Peninsula is a restaurant group with locations in China and here in North America. However, here in Vancouver it is managed by the Top Gun Group – who own Top Gun Hot Pot, Kingsway and Richmond Sushi.
I chatted a little bit with the COO Ray Leung about managing Peninsula and also recollecting his exciting and varied past in business, which included selling jewelry to infamous Filipino rich folk (sounds a little scary to me)! He was very welcoming and really entertained my parents.
Besides him, our server was nice and spoke perfect English for my parents and myself. I’ve said this prior, but some Chinese restaurants really have to get into the habit of good customer service, because being in a saturated market with good Chinese food, it can make you stand out.
The restaurant is simple and elegant with a clean dining area and also, a sushi bar area complete with sushi chef! I would say sushi is definitely an interesting addition to their menu, I can see the value of having sushi available. Maybe it’s a trend that’s getting big elsewhere? Maybe someone can school me a little more on this.
Back to the review – my dad had made reservations a couple days prior and when we arrived, we were a little early but they sat us right away.
We started off with staple Dim Sum items, as I always feel that these are the baseline of a good dim sum restaurant.
The Siu Mai (pork dumplings – $6.30) arrived first. Five pieces in this steamer, it was a good portion and had a good taste to it. Nothing extremely exciting about Siu Mai as a whole in any place you go, but I knew that the dish was fresh since the pork was nice and tender and had a good taste to it.
Hau Gau (shrimp dumpling – $6.80) was served next. Again, I mentioned previously that good Hau Gau is hard to find. To me, hau gau is perfect when the skin is slightly translucent and the meat inside resembles pieces of shrimp rather than ground up questionable shrimp. Peninsula scores a perfect ten in my books. The skin is still translucent, which indicates freshness. I find the whiter and less see through the skin, the older it is. The skin has a little bit of bounce to it when you chew, but not doughy.
The inside of the hau gau is basically all shrimp with a bit of flavouring. It is made with chopped up shrimp, which is a tell-tale sign of good quality. There has been too many times I’v been to dim sum restaurants where the shrimp is ground up and who knows what kind of fillers are in that. Definitely not the case here.
Our next dish was the Rice roll with dried scallop and green onion ($6.80). Again, the rice rolls are very fresh. I think the next time I would order a rice roll with a little bit more substance (minced beef or prawn maybe). Enjoyed the fact they kept the soy on the side so we could control the level of saltiness.
My dad is a sucker for anything deep fried and shrimp related so we also ordered the Deep fried garlic shrimp egg rolls ($6.80). Very crispy and flaky breading, very reminiscent of the deep fried taro rolls I like. The shrimp inside was good, not over cooked and still had a bit of snap to it when bitten into. I love that it’s served with a side of sweet to balance this savoury dish.
Another favourite of my dad? Pan fried sticky rice with preserved meat ($12.80). Thankfully not too sticky or greasy here, enjoyable and had a smokey hint from the wok. The portion looked small, but it was enough to fill the three of us after the rest of our dim sum dishes.
At this point, my mom and I were pretty full, but my dad eyed the table next to us and wanted to order noodles. Nothing too fancy, we ordered the pan fried noodle with bean sprout in supreme soy sauce ($16.80). Not too sure why it’s called ‘supreme soy sauce’, but I’m assuming it’s one of the best quality sauces? While this dish was good – not greasy and had that excellent salty-soy taste to it that I’ve come to love, I feel like this dish was not worth the price paid for it as it is quite small.
Peninsula is definitely a speciality dim sum restaurant with not your typical dim sum items (eg. baked foie gras buns, sushi rolls and salads). I would say this would be the perfect place to bring out of town guests or celebrate a birthday or milestone. Order the correct dishes and you’ll get by fine and get your money’s worth. I would like to visit again and try their dinner service to see how that is as well.