Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Nine Dishes 九道

All You Can Eat? Nine Dishes? What kind of restaurant or buffet is this? These are some of the thoughts that run through my mind whenever I pass by the restaurant. When we entered, we were pointed towards a seat and a sheet of paper along with a pen were plopped on the table. We assumed the obvious and wrote down our order before proceeding to the counter, where we handed the sheet in. After the first dish arrived, we waited a while and noticed other tables with drinks, so we assumed we were supposed to order drinks at the counter and brought them back to our table.

Nine Dishes is one restaurant where service is truly non-existent, but at least the gentleman did not look miserable. He was not friendly either, just indifferent. As for the interior, the restaurant is really cold! I wanted to keep my jacket on but because it is a runway piece, I did not want it touching the table so placed it on a chair while hesitating at the same time because the furniture is not the cleanest. The cold temperature made sense throughout dinner however because every table ordered a Szechuan hot pot.

Rating: 4/5
Ohmygosh, the mouth watering chicken is a must order here! The fresh chicken is thinly sliced and tastes tender. As for the sauce which is what makes the dish, it tastes very flavourful. There is rich spiciness and  a mild numbing sensation from the Szechuan peppercorns. In addition, there is a strong tanginess from the vinegar. The sauce is full of flavour, the cilantro provides that refreshing taste, and the chicken is topped with peanuts.

Rating: 0/5
On the menu, this looked like a dry style hot pot and similar to Shun Xin's. But... not so much when the dish arrived. The plate includes seaweed, lotus root, mussels, spam, shrimp and ginger. All the ingredients are overcooked and taste very dry. There is also a medium level of spiciness and the dominate flavour is a chilli bean sauce but with an add soy bean paste texture. The lotus root is the worst of them all, including the rubbery mussel.

Rating: 2.5/5 (Chicken) 0/5 (Corn)
Deciding to sample some kebabs and ordering more if they turn out good, we chose the one chicken and a couple of corn. The chicken tastes tender and a bit moist, along with lots of flavour and char. However, the corn was the worst. The corn has been boiled the heck out of before barbecuing and tastes rubbery as well as sticky. When biting in, all the sticky niblets stuck to the front of my teeth. I took a photo of it, but it ain't pretty!

Rating: 1/5.
The wontons have a thin and soft skin, but the filling is not good. The pork tastes stiff and dry. As for the soup, it is a generic weak chicken broth and MSG laden. I am not against MSG, but the only flavour is literally MSG in the soup base.

Rating: 2.5/5
The eggplant kebabs are better than the corn, tasting tender with a brush of sweet barbecue sauce. There could have been some char and the barbecue sauce tastes fridge cold, but meh.

Remember my curiosity regarding the "all you can eat" portion of the restaurant? Well, turns out the rice is all you can eat! This is great for those who love rice and I am personally not a fan of paying $1.50/bowl, especially when having Indian cuisine (which costs more!). As for white rice at Chinese restaurants, meh… I cannot eat plain rice so the OCD in me did not care that the paddle is most likely filled with germs. By the way, thanks to those who posted about the self serve station for rice or we would not even have known!

TOTAL: $40.60 + TIP $4.40 = $45.00.

Nine Dishes was not our first choice and we impulsively ended up here (our original destination was actually the opposite of this calibre of restaurant!). From the atmosphere to the layout of the restaurant, Nine Dishes resembles the small and dinky eateries in the smallest villages of China, but with a flat screen television. As for the food, basically all the dishes we ordered excluding the chicken were not that great. But having said that, Nine Dishes may cater to those who are looking for late night munchies and to drink. Personally, I cannot get over how dirty the restaurant is including the table setting and this is coming from someone who thinks Sing Kee was the dirtiest Chinese restaurant. This is also a first for me where customers write down their order, bring the order to the counter, order drinks at the counter, grab the drinks from the counter, and pay at the counter. If the food tasted amazing though, I would not care about the non-existent service. With regards to the tip, I probably would not have tipped if we did not order the chicken because of the literally non-existent service and the below average food. The gentleman did not even say one word to us lol!

- All you can eat rice
- Great mouth watering chicken

- Service is non-existent
- Restroom is scary looking
- Uncomfortable atmosphere
- Not the cleanest restaurant
- Items we ordered are not good

- Nine Dishes may be know for their spicy items

Food: 1/5
Service: N/A

Nine Dishes 九道 on Urbanspoon

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