A LA KITCHEN

A La Kitchen

I had lunch at A La Kitchen with a group of friends during the holidays. One couple had moved to Calgary a few years ago and requested Chinese food for the get together. With mixed reviews, I suggested trying out A La Kitchen. While the decor was interesting, unique and the restaurant modern and clean, both service and food was meh. 

Atmosphere: A La Kitchen used bamboo steamers as the main component of their decor. The wall was tiled with steamer lids and the dining room had a great piece of cascading steamers on the ceiling. I liked the artistic use of the kitchen tool, aesthetic and theme. Linen tablecloths, carved wood details and bright red accents also made the space feel clean and modern.

Service: Service wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t great. As a diner, I felt neglected and could not flag down a server (a few walked right behind me and ignored my waving hand). Yes, I was more subtle and wasn’t trying to answer a question in class, but I was really trying and it was frustrating. Every server we interacted with was also curt, not very welcoming. Our egg whites with seafood was also served without vinegar, a minor hiccup but another challenge to get someone’s attention.

Food: I can overlook many service hiccups for delicious food. At A La Kitchen, it wasn’t quite enough. Lunch started with an appetizer of shredded chicken with peanut sauce. For $5.50, the portion was tiny, the same as meat off of one thigh, and mostly filler (mung bean sheets). The sauce was good, heavy on the peanut but a little bland. Our order of egg whites and seafood was also only ok. I found the egg whites were a bit stringy and not fluffy enough. Again, the flavour was on the light side.

We ordered two trays of the crab and minced pork Xiao Long Bao, sadly these were disappointing. There was little soup, the filling was under seasoned and there wasn’t enough fat. One dish I did enjoy was the Rice Cake with preserved vegetables. The rice cakes were soft, chewy and there was lots of (salt). The pan fried dumplings were ok. Each dumpling had a nice bottom but again I felt the filling was under seasoned. I did really like the the bowl of Small Wontons in Peanut Sauce. There was lots of chili sauce, crushed peanuts and the wontons were cooked perfectly.

Overall, 2/6 was disappointing for me. 

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A La Kitchen

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