Showing posts with label quick. Show all posts
Showing posts with label quick. Show all posts

GB Hand Pulled Noodles (Toronto)


Torontonians have an affinity for noodles. Whether it be pasta, pho, udon, or ramen; as soon as the weather gets cold, a hefty portion of the comforting carbs is something I yearn for. The new kid in town is the Lanzhou hand-pulled noodles. Chefs take a giant ball of dough and slam it onto a hard surface … fold, pull, and then repeat until it gets elastic and forms into long strands.


They’re then pulled to various levels of thickness. At GB Hand-Pulled Noodles, it ranges from super thin to extremely wide with five other options in between. Hearing people order before me, I decided on the medium wide, which is one notch under the widest side of the spectrum.

Visiting during a weekday lunch, the place already had a queue of ten at the door. But, the line moves fairly quickly since they have streamlined operations that would make many automated facilities proud. However, the waiting process is a bit haphazard given they don’t give out numbers – you just wait in line and remember who is before and after your table. Once you get near the front, they will ask for the number of guests and as a table is about to clear, you’re handed a laminated menu so you place your order before even being seated.

Within minutes of taking our seat the appetizer arrives. The Lanzhou spicy beef shank ($8.99) consisted of seven long slices of tender lean beef are tossed in a peppercorn laced chili oil, which looks fiery red but has a very mild heat. My coworker describes it perfectly – you taste the spice on your tongue but not in the throat.


Since we visited on a Friday, I ordered the braised beef tendon noodles ($13.99), a dish only available Friday-Sunday. Perhaps it was the first day of the weekend, but about a quarter of the pieces were still hard to bite through and didn’t offer that lovely chewy gelatinous texture. The smaller pieces were well braised and tasty.


Nonetheless, it really doesn’t matter as I was there for the carbs. GB’s noodles are one of the better options I’ve had in Ontario, the dough evenly pulled so even the medium wide noodles didn’t become chewy in the centre but mushy around the edges. Moreover, they stayed fairly chewy throughout the meal as it took me a while to attempt to get through the huge portion … alas, I had to just finish the beef and leave the noodles, a practice my parents have engrained in me as a child.

The broth itself was fairly simple and clear, most of the beefy flavours coming from the braised tendon liquids that get spooned into the bowl. Adding some of the chili oil at the table and it became a rich soup that went so nicely with the doughy strands. The bowl is finished off with blanched bok choy, turnip slices, and a sprinkling of scallions.

I love all the hot steaming bowls of noodle options we have across the city. With the cold weather descending upon us, I’ll be tucking into bowls of the stuff for weeks to come.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 66 Edward Street

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



GB Hand-Pulled Noodles Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tachi (Toronto)


Hidden behind a screen to the left of Shari is a stand-up sushi bar that promises freshly made sushi served in less than thirty minutes. The 12-piece omakase menu ($55 per person) changes depending on ingredient availability and like their sister restaurant Shoushin, is served piece-by-piece with condiments pre-added to ensure the sushi is eaten at the ideal temperature and flavour.


Interestingly, the meal started with hotate, a piece that historically is lightly torched and served at the halfway point. At Tachi, the scallop is left unsinged. Light and refreshing, it worked well as the first bite.   


The chef then presented us with grouper (habuku) with seaweed sandwiched between the fish and rice, which added a nice depth of flavour. Maybe it was due to our early reservation, but Tachi’s rice is warmer than most resulting in a creamier texture, which is balanced by vinegar. Their rice was perfectly seasoned.


Popular pieces that grace many omakase menus followed. First, the seabream (madai) a soft and meaty lighter fish. Followed by kanpachi, the fleshy fish is slightly fuller flavoured but still has a fresh clean texture.


During the middle of the meal the three tunas with varying fatty levels arrived: the akami was vibrantly coloured and flavourful; the chutoro builds in richness; and the otoro, which was leaner than some other restaurants, but still deliciously melt-in-your mouth.


After the flavourful otoro, it can sometimes be hard to find pieces that are equally rich. The smoked bonito or katsuo was a lovely choice, bits of green onions adding a refreshing bite.


The chef pounded the octopus (tako) with the back of a knife, so the seafood was well scored, tender, and as soon as it hit the mouth, the octopus’ flavours erupted onto the tongue.


Having had great experiences with horse mackerel or aji at Shoushin, we had to add it to the meal ($7 supplement). Like Shoushin, it was just as delicious… they seriously know how to prepare this gamier fish well.


If a piece of sushi could be refreshing and thirst quenching, the juicy salmon roe (ikura) would be the poster child. For those who are squeamish about fishy tastes, rest assured, the juices are salty and clean.  


The sea water eel (anago) was soft and sweet from the sugary glaze. It was a good alternative to dessert as surprisingly Tachi does not end off with a piece of tamago.


Instead, the last piece was a tasty tuna hand roll (temaki) with green onion mixed into the fish for even more flavour.   


