Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Kalvin's Szechuen Restaurant 松林居

Kalvin's Szechuen is a small family owned Taiwanese cuisine restaurant. By small, I mean there are only nine tables in the restaurant.
Luckily, on a Sunday evening we were fortunate to grab a seat without waiting. Kalvin's Szechuen also sells housemade frozen goods (dumplings, xiao long baos and buns) and unfortunately we were seated by the freezer which was quite cold. In addition, the restaurant gets quite chilly, especially when customers walked in and out.


CHICKEN IN WINE SAUCE ($7.00).
The dish is served cold and comes with one thigh and two legs. The chicken tastes tender, has a medium strong wine flavour, and tastes like it has been marinated in some sort of tasty sauce, other than just wine.

HOT AND SOUR SOUP ($6.50).
The hot and sour soup tastes more spicy than sour and has a syrupy texture. The spiciness comes from the use of black pepper and leaves a stinging feeling, rather than the hot flavour from chilli peppers (I prefer the spiciness from chilli peppers). Furthermore, the soup is packed with ingredients such as shredded carrot, tofu, fungus and pork, but some more vinegar would have made the soup taste sour and better.


FIVE SPICE BEEF IN CHINESE PANCAKE ($6.00).
The green onion pancake is perfectly pan fried, nicely golden and tastes crispy as well as flaky, without tasting oily. The pancake has a good amount of beef shank and green onion, with a perfect amount sauce. This is one of the best Chinese beef pancakes I ever had, the restaurant is definitely not stingy on the ingredients.

NAPA CABBAGE BRAISED WITH DRIED SHRIMP ($9.50).
The vegetables tastes fresh and has a nice unique light salty sweet flavour from the Chinese cabbage, which tastes appetizing.

SHANGHAI STYLE DUMPLING AND STEAMED DUMPLING, VEGETABLE AND PORK ($8.00).
The owner was kind and offered to make us half orders, rather than giving us ten pieces of each (she thought it was crazy for us to eat twenty pieces). The xiao long bao tastes juicy, has a thin layer of skin, and the pork meat tastes tender (almost melts in the mouth), moist as well as flavourful. 

As for the vegetable and pork steamed dumplings, the dumplings have more vegetable than pork which hides the flavour of the meat. Usually vegetables are used to make dumplings moist and stay firm, but there is 80% vegetable and 20% meat so the dumplings taste a bit mushy. In addition, the dumplings taste moist but not juicy and the skin is quite thin and tasty.

PORK WITH BAMBOO SHOOT WITH CHILLI PEPPER ($10.00).
The dish does not have that nice pan fried flavour but does taste spicy, actually spicy. The slices of pork tastes tender and the bamboo shoots taste crunchy, despite that I would have preferred fresh bamboo shoots rather than canned.

POSITIVES
- Friendly family and staff
- Properly made beef pancake wrap

NEGATIVES
- Restaurant is small
- May be overrated

LITTLE THINGS
- The hot pot here seems very popular and we really wanted to try one! The owner suggested us not to order them though and said the hot pot is quite big. I was a bit upset because the hot pot looked like individual sizes and I am pretty sure those would have been tasty
- I would come back for lunch to try the beef noodles and popcorn chicken
- If visiting for dinner, I recommend taking a look at the pre-order dishes

Food: 2.5/5
Service: 3.5/5

Kalvin's Szechuen Restaurant 松林居 on Urbanspoon

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