Thursday, March 18, 2010

Aoyama - will certainly be back for more


Aoyama Cafe

Unit 1008 4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond

Aoyama Cafe (UCC Coffee) on Urbanspoon

Food: 4.5
Service: 3.5
Price: Fair

It's a ritual for R and I to go to Aberdeen Center when we visit Richmond. We usually just go for either Daiso and the chicken wing at Wo Fung Dessert(Yum). Actually I really like the food court at Aberdeen, they have quite a few good places to eat, such as Ajijiman Hanabi , Strawberry Cones and the aforementioned Wo Fung Dessert . However this time we came after lunch, and was only there for Daiso.

As we were walking out of Daiso, towards the parking lot, we noticed this new restaurant next to the book store on the ground floor. Since we saw it from the side, we noticed the display wall first, where it show cased some of their dishes. The food looked yummy, and it was close to dinner time, so we decided to try it out.There are actually two parts to Aoyama restaurant, a dining room and a cafe (where Starbucks use to be). A sign on the door stated that the dining room had a $20 minimum charge requirement. The restaurant is actually very nice with mellow jazz music playing in the background. They also had the same buzzer system seen at a lot of other Korean restaurants.
R loves coffee, and when he noticed they serve siphoned coffee, he just couldn't resist. He end up ordering a iced sumiyaki coffee ($3.50). I for sure did not know what sumiyaki is, but here is what Aoyama had to say about it:

"Sumiyaki, Japanese for "charcoal roast" is a mixture of different beans roasted until charcoal color. Espresso lovers, this is a strong dose of coffee. It has a deep rich aroma and smooth flavor minus the bitter taste."

Well, since I can't tell the difference between instant coffee and $5/cup coffee, let's just say R loved it. He even drank it without any sugar syrup or cream.
After studying their extensive menu, I finally decided on Unagi Rice Casserole ($12.95), which is broiled eel in curried rice pilaf baked with mozzarella cheese. I loved this dish, from the very first bite. The eel was excellent, it was very soft with a sweet teriyaki taste. The rice was moist with a light curry flavor topped with a delightful mushroom cream sauce. It's the real cream sauce, instead of the typical flour based one at HK style cafe. To top it off, they baked it with lots of gooey mozzarella cheese. Although the portion in the picture may look small, but in reality it was quite large. In a nut shell, this was really good and I highly recommended it.R noticed they had a category called Japanese Style Spaghetti Soup and he was immediately drawn to it. In the end, he chose the Bacon and Sausage Curry Spaghetti Soup ($9.95). The curry broth was delicious, it had a medium curry taste (Japanese kind) with a rich seafood like base. They also had a quite a bit of bacon, sausage and veggies. The spaghetti was a bit too soft for my taste, but still not bad. The highlight of this dish is definitely the soup, it was so good that we drank till the last drop.

Service here can range from average to good, because we had more than one server. The person who took our order was polite, but without a smile. The person who brought us our food and took our payment was smiling, polite and personal. So really, service here can vary, but in general it's not bad.

Overall, we were definitely impressed with their food, it was very delicious. Before we went in, judging from the outside, it looked like it could be a pricey restaurant, it turn out to be fairly inexpensive with most dishes ranging from $10-$15. The portions are definitely good for the price. They also had some very promising desserts, it's just that we were too full. This only means, we will be back to try their desserts soon.


KimHo March 22, 2010 at 10:28 AM

With a $20 minimum requiremnt to sit down in the restaurant, I guess there is almost no chance I will be going there by myself... Oh, wait, it is in Richmond, and Aberdeen out of all places... There is NO way I would be going anyway! :P

OK, seriously, visually, the food actually looks quite good but... Is it Korean or Japanese (or a mix of both)?

Jenny March 22, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Just in case you do want to go one of these days, give me a shout, I wouldn't mind going again, so then the $20 minimum charge shouldn't be a problem. :)

Actually, it seems like Japanese inspired American cuisine. They serve mostly pasta and rice.

Sherman Chan March 24, 2010 at 3:59 PM

LOL Kim... I'll go with you! The food looks... interesting? You drive though, it's Richmond...

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