There is a new kid on the block.
And I think this new restaurant is gonna make it in the long run.
I am talking about the new restaurant on No 3 Road called The One Cafe. This restaurant is the THIRD restaurant called The One in Metro Vancouver. There is one The One Restaurant in Burnaby which is an offshoot from Lao Shan Dong (see the blog posting here). There is another restaurant also called The One on Granville and W 41st in Vancouver.
This latest The One Cafe is located across the street from the Brighouse Skytrain station. Location-wise, I felt it is just perfect because this stretch had recently turned out to be the one area with the heaviest food traffic in the whole of Richmond. It wasn’t like that until late last year.
Prior to The One Cafe opening here, it was the Queen’s Cafe and before Queen’s it was something else. The location was awful before the Skytrain line was opened. There were hardly anyone walking along that part of the street. And moreover, the Queen’s Cafe seems too upscale and expensive. We never had the urge to check them out.
But I was surprised that The One Cafe is doing very well. We were there just last Saturday for lunch. The restaurant is absolutely packed even though the restaurant is bigger than the average restaurants in Richmond. There is even a line for tables at one point at about 1:30PM.
This restaurant is a Hongkong Style Cafe. Inside, it looked really nice for such a cafe. With clean, modern lines, it is certainly better looking than other HK-Style Cafes. Suanne was saying that the chairs were too high for her and is not comfortable. I did not find that the case at all. Maybe her legs were too short or something.
Although there were a lot of wait staff, all pleasantly attired in black, I have to point out that service is spotty. Most of them are very attentive but our waiter not only dropped the ball but he also ignored a request by saying to me “we’re too busy. please wait”. More about that later.
There is nothing special about the menu. It is largely HK Style Cafe type of dishes made up of noodles, hot pots, rice and western style dishes too. The prices are OK and inline with the prices of similar dishes you find in other HK Style Cafe. So that is good.
The left most menu is the interesting Noodle Soup Combo (more about that later). The right most menu is the breakfast menu. It is interesting to note that they open very early at 7:30AM. So, for those of you who takes the SkyTrain to work in the morning, this is one handy restaurant you could go for a quick bite before hopping on the train.
Suanne decided to get the Noodle Soup Combo. We came across this style of combo dishes for the first time in Cattle Cafe. I think Cattle Cafe is the restaurant that popularized this way of ordering. For $8, you get to choose:
- Soup base of six choices
- Two Toppings from list of 22 choices
- Noodles of eight choices
Some of the choices are quite interesting with options such as watercress&coconut fish soup, slice omasum, ox-tongue and … parsley¢ury egg soup. Click on the left most menu if you want to see what they are.
Suanne ordered the Tonkotsu as her soup base with toppings of pork cheek and stuffed tofu.
The Tonkotsu soup base was flavorful and it included other ingredients like suey choy, tofu puff and mushroom.
The pork cheek was really good. It is thinly slices, tender and taste porky … you know, like it tasted like good fresh pork. The stuffed tofu turned out to be just fish tofu. We thought the stuffed tofu is like yong tau foo (like this).
Suanne finds that the ramen noodles was too soft not al dente. What is the fancy word to describe noodles that are too soft … “Too dente”? And if it is undercooked … “Un-dente”?
Anyway, Suanne for some odd reason said that she prefer the frozen ramen we had at home better.
Like all HK Style Cafe, most of the meals came with free coffee or tea. It is $1 extra if you want it cold/with ice.
Uncle Ben ordered the Japanese Shabu-Shabu Hot Pot. This is $10 and despite its higher price, it does not come with a free beverage.
Firstly, when the waiter (there was only one waiter the day we were there, the rest were the feminine versions) brought the hot pot to the table, he did not light the burner. He forgot. I had to ask him for it and he said yes, went away and did not come back with the lighter. We had to get another waitress who promptly lighted it for me.
OK, Uncle Ben loves soupy food right? And Uncle Ben thought that there were too little soup (see picture above). So I called the waiter again asking him to fill up the hot pot with more soup. The waiter told Uncle Ben “we are too busy. please wait”. He walked away like I was too pesky to be entertained.
But Uncle Ben is a persistent guy. He is like a pit bull who just can’t let go. So Uncle Ben asked another waitress and lo and behold, an extra bowl of soup came the very next minute. So yeah, I was really unhappy with the attitude of the one particular waiter who I thought was rude to brush aside a customer and did not even light the burner. He doesn’t like me I think. And that is OK because the feeling is mutual.
See above again … see how little the soup is … and the fact that you don’t see it boiling or steaming shows that the waiter forgot to light the burner and did not do it after I had reminded him about it.
But the dish was good. In the pot are enoki mushroom, beef and lots of suey choy. The soup is light and flavourful. The sliced beef was precooked. I could see that. I was saying to Suanne that perhaps if they had delivered uncooked beef slices on the side it would be better. I would have preferred it because I could decide how cooked I want the beef to be. Or maybe they serve it like Vietnamese Pho with raw beef slices rest on top of the soup.
It came with a bowl of rice and “dessert”. I can’t understand this sort of “dessert”. You don’t give kiddie jellies to adult customers. I really wonder how many people actually eat it.
Nanzaro ordered the Malaysian Fried Spicy Kuey Teow for $8. It is spelled as Kiteow on the menu. A typo obviously but it took us a while to figure out what a Kiteow is.
They should NOT label this dish as Malaysian. You will never get this sort of koay teow style from Malaysia. This is just HK style fried noodles if you ask me. The Cantonese folks thinks that if you throw in some curry powder and make it a spicy stir fry noodle, it is Malaysian style noodle.
Taste-wise, it was OK … as long as you call it Curry Powder Flat Noodle Stir Fry.
My first born, Arkensen … he disappoints me when it comes to food. At the rate he is going, he will inherit chowtimes from us and then promptly rename this site to chow-fun-times. Chow-fun in Cantonese means fried rice.
So he had the same old … Diced Chicken with Salted Fish Fried Rice ($8).
Hey, the fried rice is very fragrant despite the plain looking dish. They use good salted fish which smell so good and tasted much better than most other similar fried rice.
Other than the waiter who doesn’t like me, we are quite OK with this restaurant. The prices are quite good. The food is quite good. I think this restaurant will do well for this location for a change.
Oh, despite the size of the restaurant, they only have five parking bays at the back of the restaurant. You might have to find alternative parking in the Richmond Center parkade but be careful when you use the parkade. This is because there are people who catches non-customers parking there. The best bet is to park in the upstairs parking in Richmond Center and then walk through the mall so that you don’t get caught and have your car towed.