Name-brand Dim Sum at a high price doesn't guarantee the best food. I've heard a lot about the Kirin chain, but haven't tried any until now. Some of my friends told me their dim sum was good, but I was skeptical right away when they told me there were no dim-sum carts. For me, dim sum has to have the carts, the restaurant has to be a bit mangy, service should be a bit crappy to God-awful, and it should be cheap. Kirin downtown is none of these, so you can see how I was a bit skeptical at first.
The restaurant is kind of in a strange place, and it looks like the location was a complete afterthought. The dining area seems to be a converted lobby/atrium of a business tower or something. Anyway, it's a bit fancier than what I'm used to, and holy cow was this place clean. Even the washrooms were pristine, which blew me away. The cleanest washrooms I've ever been to in a Chinese restaurant and I actually felt safe using the facilities. There are no pictures of this, so you'll have to take my word for it.
....Fancy looking menu...
...Fancy looking settings....
...Fancy looking tea pot with warmer...
....Fancy sauces - X.O. sauce.....
.....not so fancy mustard and chili....
The sauces. We got some XO sauce, the standard mustard (which looked like it maybe have been set the night before) and chili combo, plus some soy sauce for my Japanese friends (they like to have the soy suace and mustard combo with the hagow and siumai).
The spring rolls came with a fork and spoon which were perfect for my cracker friend Todd. Well, I have to admit, even Chinese people sometimes have trouble with the standard-issue yellow-plastic Chinese chopsticks seen in most restaurants, especially with a hard item like the spring roll.
.....the spring rolls were chock-full of stuff my food eats - veggies.
They called this the seafood salad roll.....or something like that.
Some kind of creamy concoction in the middle with some assorted bits of seafood. I'm told the Kirin location on Cambie makes this one way better. So, this would not be the first time I've heard complaints of consistancy with the Kirin Chain.
The hagow were okay this particular day, although they didn't really impress me as something to write home about. Let's just say they weren't bad.
I couldn't find the yu gou (deep fried taro dumplings) on the menu, but there was a picture of it so I ordered it. Tasted good, but same as any other place.
And now for some not so dim sum items. Some of my friends wanted to try some other stuff:
Tan-tan noodles, I could have made better at home to be honest.
The siu long bao didn't have much soup in them. Either it leaked out, or weren't made very well, but everyone said these were dry inside. They tasted okay, but it's disappointed when you nibble open the skin and don't find the scalding hot soup inside.
This is the first time I saw these referred to as sesame balls.....what I usually think about as sesame balls is those deep-fried things covered in sesame....this was just your run of the mill-sesame paste-filled tang yuan, covered in that powder.
......with Coconut cream. The pudding tasted like it was made the same time the mustard was put out. A bit disappointing.
It was nice to get a hot steaming cloth to wipe our hands after, and I didn't notice until I just posted this picture that was a curly black hair in it.....gross
$86.02 for 5 people.....what the $%@&*!@ #*#*!!!!!!! Suffice to say, I was not impressed by our bill. I thought that was a little steep for dim sum, but then I thought "Hmmmm.....that must be the price for clean washrooms a downtown location". Maybe the highrollers living in downtown Vancouver/Cole Harbour/Shangrila are used to prices like this, but it was a bit too much for my tax bracket. Yeah, the food was okay, not bad, but not that great, yeah the washrooms were clean enought to eat in, and yeah, the rest of the place was clean and there were a few extras here and there, but I don't think I'll go back unless suddenly find myself in the next tax bracket, or I'm out with Young and Todd and can't convince them to come to the dives I prefer to eat in.