This evening, I was invited by the owners at Chengdu Bistro to come and try out their dishes. Since it seemed like a bit of an overwhelming task, I rounded up some friends – Liane, Adrian and of course Brian to help me complete my objective.
Please note that I was invited by Chengdu Bistro and my meal was comp’d, but all opinions are my own.
Chengdu Bistro is family owned and Executive Chef Henry brings over 20 years of cooking from Hong Kong and Canada to this bistro on Denman. Described as Chinese Szechuan fusion, the bistro focuses on having a comfortable atmosphere, great service and of course, good food.
We started off with their signature dish – the Peking Duck with 6 Crepes. This is a half order, they also have a full order available. The Peking duck is nice and slightly salty. The skin is crisp and the duck itself is tender and not too fatty. I think this Peking Duck is one of the best I’ve had anywhere. It’s served with hoisin, cucumber and a wrap – so you’re supposed to slap it all together.
Up next is a new dish they added to their menu the Sirloin Beef Roll. I am a huge fan of this roll wherever it’s served, but I especially loved it here because the beef is nice and tender – mostly because it’s made with sirloin beef. I also find that most places have a strange ratio of pancake to beef, but here it is a good distribution of pancake, lettuce, sauce and beef. The pancake is crispy, a little more than what I prefer, but my dining companions enjoyed the crispiness as the beef itself was soft making for different textures.
Our next dish was the Chengdu Special Fried Rice (House special fried rice with shrimp, chinese sausage, onion, jalapeño, broccoli stem in spicy szechuan style sauce). I have to say that this is one of the best fried rice I’ve had anywhere, hands down. Why? For simply being perfect in heat.
There is some fresh chilies and jalapeño but not so much that it’s burning in your mouth but leaves a playful tingle of heat in it when you eat it. I love heat, but not to a point where I can’t enjoy a meal, so this is perfect.
Another popular dish here is the Seafood & Vegetables Birds Nest (stir fried scallops, shrimp, squid and mixed seasonal vegetables served in a crispy potato made bird’s nest). The birds nest is surprisingly tasty, with a great french fry/hashbrown kind of taste to it.
What we were all impressed with was the fact that this dish was not greasy and heavy like most places do it.
The vegetables are steamed just right so they still have that nice crunchy taste and vibrant colour.
Promptly after that dish came the Szechuan Green Beans (long green beans tossed in a spicy szechuan sauce with ground pork and preserved vegetables). This dish is a pretty standard dish and was good.
And then shortly after that, our last main dish came. The Szechuan Pan Fried Prawns (pan fried prawns in spicy garlic pepper oil). I am obsessed with this sauce, it was so addicting that I literally just ate the sauce off the fried noodles after the prawns were gone.
Finally for dessert, we had Pumpkin and Red Bean in Deep Fried Sticky Rice Cake and vanilla ice cream.
It was a nice, albeit sweet dessert, which paired perfectly with the cute scoop of ice cream. This dish is perfect for one or two people to share.
I would definitely recommend visiting this family owned restaurant if you’re in the neighbourhood. While Denman is mostly known for being Ramen Row, Chengdu Bistro has a nice family feel to it, especially with the owner/manager coming up and making conversation with guests as if it was like home. The food is great, less greasy than most other Chinese places, affordable and very tasty.
Check out their website and menu here.