Saturday, August 04, 2012

Beautiful Island 風信子


The restaurant on Kingsway I originally planned to dine at was closed, so I decided to visit Beautiful Island near Metrotown instead. Beautiful Island is an interesting name, but it's not related to the Chinese name 風信子 which means hyacinth.


The place was not hard to find at all. As we drove along Imperial, we came upon a large sign mounted on the side of the building. There was plenty of parking space in the back.


The menu was in magazine format.


Apart from the lists of food and drinks, there were several pages with some interesting info regarding popular Taiwanese eats.


I started the meal with a hot house special milk tea (風信子奶茶) ($3.50) which is a recommended signature drink. I can't even put my disappointment into words. It was an almost tasteless watery "tea" with a faint milky flavour. I think I could make something similar if I under-steep with a teabag and throw in some milk. I almost never send any food or drinks back since I try not to waste, but I was forced to return this because it was so bad that I could not imagine taking more than a few sips.


I figured I should stay away from the drinks, so I asked to substitute my milk tea with soya pudding instead. I thought it would be a safe bet since it was probably tofu straight out of the box with pearls. Well apparently not so. The tofu was not the smooth dessert type and the texture was somewhat grainy. The pearls were mostly in clumps, most likely because whoever boiled them did not bother stirring. And the flavour of the ginger syrup was so weak that it might as well have been brown water. But at least this was much better than the milk tea.


I knew the house special stewed pork belly with rice (東坡肉飯) ($7.95) would be a risky choice because not many places know how to make stewed pork belly well. The gelatinous skin and fatty layer were tender and tasty, but the lean part of the meat was very dry and hard.


The shredded pork with dry tofu with rice (香干肉絲飯) ($6.95) was pretty good and I think it was the only decent dish we had. The flavour was savoury, not too salty, and went very well with rice.


Personally I found the prawns with pineapple in mayonnaise with rice (鳳梨蝦球飯) ($7.95) a bit odd. First of all, I don't think mayonnaise fits in with Chinese cuisine. Secondly, the dish was served lukewarm. It was like a tepid prawn and fruit salad, but I think prawn should be served hot and pineapple should be served cold. Disregarding the temperature, the taste was acceptable I suppose.


Out of 3 entrees, 1 drink and 1 dessert, only the shredded pork with dry tofu was decent. Service was pretty much non-existent and we were mostly ignored. Nobody ever came over to refill our tea or asked if we enjoyed our food. And I actually did not get any tea because I ordered a drink and they just assumed I wouldn't be drinking tea. I do give them credit for letting me substitute my milk tea for soya pudding, but they just took the drink back, dumped it out and gave me the substitute without so much as an apology or an explanation as to why the drink was so bad. I don't think I'll be coming back here again.

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