- Visited: 550 Highway 7 E, Richmond Hill
- Cuisine: Fusion
- Rating: 3.5 5.0 Excellent, worth every $
4.5 Good, food & value
4.0 Good, but $$, would re-visit
3.5 Meh, good $, would re-visit
3.0 Meh, would not re-visit
2.0 Did not like $ [$] <20; [$$] <40; [$$$] <80; [$$$$] >80
- Website: http://deergarden.ca/
After my visit to Chef Papa, a few people asked how the restaurant compared to Deer Garden, a more established and popular customize-your-own-noodle-bar with multiple locations. I couldn’t answer because I hadn’t been yet. This obviously had to be rectified, so The Hubby and I stopped by the Richmond Hill location for dinner one cold weekday night.
Atmosphere: I was not expecting a line at Deer Garden on a Thursday night at 8pm. We didn’t have to wait long, but that was only because the larger party ahead of us didn’t want to split up. The restaurant was clean, modern and well-lit.
Service: Although Deer Garden was sit-down restaurant, the service was minimal, similar to a Hong Kong style cafe. We were brought to our table and left with laminated menus and an order sheet. One of the sheets advertised a special offer for one free topping but I wanted to verify before ordering. When the server came by to collect our order sheets, she answered my questions brusquely and seemed impatient. Service efficiency was clearly a priority over friendliness. Our noodles did arrive quickly from the kitchen.
Food: Two cups of hot Hong Kong style milk tea in cute, insulated tin mugs. These mugs kept the drinks cool throughout our entire meal. The Hubby was feeling under the weather and stuck to light flavours. His bowl was made up of fish broth with rice noodles and topped with tofu fish, lamb slices and fish balls. The broth was milky and had a rich taste without a hint of fishiness. This was a great, comforting bowl, perfect for a cold night.
My bowl wasn’t as great. I chose poorly. My bowl had Peanut Sauce and Chili broth with Flat Rice Noodles, topped with blood, fish balls and enoki mushrooms. The main mistake was the peanut broth, which was thick like glue. Add in the rice noodles, which expanded and soaked up all the soup made the bowl impossible to finish. While the broth did have a strong peanut aroma and taste, it overpowered every other ingredient.The enoki mushrooms were hard to distinguish and the soup continued to thicken as it cooled. There was little to no chili flavour or heat. I should have stuck to the classic Fish broth. Half of my noodles ended up coming home with us.
We added a side order of fried pork chop to split. The chop was breaded and served with a mayo dipping sauce. I liked how crispy the batter was, but The Hubby was expecting a pan-fried version.
Overall, dinner at Deer Garden was fine but didn’t meet my expectations. Part of that being my own fault, but the experience was still disappointing. I will take another chance on them, being less adventurous.