Costanza has random food cravings every now and then. Quite a few times, he's had the hankering for XLBs where he would gorge on them. His son could eat 2 whole steamers all by himself. I guess like father, like son. So when he called asking if we would go for Peking Duck (because he had a craving), we obliged. He queried where the best Peking duck would reside in the GVRD. A few places came to mind, such as Koon Bo and Red Star, yet both did not satisfy our criteria. Since we would be with all the kiddies, Koon Bo would be far too small and cramped. Red Star, with their purposefully farmed Peking duck, would be far too expensive. Hence, we settled on Top Cantonese, which was near his house. For a fleeting moment, we considered Come Along, but that would end up as a suggestive blog post on my part.
On the topic of suggestive, our server suggested we try their special Winter Melon Soup and we obliged. Deep down inside, I knew this wasn't going to be a regular winter melon soup... And it really wasn't because there was a bevy of seafood including shrimp, crab, conpoy along with mushroom, chicken, duck and cucumber. The soup was served in a whole winter melon within a really fancy container. The soup was light and only relied on the natural flavours of the ingredients. Considering the whole point to this dinner was to have the Peking Duck, it was a bit disappointing. The skin was pale, salty and had an oily deep-fried consistency to it. In the end, it wasn't horrible, yet it wasn't great either. At the very least, the layer of duck fat was not too thick. As for the pancakes, they were thick, yet soft at the same time.
The next dish was almost redundant in terms of aesthetics and the copious amount of shrimp chips (my kids loved that). Sad to say that the Crispy Chicken was plain terrible. It was obviously refried where the meat was like chicken jerky while the skin was shrived and unappealing. Most of the meat was inedible and quite salty. The shrimp chips were good though... Next up was the Seafood Bird's Nest which was interestingly plated using a fried wonton wrapper basket. Usually, the nest would be constructed using either shredded potato or taro. I didn't prefer the wonton wrapper nest as it had a dense texture (since they layered the wrappers). As for the dish itself, it was prepared nicely. Laying atop the well seasoned and crunchy celery were large scallops, prawns, Basa, geoduck, sea cucumber innards and squid.
Onto a meat dish, we had the Peking Pork Chops, which was a fairly large portion. The chops were pretty thin and crispy, yet sufficiently moist. There was just enough syrupy sauce that was thick and sweet. It could've used a bit more tartness though. With so many fried items, we were guilted into ordering a veggie dish being the Pea Shoots with garlic. Well, it wasn't exactly that much healthier because it was stir-fried... So yes, it was somewhat greasy, but it was good though. The pea shoots were tender with a slight crunch. The dish was well-seasoned with lots of minced garlic. With most orders of Peking Duck, there is usually at least one more course (or sometimes 3 courses in total). This one was only 2 courses and it came with the standard Duck Lettuce Wrap. There was a good amount of duck mixed in with the crunchy veggies. I thought the water chestnuts could've been diced a bit smaller since they were somewhat difficult to eat. Also, the duck exhibited the same saltiness found in the duck skin. However, the dish itself was not bad.
Our meal at Top Cantonese was somewhat strange in my books. If one looks at Top Cantonese based on its decor and price point, it is dangerously close to Chinese fine dining. However, it is not. The dinner as a whole was hit and miss. With the price we paid, there wasn't a whole lot of wiggle room for complete misses, like the Crispy Chicken. Hence, I would probably head over to other restaurants nearby for food which would be equivalent or even slightly better (considering the prices) food execution. I really guess we should pay a re-visit to Come Along for dinner...
- Clean and upscale decor
- Good service
- Parking lot (albeit small)
- Food execution not on par with prices