CHINA COTTAGE

China Cottage

In a typical week, my fridge is pretty bare but I manage to scrape together meals between my pantry and freezer. The past month however, I’ve been especially terrible with stocking my fridge. To the point where I can’t recall the last time I went on a dedicated grocery shopping trip. Clearly I need to get back on track but in the meantime, I’ve been stumbling across a lot of new and random restaurants in my search for dinner. China Cottage was one of these impromptu finds.

Atmosphere: Walking into the restaurant, I had no expectations. I knew there would be an Asian influence on the food and that it would be spicy. China Cottage, located on the corner of a small block of stores and restaurants turned out to be a casual family restaurant. The interior is sleek and there is plentiful seating. I don’t recall any background music, which made conversation easy and comfortable.

Service: After being seated, menus and water was brought to our table. Our server took our order and every dish arrived quickly and hot. I would’ve loved chopsticks but the place setting only included a fork and knife and I was too lazy to ask. Everyone we interacted with was professional and efficient.

Food: My one critique of the menu is the lack of description. Each item is listed with only a name and a price. Being a first time visitor, choosing between names like Cottage Chicken, Shotgun Chicken, Chicken 88 and Hakka Chicken was hard without having to ask the server about each item. We ended up ordering based on pictures and what we saw at other tables.

Our dinner that night was the Cottage Special Chicken, Chef’s Special Shrimp and a generous portion of Beef Hakka noodles. I loved the fried chicken. Each piece was bite-size, tender, juicy and crispy. Almost every menu item had a spicy indicator next to it and the chicken was on the hotter side, sweat inducing, but not mouth on fire. Raw sliced onions were served as a garnish, very raw and didn’t really add to the dish. We finished off the whole plate of chicken. As for the Chef’s Special Shrimp, the dish was the spicier of the two and The Fiance only had a few. I liked the shrimp, they were lightly battered, fried and served on a bed of shredded iceberg. Between the two entrees, the chicken was the clear winner.

The flavour of the Hakka noodle was great, not too salty and had a nice smokey taste. The portion size was also very generous. We took a good half of the dish home.

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