Not too long ago, I noticed that Mui Garden along North Road had closed. That was somewhat of a surprise since they are quite well-known for their Curry Brisket and Free-Range Chicken. On a personal level, I never thought those 2 items would qualify as a "must eat" in Vancouver, but they did have their die-hard followers nonetheless. Anyways, Friend's BBQ Restaurant has replaced it and we decided to give their "pick your own meal" for 4 a try (and one additional item as well). Included in the meal was soup, plain rice or fried rice and dessert ($53.95). One thing I noticed on the menu was that each additional a la carte item was a surprisingly high $14.50. The soup of the day was Carrot Soup (regular and green). It was quite mild tasting with only 2 small pieces of pork.
The first dish to arrive was the BBQ Plate which featured BBQ pork, roast pork and BBQ duck. Despite the visuals, the duck and the pork were a bit pale and not particularly appetizing to look at. However, the pork crackling was crunchy and airy. On the other hand, the pork was a touch dry. I found the BBQ duck a bit salty (although we were given the thigh) while the BBQ pork had a nice flavourful bark and was moist. The Shrimp and Eggs was a nicely prepared dish where the eggs were barely cooked and silky. As for the shrimp, they were crunchy and of a decent size. There was a proper amount of salt in this dish.
Our additional item was the Shredded Duck Vermicelli, which arrived with no duck. We had to send it back. When we did get to eat it, the noodles were still chewy despite the moisture. It was an acceptable dish, yet needed more salt and possibly a touch of spice. As an observation, they didn't seem particularly fazed with the error. More on that later... For our veggie dish, we selected an item that carried a $3.00 surcharge being the Stir Fried Pea Tips. The pea tips were a little "old", which made them a less tender and a touch stringy. They were prepared nicely though with good wok heat (no pool of water at the bottom of the place) and plenty of garlic.
Onto a meat dish, the Peking Pork Chops were in a radioactive shade of red. We found the pork far too thin which made them dry and chewy. As for the sauce, it was too neutral to have any impact. There was not enough tang nor savouriness. The colour was deceivingly flavourful. Okay, the BBQ Pork Fried Rice arrived almost an hour after we had ordered. What ultimately happened was a comedy of errors and lack of care by the staff. Not only did we have to remind them we were waiting for it (as we already finished practically all of our dishes), they gave it to another table when it was ready. Then when it finally arrived, there were green onions in it despite our constant nagging to exclude it. We felt that they didn't really care we waited an hour for fried rice and naturally nothing was done with the bill. I realize this is a Chinese restaurant, but I'm done with that excuse. If the food was spectacular or a good value, I would entertain the notion of letting the mistake(s) go, but neither was the case here.
- Only Chinese BBQ in the area (and it's alright)
- Some okay dishes
- Parking lot sucks
- Service is okay, but doesn't take proper responsibility with mistakes
- Food is average and priced too high