October 19, 2010 | | Comments 18

Revisiting Amigo Restaurant on Alexandra Road, Richmond

This blog post is about setting the records right.

Boy, were we sorry about what we wrote three weeks ago about the Amigo Restaurant. This is one restaurant that had hardly attracted much publicity on the internet, at least not in the English websites. With a name like Amigo, we did not think much of them.

Well, our first visit to the Amigo restaurant was less than favorable because we went at the hour when they were about to close. Their choice on the late night menu was pitiful and the food was totally underwhelming. See the pictures above and you’ll probably understand what I meant.

When that post went up, immediately there were a number of comments pointing out that there are some great and unique dishes that Amigo serves. And indeed, there was!

We decided to give Amigo another try. This time we went for lunch and were armed with a list of dishes that our readers recommended.

And we had to prep Arkensen that this time he simply had to trust the list and not get his own dish. Surprisingly he agreed. I guess he was not in the mood to eat out and just wanted to get home quick — back to his online games. I know he is missing his younger brother who is away at a camp. That’s why he was kind of quiet that day … not saying much at all.

Going to the restaurant at late night and during lunch hours is, well, like night and day. We did not expect that this place is so full. We did not expect to be asked if we had reservations when we walked in. We definitely did not expect to wait 10 minutes for a table.

It seems like many people does actually call in for a reservation before showing up. I have not come across many HK Style Cafe where people call ahead for reservation. At least for us, we don’t.

Service was at a frantic pace here. The waitresses were practically running all over the place. We had no problem getting what we needed. They even came by every now and then asking if everything is OK — not something you see much in a HK Style Cafe.

I only took a picture of the “Chef Special” as this is the one that is the most interesting. You may click on the above to show it in a large image.

If you notice, the prices are not cheap. Anything more than $12 is considered expensive for a HK Style Cafe. Yet, the cheapest item on the Chef Special is $16. Each of the Chef’s Specials comes with soup, garlic toast and drink.

The Lunch Special is more reasonable but still … $10 for a Lunch Special is rather high, right?

Yeah and yet I see so many people in this restaurant. At this prices, this had better be good, I told Suanne.

I am going to describe the meal out of turn. I hope I don’t confuse you.

We ordered two items from the Chef’s Special menu. This came with a choice of soup. Suanne and I thought that the Lobster Chowder was interesting but we never believe it is anything but lobster. Yeah, we came to expect that HK Style Cafes sometimes would name their dishes like Lobster Chowder just because they put in some lobster flavouring or something.

We were quite surprised when we saw it. It looked very good and it tasted very good too.

It was creamy and has a nice seafood flavour. There are bits of meat in it. We still can’t believe it is lobster meat here but it sure tasted like it with the right texture. We thought it could be prawns but the longer we looked at it, the more it looked like lobster. Maybe it is not lobster but I just believe if it is.

But it does taste really good. Get this one. You will like it.

The other soup we had was the HK Style Russian Borscht Soup. While not as exciting as the Lobster Chowder, this one had a nice intense tomato flavour. It was a good start to the meal. Just having the soup alone, made us think that perhaps this is why the restaurant is so busy. Their food is good.

The garlic toast is pillowy soft … not toasty at all. It is also lightly flavoured which we thought should have more garlic spread on it. The only good thing about it is the softness which is unexpected.

Both Elaine and EDC commented that we have to try their African Cajun Chicken. We looked high and low for the “African Chicken” on the menu but we couldn’t find it. It turns out that it is called … the Blackend Cajun Chicken Legs with Spiced Tomato Cream Sauce ($16) on their menu. “African Chicken” is the Chinese name of this dish. Weird … I wonder why the Chinese call this African Chicken.

OMG. Elaine and EDC is right, this is awesome. The chicken is pan-fried very well with crispy skin attached. The meat is soft and cooked just right and yet the skin is crisp.

The sauce is delicious and it was what made this dish unique so good. They also made the spaghetti very well. You can chose spaghetti or rice but I think spaghetti is much better.

The other item from the Chef’s Special we ordered was the Charbroiled (Prime grade) Rib Eye Steak with Black Peppercorn Demi. This is $24.

It came with deep fried potato puff which was kind of a put off for us. For $24, I thought we should have better, like nice fries.

The steak is 8 oz, a good size but too thin for my preference. I like tall thicker ones. We asked for it to be made medium rare and it was. They do make decent steaks but I had better ones … I had better ones that costs $24 for sure.

Cici told us that people on Chinese forums was saying that Amigo’s Fried Rice Noodle with Sliced Beef ($11) is the best in town. Cici said that the chef managed to get the “wok hey” and the soy sauce right … the same way that they do that in Hong Kong.

It sure was. It was really hot when served and I am not surprised if people say that this is the best there is in town. You have to try this to see what I mean. Just look at it.

It is expensive though.

We did not know that it even included free desserts. This is really good. The crepe is silky smooth which makes this so good. In it is just banana and is topped with just whipped cream. But this really scores for us.

Since we have 3 people at the table and only two of the dishes come with the free dessert, one of the waitress asked us if we want another dessert. She noticed that Arkensen was not having a dessert. We were quite pleased and thought it was very considerate of them. However, since Arkensen is not a fan of sweet stuff, we declined.

The HK style milk tea was good too. It has strong black tea flavour.

It was over $50 for just the three of us. For a HK Style cafe, it is expensive. The food is pretty good and we found new respect for this restaurant. If you go, you should try their African Chicken.

