Monday, August 18, 2014

Bubble World 大頭仔 : New Westminster location

Bubble World is a Canadian franchise restaurant with ten locations in B.C, but only five of the restaurants serve food while the rest sell drinks. As for the Bubble World in New Westminster, the restaurant is located within seconds from Douglas College and I remember making a visit years ago, but the food was not very good. At that time, I concluded this location caters to students and declared the restaurant as probably being the worst out of the whole franchise.

So why the revisit? A friend of mine moved in to her new condo in New West and it was based on convenience. Plus, perhaps the food has improved and she could also find out if the restaurant could be her go-to for late night snacks.

The interior looks modern as well as clean, and nice for any Asian fast food restaurant. Also, there is a good amount of booth seats and comfortable as well as spacious seating arrangements. When we walked in, the staff was friendly and there was Taiwanese pop music playing in the background. If anything, because the restaurant has two sides, it may be hard to get service for those seated on the side without the counter (like us, which we thought was fine).

The Taiwanese nuggets have a great flavourful five spice and peppery seasoning, but could have been saltier. However, the lightly battered and moist chicken tastes great, despite not being a fan of the skin still attached. Furthermore, the both of us prefer meatier pieces rather than sliced but the nuggets are fine.

We were hoping for the breaded and fried pork chop rather than one without a batter, but the meat tastes very tender and not dry at all. In addition, it is a good quality as well as thick pork chop, and a tasteful five spice and peppery flavour.

The first couple of dishes are not bad and the pork chop tastes great, but the streak ended with the beef noodles. The soup base does not even have a hint of a beef flavour, but there is a nice spiciness. Furthermore, the star anise flavour is overwhelming and there is a strong sweet herbal taste. The broth is pretty much weak and one of the worst.

As for the beef, there is a very good portion but the meat is quick boiled rather than braised and tastes dry as well as chewy. Actually, rock hard as well as stringy are better terms.

However, the noodles are perfectly cooked! The noodles have a nice pleasant chewiness and are neither mushy nor too hard. It is just a shame the broth is horrible as well as the beef. But, the spiciness is great. There is a nice spiciness from the use of chilli oil and red chilli, and the broth does not taste oily (despite tasting flavourless and sweet). Either way, the beef noodles are not recommended here.

Bringing us back up after the failure of the beef noodles, are the chive and pork dumplings.

The dumplings taste moist as well as juicy, and the skin does not stick together. As for the highlight, the sauce tastes great and is much better than a generic soy or black vinegar. The sauce consists of soy sauce, salt, green onion, chilli pepper and oil. Something so small such as adding extra ingredients to soy sauce, shows some effort was put in and the sauce tastes obviously great.

Arriving half way through our meal are the drinks. There is always someone who wants a watermelon slush and I always go with matcha, since I never prefer drinks and rather have something a bit more real than powdered flavours.

The watermelon slush has the natural flavour and is neither too sweet or icy. As for the matcha, the drink is well blended and the flavour is there. In addition, the pearls are perfectly cooked; soft as well as chewy with a hint of sweetness, and neither mushy nor powdery inside. Furthermore, I like how the drinks are actually served in a cup! I understand why many bubble tea joints serve drinks in to-go cups for the customers' convenience, but it is visually nice having a glass cup for once.

On a previous visit years ago, the stewed pork tasted rock hard, chewy as well as sweet; so of course I had to reorder the dish and see if it has improved. Starting with the sides, the carrot and corn is served hot and tastes fresh, as does the rice. In addition, the edamame beans are served hot and have a simple salt n' pepper seasoning.

Moving towards the highlight, the fatty cut tastes tender (of course) and the lean portion is only slightly chewy. The pork could have been braised a bit longer but the lean portion is not overly dry or chewy and is not that bad. Actually, the stewed pork is even better than a few Chinese restaurants I have been to. As for the sauce, it is very thin and could have been more thick. There is a supreme soy sauce base with a bit of brown sugar.

This is a country style vermicelli dish in Asia and is a favourite of my friend's, but the flavours are not here. There is a wet pool of water at the bottom of the plate and the dish tastes very bland. In addition, the meat as well as the vegetables are supposed to be pan fried and the heat was not high enough. Honestly, this tastes like a dried up vermicelli soup. Also, the vermicelli was not cut even once and it was impossible to grab the noodles without standing up.

Last to arrive and to end the dinner with another negative note, is the five spice beef in Chinese pancake. The pancakes are very doughy, chewy, mushy and soggy. Why the plural pancakes? Because rather than a green onion Chinese pancake which is what many would expect at a Taiwanese restaurant, Bubble World used three peking duck crepes! Why go to through the trouble of steaming three crepes then pan frying, rather than just serving a pan fried green onion pancake!

Asides from the really unappealing and actually off-putting crepes, the meat tastes very dry like beef jerky. Furthermore, the wrap tastes very salty as if the meat was dipped in soy sauce before wrapping (which is not the case). There is a heavier flavour of soy sauce than hoisin, and this is the worst beef wrap I have ever had.

TOTAL: $60.55 + TIP $7.45 = $68.00.

The highlights are the Taiwanese nuggets, pork chop, dumplings, stewed pork and the drinks, which are all average. As for the worst dish, it is definitely the the five spice beef in Chinese pancake and should be named "five spice beef in peking duck crepes" instead. How can a restaurant let alone a Taiwanese one, even serve that?! As for the service, the staff is friendly and despite no one coming to our other side of the restaurant, it was not a big deal because we did not need anything. All in all, Bubble World serves its purpose as a fast food restaurant and the drinks are good. Well cooked pearls too.

- Open late night
- Only bubble tea restaurant in New West
- Fried dishes are tasty
- Spacious and clean interior

- Beef wrap is gross (-5/5)
- Food is average and below average
- Hard to find staff for those who sit on the other side of the restaurant

- Ironically one of the dishes from a previous visit years ago, was not that bad this time around

Food: 2.5
Service: 2.5/5

Bubble World 大頭仔 on Urbanspoon

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...