Ming Dynasty, I hardly got to know you. No I'm not talking about the actual dynasty that ruled China from 1368–1644. Hey, I'm not that old! Rather, it was the short-lived restaurant near the corner of Nanaimo and Broadway. Heck, this location has experienced quite a few changeovers and now the latest flavour is Shining Garden. Despite not looking like one, it is actually a quasi-Hong Kong-style cafe that also serves up full dinner service. We decided to try it out one night with the whole family.
We started with a the complimentary Daily Soup which was a concoction of dried bak choy, carrot and pork bones. The soup itself was not bad since they were easy on the salt. Hence, we could taste the meat and veggies. However, the darn thing wasn't even lukewarm which greatly decreased our eating enjoyment. That theme continued with the 4 Seasons Green Beans as they were not very hot (temperature-wise) for something that exhibited good wok heat. With just a touch too long in the oil-blanch, the beans were lacking some snap. Yet, with the aforementioned wok heat, the flavours were caramelized and slightly spicy. I thought the ground pork was nicely cooked as it was almost fluffy.
Next up, we had the Lobster with Sticky Rice which was also... you guessed it, not very hot. For something that is supposed to be steamed with the lobster on top, it was only mildly warm. That would indicate it wasn't actually steamed. Despite this, it was pretty good though (while lacking true lobster flavour in the rice). The rice itself had an appealing chewy texture with shrimp and baby scallops. Fried just right, the lobster itself had a buttery texture. We decided to try one of their signature items being the Soy Free-Range Chicken. Although this was cold as well, we didn't mind as the chicken was decently moist and tender for free-range chicken. Underneath the skin was a nice layer of gelatin which was just as flavourful as the accompanying sauce (it was a good balance between salty and sweet).
For the kiddies, we got the Scrambled Eggs with Prawns. This was done very well with fluffy, barely-cooked eggs which hid large butterflied prawns. They had a wonderful snap and were just cooked. The dish was a touch salty though. As evidenced in the picture, the portion size was very good and unlike the previous dishes, it was not cold. Lastly, we tried the Curry Beef with coconut milk. They did a poor job in reheating the brisket in the curry as the whole thing was not even lukewarm. Moreover, the brisket liquid diluted the curry and made it watery. Too bad really as the brisket itself was really moist and the curry was flavourful with only a mild hint of spice. As you can probably guess, the food needs to be hotter here. Lukewarm is just not acceptable nor Food Safe. Too bad really because the eats were relatively decent.
- Decent eats
- Nicely renovated
- Large portions
- Barely lukewarm food
- Not very attentive service