There’s a new Chinese cafe that’s opened up fairly close to where I live. It’s been there for a couple months now, but I usually wait a couple months to try a place out so they can iron out any kinks they may have in menu and service.
Van.Tea Cafe opened up in a space that was held by another Chinese restaurant (mostly known for it’s average dim sum). They renovated the interior a bit so that everything is new, clean and now there are comfortable booths.
I went for dinner with Brian and then lunch with my parents. For dinner, I ordered the build-your-own entree that’s popular in many Chinese cafes. For two items is $16.95 and 3 items is $19.95. It’s about on-par for other places that serve these types of meals. What I do like (and I’m sure they’ll change this eventually) is that for certain items, you don’t have to pay extra like at other cafes.
I ordered the two item with New York Steak and Pan Fried Chicken Fillet. This comes with a soup of the day, garlic bread, spaghetti/rice or fries. You can also add a drink for $1 or a fresh fruit smoothie for $2.50.
Normally you get to pick what kind of soup you get – I normally order the Borscht (or the Chinese equivalent of it) – which is essentially tomato soup with some veggies and beef chunks. It’s a nice way to start your meal. Here, the soup is not bad – its got flavour and is slightly more on the sweet side.
I dont know what it is about Chinese garlic bread, but I’m obsessed. There’s something about the fluffiness of the bread and the subtle crunchiness on the top but pillowy softness in the middle that is the best garlic bread I’ve ever had. It’s also a nice balance of garlic flavour – not too overpowering but enough to make my mouth water just thinking about it
For my drink, I normally either get lemon coke or Milky Coffee/Tea mix – but because I’m trying to have less caffeine for the baby’s sake, I stuck to lemon coke today. Pretty standard, nothing too fancy.
My dinner came, and as always, it’s a huge dish. What I love about ordering this dish is that if you’re hungry – you’re not going to be after you’re done. Or you’ll have leftovers for lunch the next day.
The meats were good, pretty standard size and good flavour for what you’d expect from a Chinese cafe. The chicken steak is nicely breaded and crispy on the outside but still very tender on the inside. I like the mix of vegetables on my plate – they also had a very distinct garlic flavour to them.
For lunch, my parents ordered noodles. I ordered my favourite kind of noodles – soy sauce and beef. The portion size was ok, the flavour was good – not very smoky like other places, but still good nonetheless. Not too salty and greasy enough for me to enjoy. I’m not sure why my noodles were more chopped up, but it didnt bother me too much. There was a good amount of beef in this dish, which is always a good thing.
My dad ordered the Malaysian rice noodles – the dish is a bit on the spicy side, but to me, seemed pretty mild. The flavour is nice however, it’s still very enjoyable and there is a lot of ingredients in this dish.
My mom ordered their custom soup – similar to what you’d see at Deer Garden, where you get to pick a couple proteins, the type of noodles and type of broth. Of course my mom goes for the beef, innards and tripe! Her soup was stacked, again, very impressed with the amount of food given here.
Overall, I’m glad to see a cafe like this open up in my neighbourhood and I will continue to frequent it – I hope their portions and quality stay the same!
For more information and their menu, check out their website here: https://vanteacafe.com/