Friday, July 6, 2012
Nine Dishes on Kingsway
Asian Superdirector wanted to take me for a belated birthday dinner since she missed my racetrack celebration. We had chatted about Nine Dishes before and it has been our hitlist for places to check out serving spicy chinese grub- AND it's also located in my neighbourhood (near another favourite place of ours Green Lemongrass). It's a modest place serving up Northern Chinese fare that has built up some positive food blog buzz for their low prices and spicy food. The interior is clean, pretty standard decor wise (fish tank in the middle) and the restaurant was quite busy throughout our leisurely meal (seemed like mainly regulars). It was the Asian Superdirector, new pal- The Italian Stallion, chowing down and they were ordering as I arrived (although they did ask for my opinion). There are actually 5 separate menus with pictures (but no drink menu) with a wide variety of Chinese BBQ, noodles, hot pot, main courses, and appetizers. The server gives you a piece of paper and pencil to write down your order.
First to arrive was the C5A House Special Spare Ribs $9.99, which arrived in a claypot. This was simple but tasty. The meat was soft and tender from slow braising. The flavour was quite rich and heavy. Spare Ribs aren't my favourite but there was no denying that this was a good dish. But not amazing.
Next was L3 Cucumber with Garlic $3.99. I love this dish and usually order some variety of cucumber salad when I get NC food to balance out the meat and noodles. This is a simple dish- diced cucumbers with vinegar and garlic. It was tangy, vibrant, delicious and fresh. I wish the cucumbers were a bit crunchier.
K4 Sheep Kidney Skewer $2.99 each Asian Superdirector ordered this and didn't love it. I wasn't inclined to try it.
Kla Lamb Meat Kebab with cumin and chilli $0.99 each I really liked this skewer- it smelled amazing, it was tender, juicy, slightly spicy and you could really taste the nice cumin flavour. The ASD said it was too "lamb-y" for her tastes but I thought it was pretty perfect.
K3 BBQ Eggplant Skewers $0.99 each These were smothered in a BBQ/Hoisin type sauce and cooked so there was a slight crisp on the skin and the flesh was soft and mushy. Fantastic texture and flavours. Loved this!
We also ordered the M4 Cold Noodle with Chilli Sauce and Shredded Chicken $5.99 This dish was interesting and our group was kind of split on how we felt about it. It was too spicy for some with Scihuan peppers. I found the peanut flavour to kind of overwhelm the dish- which wasn't necessarily a bad thing because I like peanut- and liked the spice. I also really appreciated the balance of the dish from the shredded cucumber.
We kept waiting for our L8 Deep Fried Lotus Root stuffed with mince meat $3.99 to arrive but it never came. We finally asked our server who told us that they ran out.....which makes me that dish more.
Service is pretty lackluster and non exisistant here. It's a bit confusing if you only speak English and I didn't find service very friendly. The food did come quickly, which was good. And a huge shout out for their delicious house hot sauce (above), cheap Yan Jing beer, and self-serve rice station (for no extra charge.) I will definitely be back and I'm determined to get me some of that Deep Fried Lotus Root! A huge thanks to the ASD for treating me to such a fun and tasty dinner.