A month or so ago, there was a discussion on Chowtimes about having a chowdown at Kalvin’s Restaurant. After much discussion, Kevin from 604foodtography decided to take charge of the chowdown. He put up a post on his blog and sure enough, a great group of 15 got together to have the ultimate chowdown at Kalvin’s Restaurant.
I met a few other bloggers too which was super exciting. The ones that were in attendance were – The Friday Lunch, The Petite Foodie, The Daily Slif, Sea Salt with Food, Ed Eats, Chowtimes, Sherman Food Adventures, Yum O Rama, and of course 604Foodtography. There were also non bloggers too that join in on the festivities.
I’ve actually never heard of Kalvin’s Restaurant until I saw it posted on Chowtimes. This is why I love reading other blogs as well; you really discover all the hidden gems in and around the city.
Kalvin’s Restaurant looks like any other Chinese restaurant, so it is quite easy to miss as you are wandering around Victoria Drive. I arrived promptly at 6pm and the restaurant was not busy at all, most of the tables were reserved, so you know it would be a busy day for them as the night went on.
Our table was huge! We had a table that actually fit 15 people. It was like a huge table for huge families, but in our case, a huge table for hungry bloggers and foodies.
Since there were 14 of us, it was tough to figure out what we all wanted to order. Good thing no one had allergies, so this made the process easier. Kevin took the reign and just ordered a huge array of dishes from the menu. Since I can’t read Chinese to save my life, I am no help in that department.
Before I go and start talking about all the dishes we had, what is so awesome and highly amusing about being at a table of foodies it that most people had their huge SLR cameras ready. For a bit I felt kinda inferior since I carry a Canon G10. Still, a great camera, but not an SLR. Ben from Chowtimes brought along his point and shoot camera so I didn’t feel too embarrassed. Every time a new dish would come to the table, everyone had their cameras ready to take multiple shots, eventually people at other tables started staring at us. Kevin commented saying there was a lady at the next table over just staring at us and shaking her head.
After the pictures were done, everyone dug in!
The first dish that arrived was the Fondue Spicy Pork with Organ Stew (Large – $18). If you aren’t Asian, you will probably be disgusted with this dish, it have all the nasty stuff that usual people may not be accustomed to be eating. The most “gross” ingredients you will find in this are pieces of intestines and pork blood. I found this dish to be a bit too spicy for my tolerance level. I was gobbling tea like no tomorrow.
The next dish that arrived was the Pork & Ton Choy in BBQ Sauce ($11.50). Essentially, the name of the dish is how you would describe it. I didn’t really think there was anything too special about it.
The next one was the 5 Spice Beef in Chinese Pancake ($5 per order). I think we had 3 orders of this. This is a green onion pancake wrapped with 5 spice beef. This is probably one of those usual item you would order as Taiwanese snack at those Bubble tea places. I found that I tasted more of the pancake more than the beef. As you can tell, there was one slice of beef, hoisin sauce and no onions… pretty disappointed.
The next dish was the Spicy Pig’s Ear ($4). I personally love spicy pig ear. Some may say it’s gross, but I just love the texture and chewing on the cartilage. I didn’t think this is was too bad, it was quite average and not too spicy.
I think the Shredded Fish with Yellow Chives ($11.50) was a memorable dish. The fish was quite delicate and well prepared. I think this would be a great dish for little kids since you know there are no bones. I remember as a kid, I would try my best to avoid fish because sometimes there are bones.
This was the Chicken with 3 spices (S- $10.50/ L- $20). You are probably wondering what are these 3 spices – soy sauce, sesame oil and rice wine. I liked it! Having those 3 ingredients marinated the chicken very nicely. Great flavour.
The Shredded Beef with Green Onion ($9.75). It was pretty average. Nothing super special.
This dish is the Red fermented deep fried pork ($5). This was probably the one item that I really wanted to try! The pork had a nice light crunch on the outside since it is deep-fried. It was unique and I have never seen anything like it.
This dish – Cold Bamboo Shoot Salad with Mayo ($7.50) was quite a surprise. No, like actually! I don’t think any of us remembered ordering this. Even looking at the bill, it wasn’t on it. Maybe they threw it in because we were such a large party that ordered lots? No clue. This was an interesting dish yet again; bamboo shoots with mayo on top. When I think of bamboo shoots, I think of long tough sticks. In this dish, it was more like fruit with a bunch of mayo dumped on top. I honestly find mayo very strange on cold items, so I was not a fan of this dish. BUT I did enjoy the bamboo on it’s own.
This dish is the Hakka Style Eggplant with Shredded Pork ($8.50). Hakka style basically means the type of cooking in Southern eastern China. The eggplant is cooked till it is mushy. I love eggplant; some people don’t like it because of that texture. In this dish, I found it slightly bland, so perhaps a bit more seasoning would have done the trick.
The next dish – Diced Chicken & Peanuts with Chili Pepper ($9.75) was HOT. Too hot for me to handle! It looks somewhat innocent until you get those red chili peppers in your mouth. BAM! Burning sensation in the face. Sorry, I can’t comment too much about this dish since all I really remember was hot.
This was the Prawn and Pineapple in Mayo ($16). I usually love prawns to death, but this dish was not for me. Hot prawns with mayo…and then fruit with mayo. In my mind, the only mayo that shall ever touch prawns would be in ebi mayo. Fried items + mayo = good. On the bright side, the prawns were nice and big.
String Beans with Minced Pork ($8.50) is your average type of dish found in a restaurant like this. Nothing too special about this dish.
Crispy Salty Peppery Chicken ($6) is your staple dish at a Taiwanese restaurant. At bubble tea joints, it would be a snack…served on rice, served in noodle…etc. Having the item available here was very interesting since its not usually what you would order. The inside was very moist and you can see the juices run from the meat. I thought the seasoning was fine and the skin was nice and crunchy.
I’m sure you know these are Shanghai Style Dumplings ($6). These were ok, pretty average and are not the best dumplings. This was not bad either.
We had quite a fun time with these dumplings to see who would puncture the dumplings first so the soup would spill. The first person to do so was Karl from The Friday Lunch. We all had a good laugh.
Finally! The last dish of the meal was Chicken with Sesame Oil & Wine in Hot Pot ($16). This was a very delicious deep flavored soup. The chicken was tender and went well with the soup. This is the type of soup I would love my parents to make. The first few sips were good but the after taste you could take a bit of the wine. Even though it had wine, you would not get drunk.
Wow, that was a lot of food. 17 dishes in total for 14 people. The bill came out to be $250.32. After tips each person paid $20.50. It was not too bad since we had that many dishes. The service was not bad either, it was amazing that the chefs could crank out so much food in a short amount of time! This dishes came so fast that there were times when we ran out of table space.
By 6:30pm, there were lines outside….as we left there was still a large line up.
I have to give a big shout out to Sherman of Sherman’s Food Adventures for sending me the names of all the dishes. Without him, I would be guessing what everything single dish would be called. Another thanks to Kevin (604Foodtography) for bringing us all together!
Overall, I think Kalvin’s Restaurant was just ok. There were a few average dishes and a few spectacular dishes. For myself, I would probably not revisit this restaurant since it’s a bit out of my way to get to.
If you have finished reading this huge post, you have read a total of 1500 words!
Words of Wisdom:
- Free parking on adjacent streets
- Reservations are a MUST
- Largest table size = 15
- Red fermented deep fried pork and Shredded Fish with Yellow Chives