Sherman's Food Adventures: Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace

Once upon a time...  There was this restaurant named Tasty Village.  It was located in a corner mall which also housed #1 Beef Noodle House and a sushi restaurant.  Unfortunately, that location was the kiss of death as there are absolutely no close by parking spots along Willingdon nor Moscrop.  Sure, there was a parking lot, but with only enough spots for a 7-11, many would just drive up the slope to Metrotown for more accessible eats.  Well, as you can guess, Tasty Village bit the dust, much like the sushi restaurant.  Now, the newest restaurant attempting to make it work is Crystal Palace.  And guess what?  We couldn't find parking when we tried to visit the place!  Predictable.  Resorted to parking at the street behind and blindly making our way through the mini-forest to the restaurant.

Being a Shanghainese joint, we ordered accordingly starting with the Braised Pork Shank. Huh? How did this dish come out so quickly??? I was a bit skeptical.  Naturally, this dish was pre-made, but for me, I expected a longer period of time for them to heat it up.  My suspicions were correct as the meat was lukewarm at best.  Hence, the texture wasn't exactly moist, although it was far from being tough.  On the positive side of the ledger, the skin/fat was nicely done with a soft gelatinous texture with a rich colour.  However, the sauce was more salty than anything.  It was too "dark soy" tasting.  Something I didn't expect to be one note was the Hot & Sour Soup.  Despite the dark, rich colour, the soup had no depth.  Instead, there was far too much black vinegar which put the flavours out-of-balance.  It must be noted that we requested it to be less spicy, but even with that taken into account, it was far too sour. Moreover, the seafood was fishy and severely overcooked. Up next was something for the kiddies being the Noodles in Soup with Chicken.  Naturally, this was a really mild dish with a slightly sweet broth.  Viv thought it was rather bland, but that could've been the whole point.  The noodles were nicely chewy though and the dark meat was cooked just right.

Something that was far from being cooked right was the 4 Seasons Green Beans.  Sorry, I can't candy-coat this one - it sucked.  The beans were woefully overcooked (probably oil-blanched and/or wok fried too long).  Therefore, the beans were mushy and not appealing at all.  The flavours were rather muted as well since there was no meat in the dish.  There was no depth, not much spice and completely flat.  Next to hit the lazy Susan was the Beef Pancake Roll.  Despite the appealing pan-fried spotting, the pancake itself was far too thick and dense.  Therefore, it negated whatever crispiness that was achieved by the pan fry.  It was really too bad since the thinly sliced beef shank was moist and tender with just enough hoisin to taste.  Served with steamed buns, the Smoked Tea Duck was both good and bad.  First off, I really liked how there was a noticeable smoky flavour (unlike many other places).  However, the duck was fried too long rendering it into an oily mess with meat that was dry and stringy.  

Lastly, we had the Xiao Long Bao which were disappointing.  The dumpling skin was thick and doughy while there was a general lack of soup (which was sweet without any other distinguishing flavours).  Furthermore, there was a bunch of cabbage mixed in with the meat which not only made for a weird flavour, the texture was not right either.  Well, there is no nice way to say it, so I'll say it.  The food is below average here and considering the parking issues, I fear they have an uphill battle that is much worse than the climb up WIllingdon...

The Good:
- Decent pricing
- Although not very attentive, staff was friendly

The Bad:
- Food is below-average
- Parking sucks 

Crystal Palace 水晶宮飯店 on Urbanspoon

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