Lunch @ Dumpling Up

August 26, 2013

Got off early from the hospital, woo hoo!

Hungry and in time for lunch, how lucky 😛

Dumpling Up not only has a restaurant but a little kiosk next door where they sell dumplings and steam buns to go. After enjoying their buns-to-go a number of times, we decided to check out their restaurant for lunch.

A friendly staff member stood at the door introducing the lunch specials (on display in the window) to interested patrons.

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We were interested and promptly shown inside. Two words: lovely decor! Unfortunately, the restaurant was almost empty. A shame considering this restaurant opened only a few weeks ago at that time.

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They had appealing $10 lunch sets (rice with a main, 3 dumplings and green tea) but we decided on the a-la-carte menu instead in order to try more items.

All dishes were only $2.90 – amazing! We chose a variety of dishes…

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Started off with BBQ pork steam buns (2 per plate) – tasty as usual!

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Silly face!

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Deep fried pork and shrimp dumplings (3 per plate) – fillings tasted very similarly, decent but not a stand out.

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Edamame – overcooked with too much oil and salt.

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We also tried a few sushi options, all of which came with 3 pieces per plate.

Salmon roll (salmon, avocado & cucumber)

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Dragon roll (salmon, prawn & pickle)

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Spider roll (fried soft shell crab, pickle & cucumber)

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It’s a good thing we didn’t order too many because the sushi was not very good. Rice was overcooked, as you can probably see in the pictures. And the ingredients (tempura prawn and soft shell crab) were cold and not freshly made.

The price was great but the food did not match in quality. It was disappointing to see a large beautiful restaurant, with plenty of seating space, so empty in the middle of lunch time. And such a small menu that didn’t live up to expectations.

Service, however, was great and hopefully they will soon work out the kinks with the food – when you offer a limited menu, it should dazzle! Or maybe it was just a fluke in the kitchen the day we visited 😀 It is a lovely restaurant (with a bar and even private rooms) with good prices and we will be back in the near future to check it out again!

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Sono Japanese Restaurant for Amanda’s 22nd Birthday!

Thanks to Kee Ping for organising the surprise birthday party for Amanda on Saturday, June 16th! We had the private function room at Sono Japanese Restaurant with 17 people altogether.

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The privacy of the room was pretty nice, although I wish the 2 tables weren’t so segregated. Unfortunately, it was impossible to facilitate conversation between both tables at the same time. Service was very friendly, the servers wore lovely Kimino outfits and were very accommodating. Even though we were in a closed room, we weren’t forgotten and constantly checked upon.

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The food, however, was quite expensive and dishes were hit-or-miss. Some people were quite happy with their dishes but others found theirs lackluster.

Here were a handful of dishes at my table:

Ebi (prawn) Tempura. Delicious, but expensive at $15 for 3 prawns.

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Unagi (eel) Kabayaki ($28) – thick cuts and very flavourful!

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Soft Shell Crab with Shiso Salsa ($15) – Great dish with nice flavour and acidity. A little too much salsa than needed for the burst of flavour so the crab quickly got soft.

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Tenzaru Soba ($19) – This was my dish, which I chose because I had never had cold noodles before and wanted to try something new. The dish was quite bland if not for the tempura and unfortunately, I got really bad food poisoning later that night (the only one in our group who got sick and who had this dish). I’m almost sure it was from the cold noodles itself, probably Bacillus cereus, which is often associated with improperly stored starchy foods (ie. rice, noodles, pasta). Seriously the worst pain of my life, thank god it was over quickly.

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The most interesting, but unfortunately, the most disappointing dish of the night: Seafood Houbayaki ($26). Individually served and cooked at the table, rice is extra.

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Extremely bland! You can even see there seems to be no seasoning involved.

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Moving on to dessert and festivities with the birthday girl! 🙂

Amanda was puzzled, trying to guess who was the person who ordered the chocolate cake decorated with macarons. Turns out it was from her sister back home in Malaysia!

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Taking pictures!

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Many sweets! Chocolate cake from her sister, cheesecake from her friends and I made some pear cupcakes!

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All smiles! Happy birthday girl!

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Great night and got to meet some lovely people! 🙂

Would we come back to Sono? Probably not. Don’t get me wrong. We had a fantastic evening – service was great, with lovely traditional decor and great ambiance. However, most of the group agreed that it was too expensive for less than impressive food. It seemed like half the group really enjoyed their food and the other half (which included the 4 people who ordered the Seafood Houbayaki) simply thought, “Meh.” Also, the food poisoning was unfortunate and extremely unpleasant!

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Yumminess at Wagaya

After stopping in for a drink at Wagaya on Christine Q’s birthday earlier this year and enjoying the experience, Mike and I decided we had to go back and try out the food.

We finally went for lunch with Meaghan on March 22 and despite not making reservations, we were immediately shown to a cozy booth.

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My favourite part about Wagayu? A self-service, touch screen at your booth to order your food and drinks. Pictures, descriptions, and prices of each item is available and you can order at your leisure.

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We each ordered a Bento lunch box and 2 sushi dishes to share. Each lunch box ($13-14) comes with rice, miso soup, a creme croquette, ebi fry (tempura prawn), salad, soft boiled egg, agedashi tofu (silken tofu coated in cornstarch, deep fried and served in a hot broth) and Japanese pickles – a great deal!

Mike and Meaghan also shared a pitcher of Hokkaido beer. For some reason (and I do trust his pouring skills), this is what happened when Mike went to pour a glass… haha!

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Meaghan ordered the chicken katsu (breaded deep-fried cutlet) lunch box

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Mike ordered the chicken nanban (fried chicken seasoned with vinegar and tartare sauce) lunch box

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I picked the chicken karaage (marinated and lightly battered fried chicken) lunch box

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In addition, we got a spider roll and a rainbow roll to share

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And for once, I enjoyed the miso soup!

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The food? All amazing! The lunch boxes had so much food, we didn’t even need to order the other dishes. So stuffed! The service was also prompt and cheerful, unlike many reviews I saw on Urbanspoon, which was a pleasant surprise. With great decor, delicious food at decent prices, we will definitely return again soon!

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