Updated: 22nd Dec 2014; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.
We found a new place for eating out last weekend which we like a lot.
We had stumbled upon Estea many months before when we were in this strip mall on Alexandra Road. We had forgotten about them until I came across them while researching for new places to go to. We had covered so much of Richmond that we are finding it harder to find new places.
Estea is a really good find. The biggest problem with Estea is the location. Although it is located on Alexandra Rd you do not know it because it is hidden at the back of the strip mall (where Mongolie Grill is). It actually fronts Alderbridge Way but you can only access Estea from Alexandra. I thought Estea would do much better if they have a signboard that fronts the busy Alderbridge Rd.
The dining area in Estea is cavernous and can seat up to 200 people. They have wifi here and we see young teenagers using notebooks. Coupled with the decor and the name of the place (Estea Beverage Club) tells me that this place is intended to be a place for youngsters to hangout.
We were there in the afternoon and the place had just about 10 customers in all. It does look empty but I remember when we first passed by Estea during dinner time, it was absolutely packed.
We love the menu and the way it is laid out. I think you like that too. It is a very big colorful spread with lots of delicious looking pictures of their popular items.
Estea is a Taiwanese style restaurant. I am saying that because the menu has pictures of Taipei and the Taipei 101 Tower.
Let’s start with the simpler dishes. Arkensen chose the Scrambled Egg with Shrimp on Top of Rice. It’s a simple dish and reminds me of “wat darn hor” which is basically the same except that it’s with rice noodle instead of steamed rice. $7.95.
Estea’s individual dishes came with two sides — celery and daikon. We like the combination … the daikon was very soft, warm, spicy while the celery was served cold and crunchy.
Nanzaro on the other hand wanted the Chicken in Chili Sauce with Peanut. It seems like Nanzaro is trying to outdo his brother and had this more “adulty” choice. They have this sibling rivalry thing going on now. They battle over everything … including who ordered the better food.
Like the earlier dish, this one also has the same two sides of daikon and celery… plus … it also includes a bowl of dessert soup (sweet potato and yam) and steamed rice.
It was really spicy hot. Nanzaro accidentally bit into a piece of dry chili and he said the heat is coming out of his ears. This young guy can take chili but when he said this is hot, it is. This is $7.50.
Suanne and I decided to order dishes to share. We ordered two between the two of us. The first one was great. It is simply called the Lamb in Szechuan Style and cost $10.95.
Although it did not look spicy but it was … and we like it.
It is the dried chili that make it so. Although I can eat it just like that when having Szechuan, I tried one here and left the rest untouched. It was simply too hot.
What makes it so hot anyway? I don’t think it’s just the seeds because they removed most of the seeds already. I hope to learn of the secret to predict how hot these chili are. Anyone?
They also have these rooty looking things. I am not sure what it is. Suanne thinks it is called “sun yaw”. Can anyone tell us more about this uncommon vegetable/root and the use of this in Chinese cooking?
The other dish we ordered to share is the Pork Stomach with Sour Vegetable Soup. We ordered the large one which cost $10.25. It was excellent for the cold winter day.
It was a little spicy (from black peppers) and sourish. I like having the soup with rice. Although the bowl is really large and enough even for three people, there are not a lot of pig stomach. Wished there were more.
Their bowls and cups are kind of fun. It’s in odd shapes. Overall, the servings are big which we appreciate a lot.
The bill with tax came to $41.63. They accept cash and debit cards only. I paid with three $20 bills and guess what the waitress asked me. She asked if I needed the change! What does she think? She thinks I am going to tip 50% of the bill? I think it is rude to ask if a customer wanted change … they should just assume that the customer would want the change.
Other than that, we like Estea and will definitely come back again. We like the variety of food, the colorful menu, the food was good, the prices are reasonable.