suspect they did not brine the chicken long enough or the brine itself did not have enough salt. Replacing the traditional steamed rock cod was the Sauteed Cod and Deep Fried Cod with Snap Peas. This was a refreshing change from the ordinary with tender pieces of fish over crunchy peas. When we asked what type of cod we were eating, the manager said it was "cheng yee". Not sure what it was, but it had the texture of red snapper.
The filler dish of the night was the Fook Chow Fried Rice. Arriving covered with sauce containing scallops, dried scallops, shrimp, chicken and gai lan stems, the dish was not lacking in ingredients. But, there was just too much sauce and it ultimately made the rice quite mushy. With all this sauce, we expected it to be quite flavourful. This was not the case, it was very bland. Where the rice was bland, the little petit fours were quite good, especially the red bean pastry. The outside was flaky and the red bean in the middle tasted great without being too sweet. Too bad the Sweetened Red Bean Soup was not very good. It was gritty and flavourless.
Overall, a pretty decent meal at the Gingeri. Of course we always have to take into account that the kitchen is going nuts preparing food for us and a wedding as well. The service was quite good, as the staff did their best to keep up with our requests. The common thread with most of the dishes was that they were quite bland. I'm sure this is good for some people who don't want too much salt. I personally would've preferred a bit more seasoning.
- Large portions
- Quality ingredients
- Pretty decent service
- Food needs a bit more seasoning