A good friend of mine brought me here once a few years back and I loved it.
A shabby, basement-like entrance, thank god for their sign sticking out for people to notice it off Dundas. Next to it, on the tiled wall are 4 food shots leading to the main large red sign with yellow letters screaming for attention.
bourbon, maple scents
Once you enter, the metal kitchen on the left really adds to the aromas around. At lunch time you can see the chef stretching and hitting the long noodles near the entrance. This time cheri and I were one of the few people there. We were rather early for dinner though. There is a small arc between the two dining areas. Beige walls, brown lines on them matching the brown chairs, yellow lights, red carpets and tablecloths. I've seen their efficient clean up, since all the tables are covered with layers of white plastic; once done, the ends are placed to the middle and all on the table is wrapped up and taken to the kitchen.
A younger lady told you to sit as we wish. Each table has their own pile of sauces/spices. She placed the menus on the table with a sheet of paper and a pencil, so I figured she might not feel too comfortable speaking english. It turns, her english was great. She asked what we want to drink. Cheri just asked for tea and the served us a teapot with regular green tea, along with two tiny cups.
Their menus were red with white type and yellow boarder and chinese style ink art - very festive. To our advantage all dishes were translated. Aren't chinese characters efficient in space!
The choice was wide. So after a long list and a bit of a confusion, we decided on what we wanted. We were not bother to hurry, as we had to write our own order down. We got one of their specialties Xi'an Cured Pork in Bread to share, followed by a Noodle Soup with Bokchoy & Chunky Beef Soup as well as Dried Noodles with Shredded Chicken. As the lady came by to look at what we wrote, she gave us a choice of noodle types. We asked for their house-made ones. She also checked how spicy for the Shredded Chicken, and we asked for mild.
medium-bodied, smooth, sweet and herbal
Sipping on our tea, the bun came in no-time. The bread was rather flat and a bit dry (for a restaurant with bun in its name), but inside was one of the best pulled pork I've tasted - no bloody smell, all saucy strings. There were also a few herbs with a pronounced smell of cilantro. As much as I hate that herb, in this subtle case I actually found it light and refreshing.
Next, the soup was soo hot that I couldn't get my senses to flavour. Plenty of cilantro though, which I managed to fish out. Also some green onion, carrots and, of course, bokchoy. The meat inside was thick but lean and clean.
Overall the soup was a bit bland, but it was perfect together with the Shredded Chicken which turn out to be quite spicy. The julienned cucumber and carrot, together with the light chicken tried to contrast the spice in that thick sauce. Either way, the noodles were something else..a perfect texture and a light gummy tension in them.
heady with hints of nutmeg
We took some time to finish it up as a few more more tables filled up.
It hit me that last time, there was a little silver barrel on the side with warm soy milk on self-serve basis but this time it was all dried up.. perhaps a lunch thing.
On our way out, cheri did notice a bow on the side. We weren't sure what they were but we took a few beans to go - raw soybeans. As Chinese call it, the bean of happiness.
overall, a traditional huangju wine