There I was, happily sleeping in on a Sunday morning since I had played late night hockey the night before. Awakened by a phone call, Viv announced we were going to Dim Sum at Pelican with her mom. #$)#)$*#)$* honestly? It was already 11:15am. Has the MIL ever gone for Dim Sum last minute on a Sunday at that time? Lineups and the MIL. I'd rather have my nose hairs plucked out with rusty tweezers. Oh, it gets better... Not only was the MIL at her obnoxious and inappropriate best, she managed to enrage the whole table where we were all arguing amongst ourselves. Who needs Syria to create World disorder when the MIL is around? Makes Kim Jong Un look like your best fried (a la Dennis Rodman). Anyways, despite all the turmoil, I still managed to take pictures and eat.
We started with the Gai Lan which were blanched just enough that it was cooked while retaining a nice crunch. My son was happy to see the Shrimp Spring Rolls and I decided not to tell him what the green stuff was (wasabi). I crossed my fingers and he ate it. The shrimp was okay with a slight snap being well-seasoned. Despite this, I personally didn't like it because there was far too much grease. Continuing with shrimp, we had the Haw Gow (Shrimp Dumplings) that featured a soggy wet wrapper. The filling was soft and mushy while the bits of shrimp were alright. However, the whole thing was severely under-seasoned.
Strangely topped with a sweet chili sauce, the Stuffed Fried Silken Tofu was served almost ice cold. They obviously had prepared this dish far in advance and didn't bother warming it back up. Didn't matter though as the shrimp mouse was mushy and really, the sweet chili sauce did not go with the tofu as it was too sweet. At least the XO Fried Daikon Cake was served hot (I guess we were luckier this time). Although a bit firm, the cubes were crispy and not overly greasy (probably soaked up by the cake). The wok toss in the XO sauce (dried shrimp & scallops, chili flakes, garlic, oil) added the necessary flavour and spiciness.
Onto the next set of dishes, we had the Phoenix Talons (Chicken Feet). Sadly, these were not prepared properly as the skin was dry and chewy. Furthermore, the cartilage underneath was chewy and lacking. At the very least, it was seasoned nicely with lots of garlic and peppery notes. As for the Bean Curd Skin Roll, it was not exactly that great either. First of all, the bean curd skin was too lightly fried, hence, it was soft and lacking in texture. Second, the meat filling was dense and chewy. Lastly, it was as if they forgot to season the entire dish because both the filling and sauce were bland.
Predictably, I had to get my one token offal dish being the Tripe and Tendon. The tendon was cut into large pieces which were soft while retaining their shape. The same could be said about the tripe as well. There was no lack of seasoning especially the use of black pepper. Unfortunately, the large pieces of cracked pepper were not enjoyable to eat. Equally peppery, the Beef Short Ribs were properly tenderized being easy to chew while retaining some texture. Interestingly, despite the obvious peppery flavour, the dish itself was under-seasoned. Hence, it was spicy without any savouriness.
Arriving mid-meal rather than at the end and thankfully not at the start, the Egg Tarts were really, really flaky. Naturally, that meant that they were buttery as well in taste (or lard...) and aroma. The custard was smooth and silky without being heavy on the sugar. Next, we had the dreaded Shanghainese dish in a Cantonese restaurant being the Xiao Long Bao (Soup Dumplings). Surprisingly, these contained a decent amount of soup, however, it was rather greasy. The dumpling skin was thick while not overly dense and the meat filling was moist and loose. Naturally, the flavours were not close to what it should be, but we expected that.
Lately, the kiddies have been on a Lo Mei Gai (Sticky Rice) kick, so of course we ordered some. Egads! This wasn't executed particularly well either. The rice was dry where the filling was equally so. The meat was mealy and mushy at the same time while a general lack of seasoning made us wish for soy sauce. The Sui Mai (Pork & Shrimp Dumpling) was not really all that interesting either being quite loose. The meat was chewy with no bounce texture. On the other hand, the bits of shrimp were okay though with some snap. Flavourwise, it did taste pretty good though with a meatiness tempered by sweetness.
Back to a good item, the Beef Meatballs were large and exhibited a mouth-pleasing bounce texture. There would've been a good balance of flavours except they were too heavy-handed with the cilantro as it dominated all of the other seasonings. Continuing on with good food (yes, the meal was inconsistent), the Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll featured plenty of shrimp which had a slight snap. They were decently seasoned as well as being accented with flowering chives. As for the rice noodles, they was buttery soft while still maintaining some elasticity.
Mercifully (because of the food and the MIL), our last dish was the Crystal Noodles with Spareribs. Chewy with a nice elasticity, the crystal noodles were very good. The well-seasoned garlicky spareribs provided the necessary flavour for the dish (albeit overly salty). Texture-wise, the ribs were chewy with a slight bounce. Interestingly, this is where the MIL exclaimed that the noodles were made of tapioca starch... Uh, they're made of mung bean... She then claimed to know that and proceeded to argue with everyone again... This was our cue to leave...
- Large portions
- Okay pricing
- Dim Sum available late night
- Dim Sum below average
- Crowded seating
- Service subpar