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Friday, 9 March 2012

Quick late night meal at Cattle Cafe (牛仔餐厅)

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It was indeed a quick meal at Cattle Café. Ying just got off at Richmond General Hospital post-call and felt extremely hungry because she did not have time to have dinner. It’s 11:30pm… Where should we go? So I drove down Alexander Road in Richmond and found that Cattle Café was still open. To my surprise, on a Thursday, there were quite a number of people in there… You can clearly see that a great deal of thought was put into this café. To start, this place looks modern and clean. The lighting is soft and comfortable to the eyes. Unlike most HK café that use generic napkins and cups, Cattle had their logo printed on everything. Just these little touches can make a dining experience a lot more amiable.
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We were quickly seated and given two picture albums. Okay, they were menus but they were filled with pictures. The picture on the top left is the drink menu and the right is the food menu. Cattle’s selection of food and drinks are standard of most HK café. They do have a wider selection of snacks however. Some of them were my favorite Hong Kong Hawker style snacks such as curry fish ball, Siu Mai, and egg waffle. Ying was excited to find that bubble waffle was on their menu but upon inquiring about it, they were sold out for the night. Therefore, we opted for curry fish balls as our appetizer. Ying also order a Mix and Match noodle and I got the Pork Chop with black pepper mushroom sauce on rice. Note that the curry fish balls were only a $1.50 charge if you order a mix and match noodle.
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The meals also came with hot drinks (standard of many HK café). Instead of getting the regular milk tea, I went for the almond milk because I didn’t want too much caffeine before sleep. Ying just randomly picked the honey lemon tea. The drinks taste like HK café drinks anywhere else… Nothing special.
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These curry fish balls quickly came and Ying single handedly finished all of them except for one, which I had to fight for. Ying and I quite enjoy these as they hit the spot right away. I wish they were a bit spicier however.
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IMG_8189 copy The mix and match noodle is everywhere now. The concept is simple, you are provided with choices of soup bases, noodle, and a wide range of toppings (beef tendon, tomatoes, fish balls, beef balls, and mushroom to name a few). Usually it’s priced around $7-8 and you can pick two toppings (any additional are an extra charge. The noodles are usually served with ample green onion and cilantro, which Ying really hates. She asked the waitress for her noodles to be “free of greens”. I protested on
the side! The waitress heard and said that she would bring the “greens” to me on the side. Extraordinary service for an HK café!

For her noodles this time, she picked the tomato and pumpkin fish soup with rice noodles, topped with beef slices and enoki mushrooms. The soup also has a variety of different vegetables in it already, including cabbage and mushrooms. Ying commented that she thought the soup was rather fishy in odour, which she didn’t appreciate very much. She mentioned that a certain place upstairs in the plaza serves much better tomato and pumpkin fish soup. As usual, she was unable to finish her bowl of noodles and ended up packing half of it to go. She claimed that she was going to eat it for breakfast… as if! 
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As for my selection, the pork chop and mushrooms in black pepper sauce with rice, I found it very typical of a HK café selection. The meat was mostly tender and not over-fried, but had some tendinous parts that were a bit too chewy for my liking. The sauce was very good, with just the right amount of black pepper to give it an oomph, but not overpower my taste buds with spiciness.  Not the best presentation though, I must say – given that it arrived as a gravy-covered mess with a bowl of rice slapped on top. Oh well, it gets the job done. I would have liked to have a bit more vegetable though, maybe a small salad on the side or some more steamed vegetables. I ended up packing some of my dish to go as well. Trust me, not a good idea! The sauce kind of congealed and wouldn’t even melt when microwaved.
Overall, this was a nice and satisfying meal at 11:30 at night! This experience was much better than our recent visit to Cattle Café’s other location in Vancouver, where the waitress messed up our order and completely did not acknowledge her mistake.

The Yummies:
  • Open late to satisfy those late-night food cravings – perfect for shift workers like Ying and I
  • Above average service on this visit… but is is consistent?
  • Modern and neat décor
  • Wide selection of HK snacks – including Ying’s favorite bubble waffle! (in fact she tried bubble waffle at this place for the first time)

The Yuckies: 

  • Parking…complete turnoff! It shares the same parking lot as many other popular restaurants and it’s a pain to find parking at prime dinner hours
  • It’s quite a popular restaurant and during peak times – the wait can be quite long
  • Seating is somewhat cramped

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Cattle Cafe 牛仔餐廳 (Richmond) on Urbanspoon


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