Saturday, December 6, 2014

Maji Restaurant 麻吉台式熱炒

After waiting an hour and a half for Maji to open and suffering the consequences of grabbing a snack at R&H House in Lansdowne, we finally arrived! The Taiwanese tapas restaurant is located on Alexandra Road in Richmond and their hours run from 5:30pm-12:00am (open later on weekends). Maji has been on my list for a while because I have been wanting to try something different such as a restaurant that does not offer live seafood. Moreover, a restaurant that offers reasonable prices which is hard to find in Richmond when HK Style Cafes and Bubble Tea restaurants are excluded.

However, I was hesitant on trying Maji because being Taiwanese, I am more selective towards the cuisine. Okay, fine, I am very selective towards any cuisine… I really do not know why. When looking from the outside of the building, the restaurant does not even look that big so we were surprised upon entering. Furthermore, the interior looks fairly nice. The seating arrangements are not tight either and even the washroom was very clean.

GARLIC TOSSED EGGPLANT SALAD, "Chopped eggplant tossed with garlic and cilantro, dressed in soy sauce" ($6.25).
Rating: 3/5.
The slices of eggplant have a light crisp exterior and tastes soft as well as tender, which is not to be confused with mushy. In addition, there is a light sweet soy flavour along with a hint of chilli. With regards to the garlic, there could have been more because the flavour tasted too light.

Rating: 2.5/5.
Our original choices of soup were the Chinese Yam Chicken and a Braised Sparerib, but the restaurant was sold out of the Chinese Yam Chicken (despite arriving during opening) and our waitress did not recommend the Braised Sparerib. When we further inquired about other soup options, our friendly waitress recommended a "Mushroom with Chicken" soup. The soup has a rich chicken broth along with a light herbal flavour and includes Goji, red dates and Chinese mushroom. However, despite "Angelica Chicken Soup" printed on the receipt, the restaurant does not actually use silkie.

SPICY SHRIMPS, "Pan fried shrimp stir fried with black pepper, dried chilli and Sichuan pepper, garnished with cilantro" ($10.99).
Rating: 2.5/5.
Every time I order a prawn or shrimp dish that includes dried chilli and Szechuan pepper, I always expect something like Shun Xin's dry hot pot (which never happens). The shrimps taste spicy but are tolerable and have that nice caramelized flavour on the shells. Furthermore, the slightly butterflied shrimp are just cooked and taste juicy.

As for the sauce, it is very "saucy" and has a strong bitter spiciness from the black pepper rather than that rich and flavourful spiciness from the Szechuan peppers.

SHRIMP AND PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE, "Fried rice with shrimp, pineapple, and egg" ($9.25).
Rating: 3/5.
The ingredients in the fried rice are properly fused together and exhibit a good wok heat, where there is char throughout every bite. In addition, the bouncy prawns are just cooked and have a nice snap, while the pineapples have a nice caramelized flavour.

CHICKEN WITH CHILLI SAUCE, "Steamed boneless chicken leg marinated in chilli oil and seasoned with white sesame" ($8.99).
Rating: 1.5/5.
When the "mouth watering chicken" arrived, it looked different than the Szechuan variation and we confirmed with our waitress if this was the correct dish. Our waitress mentioned that Maji's variation is different than other restaurants', genuinely apologized, and asked if the chicken was still okay (how nice of her right?). However, the chicken overall is sloppy and unappetizing. Basically this is poached dark meat with the skin attached and topped with a mix of peanut sauce, chilli oil and sesame seed. Moreover, the skin is loose and slimy rather than tight and smooth, but the meat tastes tender (it is dark meat). If the chicken was prepared differently and the skin was removed, the dish may have tasted better. Furthermore, the description on the menu is misleading because there is no mentioning of a peanut sauce.

TOTAL: $45.15 + TIP $53.00 = $7.85.

We may have ordered the "wrong" dishes at Maji because I have heard the restaurant is known for their fried food. But regardless, considering Maji's nice selection of Taiwan beer along with their late night hours, the restaurant caters to those who are looking to drink and share a few dishes. As for the service, an older waitress with glasses took our order and delivered a few of the dishes. She was genuinely friendly and at the end of dinner, apologized again about the chicken dish when she noticed it was practically untouched. As for the other staff, pretty much all of them were forgetful and inattentive.

- Open late night
- Clean and nice looking interior
- Our original waitress is genuinely friendly

- Food is average
- Good luck with parking
- Forgetful and inattentive staff

Food: 2.5/5
Service: 2.5/5 

Maji Restaurant 麻吉台式熱炒 on Urbanspoon

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