Cold Tea Restaurant is a newly opened restaurant that serves Chinese-Vietnamese dishes. They offer all day dimsum, Chinese BBQ, and Vietnamese family style food, along with unique handcrafted cocktails. I was invited by my friend, Brenda, to try out some dishes and drinks.
Cold Tea Restaurant is located at the former location of Tsui Hang Village Restaurant, and I would say it is more convenient to transit than to drive here. It is just a less than 10 minute walk from Downtown Vancouver. The interior is spacious and modern, with amazing natural lights shining into the restaurant. It is clean and comfortable to dine here.
Post-COVID-19 Dine-In Experience
As the restaurant is very spacious, Cold Tea should have no problem with social distancing. I went on a non-busy time, which guests are scattered and dined in different corners of the restaurant. Hand sanitizer is offered in the front desk, but it is not required for customers to use it. Unfortunately, no staffs in the restaurant wore masks or gloves during the dining period.
To start off, we ordered two drinks, Lucky Lemonade (mocktail) and Garden Fizz (cocktail). I didn’t try the cocktail, but Brenda enjoyed it. I also enjoyed the Lucky Lemonade, which contains strawberry syrup, lemon juice, simple syrup, soda, and bitters. The drink is tarte and refreshing, which is great in a hot sunny day. We both found the drinks here are reasonably priced, and the drinks are creative – inspired by Vietnamese and Chinese flavors. For example, Cuppa’ Joe is their take on an alcoholic version of Vietnamese iced coffee.
We ordered few dishes to share. The Spicy Chicken XO Wontons uses chicken wontons instead of the traditional shrimp and pork fillings. I found the dumplings too salty, which covers the XO sauce and spicy oil flavor. When I was ordering, I thought it would be similar to the Chinese dish, Sichuan Spicy Wonton in Red Oil. I definitely wish the wontons are spicier with a less salty filling.
Big Bird is a fried chicken thighs bao, with marinated cucumber, pickled onion, and sriracha mayo. I love how soft the bao is, and the chicken is seasoned well. I wish there is more meat than batter, with a thinner layer of sauce. The kick of heat was nice, and I enjoyed it so much. I would definitely come back for other baos on the menu.
The next dish is quite unique to see in Vancouver because I haven’t tried an authentic or “real” lai fun (??) yet. For anyone who doesn’t know what it is, it is a type of Chinese rice noodles. It is thick and short, and you often see them with roasted duck or goose (??/????). Cold Tea Restaurant created the Lai Fun Carbonara. It is served with 5 spiced cured bacon, cream, sous vide egg, parmesan, green onion, and chili threads. I personally didn’t quite enjoy this fusion dish, as lai fun is quite heavy and filling to begin with. Adding carbonara makes it heavier after a few bites. The noodles itself is quite bland, and majority of the flavor comes from the cured bacon. The sous vide egg is gorgeous and perfect though.
They also offer $5 all-day dim sum, and we grabbed the BBQ Pork Buns. Each order comes with 2 buns, and it is fairly cheap. The buns are pillowy soft, and the BBQ pork filling is nicely seasoned. The bun-to-filling ratio is great too. Brenda and I both agreed that we will definitely return for this.
We also ordered a classic Char Siu on Rice, with egg and 3 grain rice. Unfortunately, the char siu didn’t arrive as expected. Instead of the BBQ pork we normally see that has a great proportion of lean and fat meat, with a honey-taste, lightly-roasted skin, the char siu here is sous-vide. It is thinly sliced, very lean, with not much flavors. I was disappointed about it, but I do like the offerings of 3 grain rice here.
Lastly, we ended up our meal with a Vietnamese-inspired dessert, Brûlée Ca Phe Sua Da. This is by far the best creme brulee I tried in Vancouver. It uses French roasted coffee and condensed milk custard, topped with a thin layer of hardened caramelized sugar. The custard is silky smooth, with a strong coffee flavor. The bitterness is balanced with the subtle sweetness from the condensed milk and caramel. This dessert is spectacular.
Overall, the dining experience is great, with comfortable and spacious seatings. I would say the dishes here are good for small groups (3-4 people). I understand that it is a fusion restaurant, but I think some dishes should keep its authenticity to some extent, such as the Char Siu on Rice. Other dishes such as the BBQ Pork Buns and Brûlée Ca Phe Sua Da are items that I would return for. I didn’t try much of the Vietnamese dishes, and I would come back for more.
Taste : 3.5/5 • Service: N/A • Ambiance: 4.5/5 • Quality-Price: 3.5/5