1163 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam
It's tradition for families to gather together during Chinese New Year and eat a reunion dinner. Since now days people want to make life easier, so many families choose to dine out for this occasion. Because of this, many Asian restaurants will cater a special Chinese dinner menu just for CNY, and it just so happen I went to try the one at Kirin.
Kirin has various location across the lower mainland. I've tried the Dim Sum at Kirin in downtown (blogged here) and it was tasty. I've also tried their dinner menu at the Kirin at City Square and that was good as well. Therefore, when my family proposed to another meal at Kirin, I had no objections. Our set menu was for 4 people, but we had 5. So they just added the cost for an extra abalone and shark fin. The set menu for four is set at $248, so with 5 people it was about $30-40 extra. I forgot to mention, this is also the time for the restaurant to make some good money :P.
Our first dish was their special cold platter with roasted pig. However it was too early during the day (we went at 1pm), thus the pork was not ready, so they had to sub it with BBQ duck. The duck was very tender and juicy. It sweet plum dipping sauce was the perfect compliment for the soy BBQ flavor. The jelly fish was disappointing, as it lacked in flavor. The smoked salmon is just that, nothing to shout about. The mushroom wrap was good, it was juicy and flavorful. The cure meat was salty and definitely not something I liked.Our next dish was individual serving of shark fin soup. The thicken soup tasted like chicken stock. There were visible shark fin pieces, some crab meat and yellow chives as well. I could definitely taste the chive flavor in this soup. Overall, it was tasty seafood thick soup.The abalone on a bed of hollow stem leafy greens was also served individually. I usually dislike abalone, as it taste rubbery, but this one was actually good. It was actually very soft. I also liked the sauce as well, it tasted like good chicken stock with a mixture of hoi-sin sauce. The hollow steam leafy greens are also one of my favorite vegetables, so I have to say, this dish was a winner for me.
The lobster was next, it's described as live lobster in consomme with light ginger and green onion. I for one did not know what is consomme, here is what Wikipedia had to say about it:
"a consommé is a type of clear soup made from richly flavored stock or bouillon that has been clarified usually through a fining process involving egg protein. It usually requires an advanced knowledge of cooking and past experience to create a high quality consommé."
I have to say, the sauce was very good, the only problem was that the lobster was over cooked, therefore resulting in a rubbery taste that really didn't suck up any flavor from the sauce.
Next up is the sauteed Geoduck and scallop with selected vegetables. The Geoduck was chewy, and the chicken was very soft. The scallop was very good, it was done right and not fishy at all. However this dish was very mild in flavor and definitely lacking some salt. This would be the marinated chicken in dried scallop sauce. I thought the chicken would be cold, but it's actually warm. The meat was a bit dry, but the ginger/green onion dip was good. I prefer the chicken to be cold when eating with this type of dip.Our carb for the night was the stewed e-fu noodle in abalone sauce. Although the description said it was stewed, but it tasted more like deep fried first, then stir fried with hoi-sin sauce. Each noodle strand was well infused with flavor, so I quite like this dish.
Our first dessert was the coconut milk tapioca. The cold soup had nothing more than coconut milk, sugar and tapioca, but the simplicity works, it was refreshing and mildly sweet.Our 2nd dessert was taro jello and walnut cookie. Although the color may indicate that it is taro flavored, but really all I can taste was the coconut milk. There was only a trace of taro taste. The walnut cookie is really oily and crumbly, I prefer moist and soft cookies more.
Service here is a notch better than what you get at other Chinese restaurant, because there is actually service, but still no smile. Our tea was filled all the time, and they changes your dirty plate often as well.
Because of the similarity between this meal and the one I had at Bing Sheng, I can't help but to compare the 2. Although both meals were good, but I think Kirin had better seafood. Service is about the same, but Kirin gets another point for ambiance. They have nice decor and this particular Kirin is located on the 2nd floor of Henderson mall, which means there was a nice view. However when it comes down to value, Bing Sheng definitely wins. Their set meal was for 6 people and it was only $245, versus this meal at $248 for 4 people. In conclusion, I would say both are good choices, Bing Sheng would be perfect for a good family meal, where as Kirin would be good if you wanted to impress someone, like a client.
Overall, I would definitely recommend the Kirin chain, because their food is actually quite good. But I guess it should be good consider the hiked up price compare to other Chinese restaurants. Their restaurant is also very clean and spacious, so it's perfect if you have a big party. Besides it works out better that way, because after splitting the cost for a big meal, it's actually not so bad after all.