Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Double Double Restaurant 老油條大牌檔

Not feeling live seafood, Taiwanese food or HK style cafes, my options for Chinese food in Richmond were fairly limited. Our original dinner destination was Chef Tony but I wanted something very simple and to get home soon, so Double Double it was. From what I have heard, a friend mentioned the food is "okay" for those in the area but his wife dislikes the restaurant because she finds it dirty. Another incident occurred months ago when after finishing dinner at Bushuair, I shared an elevator with a couple that mentioned the food is mediocre and did not recommend the restaurant. Meh, so we walked in with expectations of average food.

Double Double claims to be the most popular restaurant in Vancouver for Chinese donuts and I was surprised that no one mentioned that! The restaurant is larger than what I expected and there are booth seating arrangements as well as tables for larger parties in the middle. In addition, the restaurant is not really dirty asides from the table setting that should have been clean. Every bowl and spoon had dried food residue stuck on and even the napkins had dried up tea, it was weird.

Walking in, a waitress waved us to take a seat on the side and we waited literally fifteen minutes for the menu. The wait time was a bit ridiculous because there were five waitresses at the front, but I assume the staff already thought someone brought over the menus. As more time passed, our drinks were forgotten but a waitress was friendly when she reminded herself in Cantonese, "Oh no! I forgot the drinks" twenty minutes later.

HAND MADE STEAMED RICE ROLL, Crispy Chinese donut wrapped in rice roll ($4.75).
Since the restaurant is known for their rice rolls and Chinese donuts, we had to order this! I am shocked the restaurant actually serves a whole Chinese donut too because it is the first for me. The rice noodle tastes fresh, warm, soft and made to order. As for the Chinese donut, it tastes soft and not too old. However, I would have preferred a freshly fried Chinese donut only because the restaurant claims to be famous in Vancouver for them and I like that light crispiness. Although to be fair, it is understandable because some people may not want to wait the extra minutes for the donut to cool down before it can be wrapped… I guess. Meh, the cold donut did not bother me because I do not know many places that even offer rice rolls or Chinese donuts during dinner time!

The congee looks creamy and milky, but there is an odd sour flavour. After digging through the congee, turns out the sour flavour is from the preserved egg that had gone bad. What is worse is that the kitchen tried covering it up by removing the yolk and still used the egg white!

Blah, so we waved down a waitress and told her about the issue. After her lecture that preserved eggs have a unique taste, we had to speak in Chinese for her to understand the meaning of "the preserved egg went bad" and she had no problems taking the congee back.

The large butterflied prawns have a crisp exterior and tastes meaty as well as juicy. There is a light salted yolk flavour and the seasoning does not taste too salty which happens more often than not. However, only a few prawns were deveined! I find it very unappealing and lazy for the cook to not bother deveining all the prawns, considering the larger size.

The soup includes a couple of large wontons along with dumplings and have a light flavour but no broth taste. There is a hint of sweetness and the soup is not aggressively seasoned with salt or MSG. As for the slices of gai lan, the vegetable tastes tender and is easy to chew while retaining that soft crunch.

Beginning with the dumplings, there is a soft crunch from the wood ear mushrooms and includes three bouncy shrimps. As for the wontons, there are three small shrimps as well which taste bouncy. Both the dumplings and wontons are well seasoned and the skin is silky soft.

We were disappointed when the dish arrived because this is not napa cabbage and is just generic cabbage. The menu even stated in Chinese it was napa cabbage! Furthermore, the restaurant uses dry salted shredded pork instead of thin slices of salted pork belly. I do not like it when Chinese restaurants make pork the lazy way; pre shred and use to order for every single dish that requires pork. This is a stupid shortcut for something that does not require a shortcut. Regardless of the aforementioned issues, the cabbage has a soft crunch and a nice stir fried oil flavour. The pork tastes dry as well as chewy though, similar to the meat in the congee because it is the same cut.

The new order of congee arrived without the garnishes of green onion or salted peanut, but meh. There is a nice ginger flavour in the congee but the creamy consistency is not from slow cooking. The creaminess in the congee is from the use of congee powder so we left it behind. I do not understand why the restaurant would bother with congee powder just to get that smoother and creamier consistency. I hate congee powder because it leaves a sticky taste in the mouth and is just disgusting. However, the sourness was not here this time around because the kitchen did not use a bad preserved egg.

TOTAL: $49.10 + TIP: $6.90 = $56.00.

Double Double is a decent restaurant and the food is average, but I prefer a Chinese restaurants that do not use shortcuts. The dumplings along with the wontons are not bad though and the restaurant is one of the few that offers Chinese donuts after late lunch. As for the service, the staff was slow in the beginning but are actually friendly.

- Friendly staff
- Large restaurant
- Open late night
- Fresh rice rolls

- Bowls, spoons and napkins are dirty
- Too many short cuts (spoiled preserved egg, congee powder, pre sliced pork, not deveining prawns)
- Chinese donut is not fresh considering they claim to popular for that

Food: 2.5/5
Service: 2.5/5

Double Double Restaurant 老油條大牌檔 on Urbanspoon

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