Thursday, August 7, 2014

Estea Beverage Club 生活小品 : Burnaby location

Continuing with my interest in finding a regular bubble tea joint to frequently visit, Estea Beverage Club was next on my list to try. There used to be a couple of other Estea locations in Burquitlam as well as Richmond, and both the restaurants have closed. The only Estea locations that appear to be surviving is the restaurant in Burnaby and an "express" location at the Aberdeen food court.

Walking in from the back, we seemed to have startled the owners and the wife immediately walked up to greet us. She was friendly and passed us off to the rest of the staff, where the rest of them greeted us as well.

Estea is a very large restaurant and is the largest bubble tea joint that I know of. There are plenty of seats and the seating arrangements are not cramped at all.

Unlike other bubble tea joints that I have visited, the drinks are the first to arrive which I prefer. Both the drinks are well blended, not watered down or too sweet.

Spicy beef noodles are not an option but chilli sauce is available if requested. The soup base has a hint of beef broth along with a light taste of soy sauce and oil. Having said that, there is absolutely no flavour. As for the beef, the meat tastes stringy as well as chewy and similar to the broth, flavourless. In addition, the portion of meat is less compared to similar restaurants but in this case, it is not a big deal because the beef really sucks.

As for the noodles, they are nicely cooked with a pleasant chewiness and the restaurant uses the proper kind. However, opening a packet of Taiwanese instant noodles, a can of beef broth and throwing in half a slice of Shanghai bok choy along with preserved vegetables and pre-cooked brisket from whatever dish, is not Taiwanese beef noodles.

The nuggets taste crisp with juicy meat, and have a great peppery seasoning as well as a five spice flavour. The popcorn chicken tastes a lot better than Pearl House's.

BEEF WRAP ($6.25).
The pancake tastes slightly dry but there is plenty of hoisin sauce which provides some moisture. However, there is a also a bit too much sauce which makes the beef wrap taste overly sweet. As for the slices of beef, there is not much and the sauce overwhelms the flavour. Despite the sweetness, the beef wrap is not that bad because the meat does not taste extremely dry or too chewy.

The dumplings taste moist as well as generic, and the skin does not stick together. As for the sauce, there is a nice soy flavour along with a hint of ginger and green onion.


Whenever going for the pork chops, I always ask if is the Taiwanese style (breaded and fried) and most of the time, the answer is yes but what is received is not. Fortunatley in this case, the pork chop is indeed the Taiwanese variation. 
However, the pork chop is slightly under fried and the breading is very soft as well as slightly soggy, with no nice crunch. Perhaps because the pork chop is very thin and if over-fried, it will turn into flour? Regardless, the pork chop is extremely thin and it is a cheap move from the restaurant. As for the taste, the meat does taste moist but the slightly soggy batter ruins the pork chop. Furthermore, the side of watermelon skin is a bit… weird. Why would a restaurant serve that?

The marinated selection consists of bean curd, wings, egg, seaweed and fish cakes. The egg tastes generic, neither plastic nor hard which has happened before. As for the wings, moist with a soy sauce base. Up last, another somewhat memorable item is the seaweed, consisting of an oyster, chilli and soy sauce base. The seaweed tastes slightly salty and spicy, with a soft crunch.

TOTAL: $52.50 + TIP: $7.50 = $60.00

Overall, Estea is another bubble tea joint that offers fast food. The highlights are the well blended drinks, generic dumplings and the Taiwanese nuggets. As for the disappointments, the braised beef noodles are one of the worst we ever had. However, we rather have a bland broth than a sickly sweet one like Corner 23's.

- Open late night
- Staff tries to be friendly (everyone says hello and bye)
- Prices are slightly cheaper than comparable bubble tea joints
- Taiwanese nuggets (3/5)

- Fast food
- Food barley squeaks by
- Beef noodles (0/5)

Food: 2/5
Service: 2.5/5

Estea Beverage Club 生活小品 on Urbanspoon

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