Even though the meal was done in 25 minutes, both chefs took the time to have a conversation with us, keeping the experience warm and friendly (when it could have turned into a robotic task of making and eating sushi). A stand-up sushi meal is definitely something to experience, just bring some cash (for tipping) and make reservations to score one of the limited eight spots. 

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 111 Richmond Street West

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:




Tachi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

On Lee Noodle Soup 安利魚蛋粉麵 (Hong Kong)


Located by the Pacific Ocean, it’s no surprise that fishing was and still is a major industry for the city. With access to fresh seafood, fish balls are a traditional food item you have to try in Hong Kong. On Lee Noodle Soup is one restaurant, frequently touted by bloggers and travel sites, as a go-to location.

Opening at 9am, there was already a line on our Sunday visit. Don’t worry, they’re a large restaurant with a number of communal seat-yourself tables holding six, so the queue was easily accommodated. On Lee is a well-oiled machine, noodles were flying out in less than five minutes, each bowl finished with a big ladle of soup and generous sprinkling of green onions.


The two items with rice noodles ($40) offered a taste of different toppings. Their fish balls are particularly delicate compared to the doughy versions we find in North America. Each bite sized sphere having an airy consistency with a light springiness to the bite. While the ones in Toronto often have a strong fish taste, these ones are lightly flavoured, akin to a freshly steamed fish.


Similarly, the shrimp wontons were also delicately packed, the smaller shrimp barely cooked through, although somewhat flavourless. Compounded by a plain soup base, a spoon of chili oil was really required to help add taste. Luckily, the rice noodles resisted getting soft despite sitting in the soup for at least 10 minutes (the broth is piping hot so I had to proceed cautiously). Moreover, despite looking like a small portion, a fair amount of noodles were packed into the bowl.

On the other hand, their braised brisket ($34) was terrible, the beef very tough screaming for some marbling, especially the few pieces were weren’t cut against the grain. Nevertheless, the soup base was much tastier, having that beefy soy sauce flavour and the thin wonton noodles incorporating a lovely chewy texture without the alkaline bite.


Shau Kei Wan, the district the restaurant is located in, lies on the far east side of Hong Kong Island. Although it seems out of the way, hopping on the inexpensive trams will get you there in less than an hour, On Lee Noodle Soup a further 10-minute walk from the station. While I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit the restaurant, if you’re going to take a long tram ride, you might as well make it a stop in Shau Kei Wan.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Shau Kei Wan, Hong Kong
 Address: 22 Shau Kei Wan Main St E


Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



Yat Lok 一樂燒鵝 (Hong Kong)


Unlike my normal planned out itinerary, we went to Yat Lok simply because we happened to be in the area. I vaguely recalled the restaurant being notable for an achievement – awarded one Michelin star and a glowing recommendation from Anthony Boudain, as it turns out.

Everyone goes for the roast goose, so you’ll want to do a quarter or half order of it with a bowl of rice or noodles ordered separately. We made the mistake of simply ordering the roast goose with rice ($58) and it arrived with the undesirable upper quarter portion of the bird, the rib portion resulting in mostly skin and bones, since the meaty leg is left for the quarter orders.


Nevertheless, we could sample the glistening skin, as crispy as Peking duck, and taste the well marinated meat (from what little there was). It was good, I wanted more, and jealously eying the plump half orders everyone else had.

While the meat in the BBQ pork with rice ($58) could use more marbling, it was also thoroughly flavoured with a vibrant dark caramelized crust. Even the rice had enough of that lovely BBQ sweet soy sauce on it for interest.


The 1pm weekday visit meant we missed most of the lunch crowd, scoring one of the three empty tables. Regardless, the restaurant is packed with seats that are turned over quickly. Despite their accolades, you’ll get a cheap meal. Moreover, it’s one of the few Michelin starred places I could visit after hiking the Peak, slightly sweaty and with a patch of coffee spilt on my shirt, without feeling out of place.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Central, Hong Kong
 Address: 34-38 Stanley St. (Conwell House, ground floor)

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

Sushi Bong (Toronto)


If you live in the Yonge and Finch/Sheppard area, chances are you’ve heard about Sushi Bong, a small eatery that’s attached to the base a condo complex. To call it a restaurant would be a stretch, there’s three tables that could fit 10 people total so most customers will just get takeout. Online reviews generally credit the place for great food at cheap prices; I’ve been meaning to go for years but never made it in during their limited weekend hours. On a chance weekday lunch, the opportunity finally presented itself… an opportunity I wish never happened.

Being a first visit, I decided to “go big” with the Sushi Bong Special ($10.62), a dish that turned out to be a behemoth platter filled with a California roll, 4 pieces of salmon roll, and 5 pieces of sushi. The salmon looked a bit soft, but otherwise everything was presented nicely.


Then, I noticed a stack of boxes from a delivery that just occurred. On the bottom, sat two big boxes marked with ESCOLAR. If you don’t know why I have such an adverse reaction to seeing this word, pick up a copy of Larry Olmsted’s Real Food Fake Food, a must read for every food lover. Or you could just refer to Wikipedia that describes the escolar’s wax ester content, which can cause “fish poisoning” with symptoms ranging from “stomach cramps to rapid loose bowel movements, occurring 30 minutes to 36 hours following consumption.”