Amigo Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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  1. Elaine says:

    Ben! That’s why me and my friends only go for their afternoon/late-night special, where the African chicken is like under $10!

    • Elaine says:

      And I *think* I just saw on my friend’s picture that they have this puff pastry soup that looks really good as well! I am going to try that next time!

  2. I’ve only been here once (maybe 8 years ago) and I remember not being too impressed. In any case, this is certainly worth a look-see again. Lately, it seems we’ve been eating more at HK-style cafes, after a long, long time away from them. Putting this back on our radar. . .thanks!

  3. 4SlicesofCheese says:

    You must try the African Cajun Chicken from Cattle Cafe!

  4. Joe says:

    Ben,

    African Chicken is a dish from Macau, which was a Portuguese colony for a long time. The dish was conceived in the 1940s by a hotel chef named Americo Angelo, inspired by other Portuguese colonies in Africa. The chef moved to the famous Lisboa hotel in Macau, but died in the late 70s/early 80s and never devulged the entire original recipe.

    There should be a Wall Street Journal article online about it that you can find easily.

    J.

    • Ben says:

      Hey Joe:
      Been a while … how’s things going for ya these days? Thanks for the primer on the African Chicken. It is certainly interesting story about it and it was easy to google it. Like you said it was on the WSJ. Here is the link, everyone … http://goo.gl/ITw7
      Ben

  5. Yes, sometimes you do have to try a place multiple times in order to get a good feel for how it really is. I am glad this experience was better than the first! And free dessert is always a huge plus!!

    Also, thanks for comment, my husband and I consulted Chow Times quite a lot for our visit to Canada! We ended up going to Sun Sui Wah for the King Crab, which was amazing! I hope you try them soon, though they are pricey. We loved Canada and its beauty. (And Richmond for its Chinese food!) We will definitely visit again, but when the CDN is lower than the USD–it was higher when we went!

    • Ben says:

      Hi Passionate Eater: Whoa. Long Crab is pricey this time of the year. Wait till it is in season next year and you can eat all you want here. Lots of restaurant does that. Glad you enjoyed Canada (and Richmond’s Chinese food!). Yeah, I had been following your blog for a long time already … still am! Ben

  6. Lily says:

    Hi Ben,
    I wonder what the relationship this Amigo Restaurant in Richmond has with the original Amigo Restaurant in Happy Valley in Hong Kong. It has the same name (Chinese and English) and the same sun logo. Amigo (HK) is a high-end restaurant serving French cuisine, see the link http://www.amigo.com.hk/e_index_food.htm, in the heart of Hong Kong Island, while Amigo (Richmond) is a high-end “cha chan teng”. IMHO the prices they both charge are expensive for the food they serve. While I’ve not been to Amigo (Richmond), I have been to Amigo (HK) several years ago. I will share my experience with you and the rest of the diners on Friday. The Amigo Restaurant in Richmond couldn’t have outright stolen the name and trademark, but I would be curious as to the relationship between the two.

    • Ben says:

      Hi Lily: I would certainly look forward to hearing about HK’s Amigo at the Luda dinner this Friday. You are right … even the logo looked uncannily similar. Ben.

  7. HM says:

    Interesting to read your 2nd blog on Amigo. They have been in that location since the mall was built in the early 90s. Did you know that Bauhinia Restaurant (that used to be on Saba Rd, now on Granville/St. Albans) also belongs to the same group of people? Their type of food is relatively similar, more upscale than the regular HK style Cafe. BTW, I think African Chicken is a Macaunese culinary delight.

  8. Crispy Lechon says:

    I went to Amigo to try their african spiced chicken. Boy it was really good. The skin was very crispy although it wasnt battered. The meat is tender and very flavourful. The creamy sauce that came with it is also very very good. I went there in the early afternoon so I took advantage of their afternoon/late night special menu. The african chicken with rice is only 7 dollars with a drink. I would definitely go back there but will stick to their afternoon/late dinner specials.

    • Ben says:

      Hi Crispy:

      Amigo is good, right? I really think everyone should try the African Chicken. It is one of a kind in town. There are other places who does almost the same thing but none does it the same as Amigo’s. The chicken is cooked just right, soft and tender and juicy and not overcooked … and the skin is just marvelous. The sauce too is one of a kind. The sauce scores for me … it is just great with anything — slater on the chicken, as a sauce for rice, as a sauce for noodles, as an additional sauce for soup noodles … or even lap it up just like that –> it works.

      Hey, I got a great NEW place in Richmond to write about on Monday. Stay tuned because you WILL like it. It’s small, it’s humble, it’s mom-and-pop, it’s cheap, it’s super delicious, it’s friendly, it’s near us, it’s cheap, it’s a lot of food, it’s great value >> I am really really sure you will love it and a lot of people will love it too!

      Ben

  9. Crispy Lechon says:

    Hi Ben, I just love the sauce of that african chicken. The description says its tomato cream sauce but it doesnt taste tomatoey at all. I like it a lot. Im sure its also good with spaghetti. Their afternoon special is just served with rice. Next time I go there I will ask for extra sauce.

    Hey, cant wait for your Monday’s post. You said its delicious and you mentioned cheap twice. My kind of food. LOL. Any hint as to what type of cuisine is it?

  10. Stephen says:

    This is one of the best Hong Kong style cafe, unlike what you claimed with your previous visit.

  11. Richard says:

    This place is a good Hong Kong style cafe. I don’t understand why the author regards anything above $12 to be expensive at a Hong Kong style cafe.
    High class Hong Kong style cafe are supposed to be expensive. You just pay for the higher quality.

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