Sherman's Food Adventures: Li Garden

Li Garden

*Restaurant is now closed*

Goose had been raving about this small Chinese restaurant out on Victoria Drive that served up some pretty good Dim Sum. Now, if you know Goose, if he is raving about something, then there is something to it. Usually, he's not raving about food. Rather, it's about electronics, computers and sports equipment... like your typical male. Therefore, it only seemed natural for me to take this seriously and check it out. It's almost ironic that after I made the reservation, I found out that Goose, Mother Goose and their respective parents would be at the same place as well. Unlike some other similar Chinese restaurants, we got our reservation when we arrived. It also helped that the place was not full as of yet. I am really annoyed at restaurants taking reservations just to humour you. When you get there, you end up being in line with everyone else, possibly with a higher priority. I guess if there is an endless stream of customers, they don't give a rats ass about reservations.

Fate would have it, they gave us a table right at the window. Me and my camera were very pleased at this development. In fact, it was in a little enclosed space all by its lonesome. Light and privacy for my pictures: fantastic! Meeting up with us today were Costanza, Elaine and their 2 kiddies. With the 4 kids in total, it's bordering on chaos. That's not leisurely Dim Sum here! Once again, the 2 staples of Dim Sum are the Haw Gow (Shrimp Dumplings) and Sui Mai (Pork & Shrimp Dumplings. It's so unfortunate that Dim Sum carts seem to be going the way of the VCR; but it was rather amusing in my childhood to hear the familiar phrase, "Haw Gow, Sui Mai..." as the Dim Sum ladies walked by. As you can see in the picture, the shrimp dumplings are quite large. Despite filled with lotsa cold-water shrimp, the outer wrapper was on the chewy side. On the other hand, the sui mai were pretty good. There was a good combination of shrimp and bits of pork (with meat texture).

The Sparerib Rice was a bit of a disappointment. First, the rice was mushy and as you can see, the ribs were very bony. Not much in the way of meat. Another predictable flop was the Xiao Long Bao. I generally try to avoid this at Cantonese Dim Sum since it is a Shanghainese dish. Looking quite sad and deflated, these dumplings were devoid of juice and had an almost impenetrable skin. Fortunately, the Beef and Shrimp Rice Noodle Rolls were respectively quite good. The noodle itself was a tad on the chewier side; yet there was a good amount of filling.

We then worked our way through some "special" items off the Dim Sum menu. These are usually a bit pricier, albeit larger in portion size. The Shrimp Stuffed Eggplant was pretty good with the eggplant holding its shape and integrity. The Stir-Fried Pea Shoots were cooked nicely still exhibiting a nice "bite". We weren't that thrilled with the congee, as it was a bit on the watery side and quite bland. The Stir-Fried Spicy Green Beans were a quite greasy. It's the standard "deep-fried, then stir-fried" with more oil and spices method. It did taste a bit spicy, a tad salty and sweet. We were really not impressed with the sliced Beef Shank and Jellyfish. The beef was tough and chewy with little to no flavour. Although the jellyfish exhibited the "crunch" texture, it sorely needed more seasoning.

Our last few items included the Shrimp Spring Rolls, BBQ Pork Bun, Steamed Sponge Cake and Egg Tarts. At this stage, our table was becoming completely overloaded with food. To me at least, everything came too quickly. The spring rolls were very good packed with shrimp and having a crisp, non-oily wrapper. The BBQ pork buns were pretty average with a few too many pieces of fat (well, some people like it). The sponge cake was soft and not too sweet while the egg tarts were above average (there was more egg than tart shell). For a Chinese restaurant, I thought the service was not half-bad. Someone checked on us every now and then. Moreover, we saw more smiles than frowns. It may not seem like a big deal; but it's an achievement in this type of restaurant.

The Good:
- Inexpensive
- Portions are good
- Service was half-decent

The Bad:
- Food came out all at once (I guess some people wouldn't mind that)
- There is better Dim Sum within this class of restaurant (ie. Western Lake, Dai Tung)

Li Garden on Urbanspoon


trisha said...

i like the idea of shrimp stuffed eggplant, i want some of that! now the jellyfish you had... is THAT the real thing? i know in most japanese restaurants it's not... is it more common to have real jellyfish in chinese restaurants?

btw, i don't know what happened with my comment on your joe fortes post... but i was PFO. weird?

Sherman Chan said...

Yah, PFO??? Strange, dunno how that happened. Anyways, that is real jellyfish. Yup, it's very common. Usually as part of an appetizer dish for dinner. It really doesn't taste like anything. Just a bit chewy in a wakame seaweed kind of way.

Anonymous said...

Ganache has their 6th anniversary celebration this Sat. so he'll be unveiling his new creations.

Not really related but thought I'd give you the heads up as I had mentioned it the last time.

Happy sampling, I'll eat vicariously thru you as I'll be tied up then.

Sherman Chan said...

Thanks, I'm not sure if I can make it... :(

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