Friday, November 21, 2014

Rainflower Restaurant 粵之醉海鮮酒家

Rainflower Restaurant is located right next to Yao Han in Richmond. We have considered coming here a few times before but because I never knew of anyone who has been to the restaurant or heard much about it, I always assumed it was nothing special. I even thought perhaps the restaurant was a typical "ghetto" Chinese restaurant, like South Ocean Seafood. But since we were in the area after a trip to Osaka Supermarket, we decided to make a visit. Okay, fine, after shopping I did not want to go to Rainflower because of the aforementioned reasons. However, BF called to inquire about the seafood prices and when I heard the lobster was only $1.00… obviously I agreed LOL.

After we walked in, I was amazed! The interior looks amazing and I really like the Victorian style design. The seating arrangements are also comfortable as well as spacious, and I am a sucker for double plates and cloth napkins at a Chinese restaurant. In addition, there is a huge chandelier hanging in the middle of the restaurant.

The soft and bouncy cushioned chairs are very comfortable and Rainflower offers a few private rooms. Every table is also set with a white mini vase of faux flowers. I pretty much like everything about the interior including the empty restaurant. And classical as well as piano music was playing the background.

After seating, the service was very professional too. A waiter came by to remove the chopstick covers and a captain recommended a set menu for two. Personally, I do not like set menus because sometimes only $10.00-$15.00 dollars are being saved and I do not like the selection of dishes or usually the live seafood (if included) is smaller.

Rainflower offers a couple of snacks to start, including a salted dish consisting of baby minnow fish, tofu, red pepper and turnip, along with a side of fresh peanuts. The peanuts taste tender with a light salty flavour and are fairly fresh.

FIRST COURSE, Peking duck skin with crepe, hoisin, shredded green onion and cucumber.
Rating: 3/5.
The crepes are not served in a steamer and do not stick together at first, but begin to afterwards and the edges become very dry and hard. Furthermore, the crepes taste very doughy and too elastic which results in plenty of unnecessary chewing (although I know some people prefer that). Some of the crepes are also very thick too.

As for the peking duck, there is a nice light crispy skin and some of the pieces have meat attached. The meat tastes very tender and the fat is well rendered. Something we found odd is that the hoisin is watered down and we are not sure why. If in Richmond, I still prefer Imperial Court Beijing's peking duck skin. The one here is not bad though, but I dislike the crepes.

Rating: 2.5/5.
We ordered a cream and butter sauce lobster instead of the supreme broth, but meh, it is only $1.00. The lobster is perfectly cooked where it exhibits a nice bounce and the meat has that natural sweetness. In addition, there is lots of garlic which does not overwhelm the broth and a hint of sweetness. After a while though, the broth started to taste salty. The broth also has more starch compared to other restaurants' so the sauce is thicker, but it is not too thick where it dries up fast. There is also a lack of richness compared to other supreme broths.

Rating: 3.5/5.
The crab claw has a light crisp coating and there is plenty of bouncy shrimp paste. Rainflower also uses dungeness crab claws over snow crab which I prefer.

Rating: 3.5/5.
In Vancouver, Cindy's Palace is known for their spareribs in pumpkin dish which I find only average. I have only tried the dish a few times before too and find it unique, but nothing special. In this case however, Rainflower makes a great one.

The spareribs are very tender and literally fall of the bone, which is a first for me. Every. Single. Piece. Furthermore, the pumpkin is mashed up, tastes creamy, and all the juices from the spareribs are fused with the mashed pumpkin. The black bean sauce also tastes very light and is not too salty.

PEKING DUCK SECOND COURSE, Roasted duck bones with vegetables in soup.
Rating: 3.5/5.
The peking duck soup tastes very rich and better than other high end restaurants', including Kirin and Red Star. There is a rich duck broth along with a mustard green vegetable taste, and the flavours from the tofu and vegetables are actually in the soup. Rainflower's peking duck soup is not a quick two minute boil like what most restaurants do. The restaurant also uses some Chinese mushroom too.

PEKING DUCK THIRD COURSE, Minced duck meat with lettuce wraps.
Rating: 2.5/5.
The duck meat is served in a traditional Cantonese style, where the meat is finely diced. On top of that, the lettuce wrap filling also includes diced water chestnut, carrot, and fried vermicelli which provides some crunchiness throughout the dish. But because the duck meat is finely diced, the mixture tastes too crunchy and overwhelms the soft meat. There is a nice smoky flavour though, but the duck does not taste juicy. The hoisin sauce is not watered down too, compared to the one provided with the duck skin.

Rating: 2.5/5.
The red bean soup is very watery but surprisingly does not taste bland. There is a light red bean flavour along with mandarin peel and rock sugar.

Rating: 2.5/5.
Like many "higher end" Chinese restaurants, cookies are also provided along with the dessert soup. The Chinese almond cookies taste very buttery and crumbles in the mouth. There is also an actual almond flavour and the cookie is topped with  "bo luo", which is a very tasty (and fattening) topping that is used on Chinese buns to resemble the look of a pineapple. At first I was sad the cookies were not heated, but the bo luo definitely make up for that. As for the sesame ball cookies, there is plenty of sesame flavour and the cookie melts in the mouth as well.

TOTAL: $84.75 + TIP $15.25 = $100.00.

The food overall exceeded my expectations and majority of the dishes are above average. Moreover, I really like the interior. However, towards the back of the restaurant and on the way to the washrooms, there is a very heavy smell of cigarette smoke. The washroom does not match the interior and is not clean either. As for the service, what happened? There were at least five staff on the floor and as soon as the restaurant had four seated tables, it was impossible to wave someone down. In addition, the food arrived very fast, was rushed, and we had to juggle plates ourselves so everything could fit on the table because a large party of fifteen came in shortly after our arrival. I cannot imagine what the service would be like at only a half full occupancy.

- Honest promotion
- Above average food
- Nice atmosphere
- Comfortable seating arrangements

- Higher priced dishes
- What happened to the service?

- $1.00 lobster promotion requires a purchase of $68.00 excluding live seafood, which is a great deal for those in Richmond!

Food: 3/5
Service: 2.5/5

Rainflower Restaurant 粵之醉海鮮酒家 on Urbanspoon

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