Restaurant: Café Gloucester
Last visited: January 12, 2010
Area: Vancouver, BC (South Cambie)
Address: 3338 Cambie Street
Price range: $10 or less / $10-20
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Typical Hong Kong café menu
- Some fancier items like sizzling plates and 3 course meals
- Some creative dishes
- Small selection of Japanese donburi/ramen
- Cheap for what you are getting
- Extensive menu
- Individual meals $10 or less
- Set 3 course menus around $20-22
- Daily specials around $13
- Spacious, brightly lit
- Great for snacks
- Offers some Asian fusion dishes
- Some Western plates w/Chinese influence
- Extra $.50 or $2 for take-out
- Some desserts: ice cream/jello/cheesecakes
- Open late, attracts late night diners, all ages
- Accepts Visa
Recommendation: Tahitian Pork Chop on Rice, Seafood Bread Box
It’s one of those casual late night default kind of places, but it’s not a 24 hour Hong Kong diner either. I wouldn’t make the trek out there just for the food, but I was craving Chinese and was in the area I wouldn’t mind going. It’s almost like a classy version of #9 Restaurant serving up typical Hong Kong café dishes. It’s very typical Chinese (Cantonese) dining and attracts all ages.
The menu is more creative than I remember it being and they told me that they were releasing a new menu in a couple months. The items are typical Hong Kong café items with some inspirations from other cuisines like Japanese, Shanghai and Malaysian. Since the restaurant caters to Chinese (Cantonese) most of these dishes are made with that kind of Chinese twist. I’m impressed with what they had to offer – I mean it’s not gourmet, but for most items at $7-8 with a drink included… I can’t say they do a bad job. Nonetheless the dishes were quite tasty and it exceeded my expectations. They also call them “mini sets” but there’s nothing mini about them…pretty big portions.
On the table
Taiwan Seafood & Mushroom Bread Box – 5/6
- $7.95 + drink included (Cold drink + $1, Jumbo + $1.50)
- It looks pretty good huh? I really like this dish and I used to always order it back when Honolulu Café was open in Richmond. It’s rare to come across, but when it’s on the menu I like to order it.
- It’s basically half a loaf of Taiwanese bread (white bread) and they fill it with seafood and a cream sauce that tastes like the base for their cream soups. It’s more of a cream soup than sauce they fill it with. Then they bake the entire thing until the ‘bread box’ is nicely toasted on the outside.
- Chinese style cream soups are less rich than the Western ones. There’s no cheese in it, but it’s still milk, flour, and some butter (although not as much as Western versions).
- There’s actually a lot of seafood in here and I was surprised. Mind you it was all frozen, but everything tasted pretty good except for the shrimps.
- It had 1 mussel, 2 shrimp, 2 pieces of cod, 2 artificial crab sticks, 1 squid, 1 octopus, 1 scallop and some button mushrooms and chopped onions. I kept finding more and more seafood as I got further into the box… it was great!
- If you’ve never had Taiwanese bread it’s fantastic! It’s really soft and a bit sweet. Taiwanese bread is completely different than American white bread… it’s better!
- The bread box holds all the ingredients really well and it’s toasted on the outside but still really soft on the inside. This is a way better version of the Western soup in a bread bowl. I just wish they used fresh seafood and cooked the seafood in the broth… but this is going gourmet and double the price I was paying, so I can’t ding them.
Szechuan Spare Ribs Rice Cake Soup – 2/6
- $7.50 + drink included (Cold drink + $1, Jumbo + $1.50)
- This soup and noodle bowl didn’t really do anything for me. I love these rice cakes too! Rice cakes are a Shanghainese thing and they taste like rice noodles but they’re patties. They’re chewy, firm, but not hard, and sticky yet slippery at the same time… does that makes sense?
- I don’t find that rice cakes go well with soup though. It’s a heartier noodle so I prefer it to be served in a more traditional way – in a sautéed dish with lots of sauce like at Taiwanese Cuisine or Chen’s Shanghai Kitchen.
- They give quite a lot of spare ribs, it’s just they’re really small and don’t have much meat, although the meat it did have was tender. They’re not quality pieces either, quite fatty – but Chinese people like this. I think they cook the spare ribs separately and toss it in the soup so the flavour of both is mediocre.
- The soup was just a regular pork based broth, but it was a bit too watered down. It’s the standard soup base they would use for all their noodles with added chili oil. It was spicy broth, but one dimensional in flavour.
- The dish also had Chinese fungus (those black jelly-like clouds), celery, snow peas and some chopped cilantro that was also tossed in at the end.
- It didn’t taste bad, but I just wouldn’t order it again. I’ve never seen it anywhere else.
Baked Tahitian Style Pork Chop with Rice – 5/6
- $7.25 + drink included (Cold drink + $1, Jumbo + $1.50)
- I liked this! Kudos to creativity! It’s one of their specialties because I haven’t seen it anywhere else either.
- It’s almost like an Asian, or this case Tahitian, casserole. It’s a huge piece of breaded pork chop served on top of fried white rice with a rich and creamy coconut curry sauce. There are also some scrambled eggs in the mix, but not much. It tastes like and reminds me of Baked Portuguese Chicken on Rice – that is a common dish offered at Hong Kong style cafes.
- The twist to the dish and what made it “Tahitian” was because it had honeydew, cantaloupe and raisins in it! I was very surprised and I don’t even like these fruits but I liked it in this dish! They sauté them so they get very sweet, tender and juicy! It’s almost the texture of sautéed zucchini so think of it as adding sweet ‘vegetables’ to the dish. (Or warm up to the idea by thinking of pineapple fried rice).
- The cream sauce was savoury for sure, but also sweet from the coconut milk so the sautéed fruits and raisins just complemented with another level of sweetness. (It’s also not spicy)
- I could have used more raisins though. I could also use some toasted coconut on top, which would have been great! I also missed a little bit of crunch and some onions would have been nice.
- On top was a HUGE piece of breaded and deep fried boneless pork chop or cutlet. It was actually really good, but it got soggy underneath the sauce.
- They baked the whole thing with a little bit of cheese on top so it had a lovely gratin topping.
- This dish is rich and heavy, but it’s really good especially if you like that savoury and sweet chemistry.