Friday, 8 November 2013

Parklane Chinese Restaurant 百樂潮州酒家: Set Dinner for Six

We had such a great first experience at Parklane Chinese Restaurant, we made a reservation for a Sunday night to celebrate Thanksgiving and my grandmother's birthday here. 

Upon arrival, we were seated promptly at one of the large circular tables in one of the room sections of the restaurant. Being adjacent to the large windows, the natural lighting was plentiful and pleasant, at least while it lasted. The white tablecloths are clean and the settings are organized. It's one of the more upscale types of Chinese restaurants, the types that provide you with those addicting salted roasted peanuts at the table. I kinda ate them all...

Like our last visit, we chose to order from the selection of set menus. Please refer to my first post for a photo of the set menu with prices. This time, we got the Set Menu Dinner for Six Person (A). Many of the items are the same as the Set Menu Dinner for Four (A) that we tried last time. So again, my first post will have photos and thoughts of those dishes. Today, I will just go over the items that are unique to the six person menus.

Chiu Chow Marinated Platter

To begin, the appetizer plate consists of a selection of marinated items. Moving clockwise from the top we have tofu, intestine, cuttlefish (squid), pork belly, and then duck wings in the centre. I didn't try everything but from what I did try, the tofu is my favourite. It's super smooth and soaks up all the savoury marinade. Just so you are aware, everything except for the squid is marinated in the same sauce. Or at least it tasted the same to me. The cuttlefish was rather bland and way to chewy for my liking, and I really like chewy foods. I ended up dunking it into the vinegar that accompanies the marinated food. My parents managed to trick my brother into eating the intestine, saying that it was 'sausage'. -evil sibling grin- Hey, he said it tasted good. I'll pass.

The downside to this platter is that the tofu and duck wings are part of two dishes on the set menu. It is exactly the same as the marinated duck; then again, there is an option to choose chicken instead of duck. Overall, I wasn't impressed with this appetizer platter.  

I don't have a photo for the Pepper Pig Stomach & Salted Vegetable Soup, but I can definitely tell you about it. This is a broth-y soup that has an extremely heavy white pepper flavour. (That's good, if you enjoy ground pepper like me.) It's very warming to the body so it'd be wonderful on colder days. I let my grandpa enjoy the pig stomach; apparently it's not commonly found in restaurants anymore, making it a real 'treat' for the adults. This pepper-y soup was a great way to begin the meal. If the words 'pig stomach' deter you from trying this soup, the alternate soup choice is the more thick, goopey-type-soup Chicken & Fish Maw one, which I reviewed in the first post. Both soups are very different from each other and have their own good aspects and components. However, if I was forced into choosing one, I'd pick fish stomach over pig stomach, haha! 

(Front) BBQ Ribs with Plum Sauce & (Back) Stir Fried Gai Lan with Dried Sole and Fish Filet
In the six person menu, BBQ Ribs with Plum Sauce replace the Honey Garlic Pork Ribs. These barbequed ribs are of a much larger cut than their honey garlic relative. Although fried just as crispy and smothered in the perfect ratio of sauce, I prefer the honey garlic ribs. I couldn't really taste the plum in the sauce and the meat was not as tender and fall-off-the-bone as I remember the honey garlic ribs to be. I must've picked the 'bad' pieces because almost every piece I ate were very fatty. For easier-to-eat and a more umami flavour, go for the honey garlic ribs. Even as a person who tries to avoid meat and doesn't really favour pork, I could chow down piece after piece of those.

The veggie dish of the set menu is gai lan with fish! This was simply seasoned and helped to clear the palate between eating all the heavy and greasy dishes. (It's kind of impossible to avoid fat in Chinese cuisine as everything is either stir-fried or deep-fried or just laden to fat for flavour.) The fish filets were very moist and flaky, delicious! I have no complaints about this dish, except that the serving could be just a tad but more generous because I inhale vegetables like I breathe air. 

The oyster omelette, fried rice with olive leaves, marinaded duck, and dessert were all the same as last time. In addition, the quality and execution of the items were on par in comparison to my last visit a month before. There are items in the six person menu that weren't really worth eating, such as the appetizer platter and plum sauce ribs, so I think ordering a four person menu and adding a few more dishes from their regular menu would be a better deal. Oh, we were not given the tiny teacups of bitter tea at the end of our meal, not that we remembered at the end because we were so stuffed. My mom said she doesn't think any of the other tables received it either, so I'm not sure if it is just an occasional extra thing they give. The tea is supposed to help with the digestion of all the fatty food just eaten.

Both my grandparents were extremely satisfied with the night's dinner. My grandpa is a considerably picky eater, and one without much teeth, so that says quite a bit. My grandma shocked us all by saying that we should come back again the next Saturday. Being so full with all this delicious Chiu Chow food, I wasn't too sure if that was the greatest idea. Having said that, I can confidently say that it is totally worth the drive to Richmond to experience Chiu Chow cuisine at Parklane. Be sure to get the oyster omelette!

Love from Coconut Crumpet's Corner ♡

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