Sherman's Food Adventures: i-Cafe

i-Cafe

People usually associate a pub as a the destination of choice after team sports. Hey, I don't disagree with that as it is a great place to grab a beverage and non-offensive eats for usually a decent price.  However, due to my upbringing, I'm more inclined to go for Chinese food.  Now, the wonton noodle thing gets a bit repetitive, so the next best thing is Hong Kong-style cafe fare.  Yet, most of the late night HK-style cafes reside in Richmond. So one of the few choices in Vancouver is an oldie in i-Cafe.  We made several stops here to get a variety of dishes.

I decided to go big or go home, so 3 items it was.  I began with the Lobster Bisque topped by puffed pastry.  It was stretched rather thin so there really wasn't much to be had.  On the other hand, that ensured crispy and flakiness without undercooked pastry either.  As for the soup itself, I found it somewhat thin and really sweet.  There was some lobster essence to be found, but it was quickly overwhelmed from the amount of seasoning.  Interestingly, there was no lobster meat to be found, rather, it was replaced by shrimp.

Since it was late night, I had their mini-versions of the Baked Spaghetti Bolognese and Baked Pork Chop Rice.  These were indeed mini, even for the price of $9.95.  I found the spaghetti to be a bit soft, but par for the course.  The meat sauce was full of beef, but at the same time was on the sweeter side and lacking depth.  Overall, it was still decent.  I enjoyed the rice better as the fried rice base was chewy and nutty.  The pork chop on top was beautifully tenderized and sported only a light breading.  There was more than enough sauce to flavour both the rice and pork chop, however, it was also very sweet and equally salty.  They could've eased up on the seasoning.

Milhouse went for 2 dishes himself, copying my pork chop rice and also having the Fried Noodle with Beef in black pepper sauce.  This was also a mini portion and yes, it was small.  I found the noodles to be appealingly crunchy while topped with just enough pepper sauce that was also on the salty side.  The ample amount of beef was tender and subjected to enough wok heat.  Lionel Hutz ended up with the Singapore Fried Noodles which was decent.  The curry flavour was definitely there as well as proper seasoning.  Chewy and not overly greasy, the noodles were subjected to enough wok-heat too.  Dish was lacking in ingredients though. 

On another visit with Milhouse, I finally decided to go really big in the Combo A featuring beef tenderloin, sirloin and ox tongue with spaghetti, black pepper sauce, soup and beverage.  I have to say that my plate of food had to be one of the best executed versions I've had in a while.  The tenderloin was buttery tender while the sirloin was just as good being meatier.  Peppery and impactful, the black pepper sauce was on point, except there wasn't enough of it for the spaghetti.  One caveat though, the carrots were too mushy. For some inexplicable reason, I also got the Mini-Curry Beef Brisket with rice.  As you can see, this was larger than the other mini-dishes.  It featured tender nuggets of brisket which required very little effort to chewThey were bathed in a spicy sauce that was thick and flavourful.

Milhouse went for the Baked Grouper in Cream Sauce on rice. This was another well-executed dish where it was served bubbling hot.  The fish was both plentiful and expertly prepared where it was soft and flaky.  We found the cream sauce to be rather thick, but it did taste good with a balanced amount of savoury and sweet elements.  There may have been a bit too much of it as the rice became rather wet.  Overall, these 2 visits were pretty solid and we felt the service was generally good.  Prices are on the higher side, but not unlike its closet competitor in Gloucester.

The Good:
- Generally on point eats
- Decent service
- Fairly comfortable dining space

The Bad:
- A bit pricey
- Somewhat salty 

3 comments:

holly said...

I noticed that you and your friends like to have late night meals. Here's another one for you to try. It's called Chef Corner in Burnaby on Kingsway near Metrotown and they're open until 1 am (2 am on Fridays and Saturdays). It's taiwanese food at reasonable prices.

Happy eating.

Sherman Chan said...

@Holly That post on Chef Corner is in the queue! LOL... :)

holly said...

Can't wait to read it. :):)