To make matters worse, they began unpacking the boxes of frozen fish, hoisting the vacuumed pack fillets on the table behind me. Aside from the queasy feeling in my stomach, I also felt the ominous chill escaping from the unpacked fish. I gulp down an entire cup of hot tea.

I managed to get down the California roll and a couple of pieces of the salmon roll, but had to leave the rest – especially the white fish that was sure to be escolar. There was a sense of guilt from wasting food and seeing them look over at my half-eaten plate, but I couldn’t do it - each bite became harder and harder to swallow.

In reality, how was it? The rice to toppings ratio, if you don’t factor in the quality of the toppings, is great. Sushi Bong’s California roll is much heartier than other restaurants, even incorporating a piece of salmon - in my case, more of disappointment than joy. While everything looks good, the fish tastes terrible – a soft spongy texture that’s a telltale sign of dethawed frozen fish. If it weren’t for the crunchy cucumbers in the California roll, the experience would be even worse.

In reading recent the online reviews, most people still comment on Sushi Bong’s big portions and low prices, both accurate descriptions. Just remember, there’s a reason for it, and that icy escolar chill is one that I won’t forget.  


Overall mark - 3 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 5 Northtown Way

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:

Sushi Bong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

M'Zaar (Toronto)


Finally! A place that serves shawarma without rendering the meat into a dry rubbery mess. M'Zaar’s chicken shawarma platter ($11.49 for a large) remains moist, perhaps from using a fattier cut (evident from the oil slick remaining on the plate). Where the dish lacks in healthiness it makes up with flavour, so tasty that I didn’t even need additional condiments except for a splash of hot sauce for heat.


Unlike other restaurants where the garlic sauce is fluffy and the consistency of frosting, M’Zaar’s is runnier and reminds me of a very garlicky baba ghannouj. Mixed into the huge mound of fragrant rice, along the with the chicken’s juices, it was a rich and filling meal. Thankfully, the platter does arrive with green salad and pickled vegetables to add some freshness to an otherwise heavy dish.

The baba ghannouj ($5.29) is silky smooth with a light roasted eggplant essence peeking through. I rather enjoyed the bits of tabouleh sprinkled over top to add a spark of flavour.  Served with a warm pita, the dip is a surprisingly hefty portion for the low price. Sharing the two dishes with a friend, we were more than satisfied and still had a bit leftover.


M’Zaar a laid-back small quick-service restaurant. It isn’t fancy and lacks air conditioning, so in the warmer months try to score a table by the door. Nonetheless, the owner/chef greets you warmly and their food is plentiful and delicious. Their chicken shawarma, from my past experiences, is one of the best I’ve tried. 


Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 668 Yonge Street

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



M'Zaar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kinton Ramen 5 (Toronto)



The newest Kinton Ramen location has just opened beside the first Kinka Izakaya (formerly Guu) … talk about coming full circle! In contrast to Kinton 1 on Baldwin and Kinton 4 in North York, the Church street restaurant is surrounded by windows giving the dining room an airy atmosphere and some turning heads as pedestrians walk by.

Its menu is identical to the other restaurants but there are some slight differences in the food’s preparation. For example, at Kinton 5 some pieces of their original karaage ($5.90) have the skin left on so that the deep fried chicken is even moister and an addition crackling crunch. Any flour coating the chicken is minimal making the appetizer lighter than the versions I’ve tried at Kinton 4 and Kinka.


Be careful when biting into the takoyaki ($4.50) … it’s HOT! As the steam settles, you can see the octopus pieces mixed into the glutinous dough of the deep fried nuggets. Its consistency is more fluid than you’d expect, but it’s not off putting and almost reminds me of a stickier deep fried turnip cake.


Having had a good experience with the spicy garlic pork noodles, I decided to try the other flavour amped offering: the spicy jalapeno chicken ramen ($11.90). The heat, stemming from the jalapeno paste, is subtle and plays peek-a-boo with the tongue; barely noticeable until the last moment the soup is swallowed.


The two slices of chicken breast weren’t overly flavourful but are tender having been cooked sous vide and goes well with the blanched diced white onions. Personally, I think the ramen should come standard with corn (an extra $1), which adds an additional punch of colour, its sweetness balancing the jalapeno and the crunch contrasting against the otherwise “soft” ingredients.

Adding on a seasoned egg ($1.50) is wise, it seems even more slowly cooked than the other locations, its yolk a molten jelly texture.


The silky chicken broth has a creamy quality without being oily so it’s a lighter meal – perfect for the warmer weather. And, it’s one of those bowls that’s easy to finish every last drop so that you too can become a Kinton Bowler and get a picture on their online wall of fame.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10
Disclaimer: The above meal was provided on a complimentary basis, but rest assured, as noted in the mission statement, I will provide an honest opinion.


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 396 Church Street

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


KINTON RAMEN 5 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato