Star Anise Restaurant – Dim Sum

Star Anise opened up recently in April in the old Samosa Garden location on Kingsway.  I’m not entirely sure if our visit was representative of their regular service or if it’s just because they were still working some of the kinks out so you may want to take this review with a grain of salt.

Star Anise opens at 9am for dim sum and we were the first that arrived on a Saturday morning.  On the surface, everything appears all shiny and bright but upon closer inspection, you could see things were a bit off.  This place could have looked like a higher end Chinese restaurant but it’s the attention to detail (or lack of it) that tells the tale.

Okay, I’m not a big fan of the pillars that change colour or the carpeting but if we look beyond decor, there’s other things that I disliked.  For one, the square table that we were seated at seemed to have the leg posts positioned in a strange place which kept getting in my way.  It didn’t help that my chair was super wobbly either.  The worst thing, however, was that the dishes were dirty.  Correction, the worst thing was that we asked the waiter for new settings because they were dirty and they brought back a tea cup that was probably more dirty than the one they took away.  We wound up grabbing a cleaner cup from another table by ourselves.  Granted, many Chinese restaurants aren’t known for their attention to cleanliness but this was pretty bad considering they had just opened.

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Okay, enough about that and onto the food.  Small dishes are $3.95, medium dishes are $4.20, and large dishes are $4.60 while they charge $1/person for tea.  It took a while for the food to arrive… but when it did, the first couple of dishes were quite good.  The Steamed BBQ Pork Buns ($4.20) were pillowy soft and had a juicy filling.  I was a little apprehensive about the Braised Tripe ($4.20) due to the excessively orange colour but I have to admit that it was one of the best I’ve had in a while… superbly tender and not tough or chewy.  I know some people might be turned off by tripe but you should really try it sometime.

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Our next two dishes weren’t as good however.  The Shanghai Pork Dumplings ($4.20) is available in a lot of dim sum places nowadays but the skin was quite thick and doughy here.  You’re better off sticking to somewhere like Shanghai River to get your XLB fix.  There really wasn’t anything too wrong with the Pan Fried Turnip Cake with Chinese Sausage ($4.20) besides not actually having very much lap cheong in them.

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At most places that we go for dim sum, the Steamed Beef Rice Rolls comes in 3 pieces but this dish came with 4 pieces… maybe that’s why this is considered a large dish ($4.60).  We finished off our meal with the Lychee Pudding ($3.95) which really wasn’t the “pudding” that we were expecting.  It was more like lychee jelly with goji berries… not as good as the one we had at Fortune House Restaurant.

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Food wise, there are some hits and misses.  Service could be considered laughable at times – they didn’t even know how to use their credit card machine when we went to pay.  If you do try this place out, just make sure to check to see if your place setting is clean before you use it.

3502 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC

Star Anise Restaurant 聚湘園酒樓 on Urbanspoon

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Posted on June 27, 2013, in Chinese, Dim Sum, Restaurant Review and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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