02 August 2011

Alvin's Garden (Burnaby)

Alvin Garden 湘緣湖南食府 on Urbanspoon

I've heard of many people saying how much they like the food at Alvin's Garden. As for myself, I was a bit put off by the thought of how salty and spicy the dishes may be. Still, they were all my assumptions only. When Greeny mentioned about trying this place for its lunch special, my adventurous mind was cooperating that day.
I actually been there once couple years ago. From what I remembered, the interior was quite different. I think it was because they went through a reno and expanded the restaurant as well. On the wall, we could see the awards that they have and the restaurant was almost full during weekday lunch time. That says something, right? =)

Daily Soup - Preserved Vegetable and Tofu Soup (Complimentary) - 2/6
The soup that came with the lunch special changes daily. With this particular one, I wasn't overly impressed with it. The soup itself was pretty blend despite the strong aroma from the preserved vegetable in there; the tofu was thinly sliced. The only plus side would be the portion; it was quite sizeable as the complimentary soup.

Spicy Flavoured Chicken ($5.98) - 4/6
When the dish came, I was surprised by the chicken being soaked in the chilly oil. I thought it was going to be extremely spicy. It was just oily and moderately spicy (for me).  The chicken itself was slightly marinated; or perhaps I should say that the spiciness overshadowed the rest of the flavours. The texture of the chicken was firm and boneless, which made it easy to enjoy. There was bean sprout in the bottom - I didn't eat any because it was too oily for me.

Cumin Lamb and Vegetable on Rice ($7.98) - 6/6
Not everyone's a fan of the cumin taste; I wasn't very receptive of it until these couple years. This one didn't have a overly strong cumin taste; the lamb was flavourful and soft to chew on. I was surprised that although it was on the rice, it didn't make the rice soggy at all. It also has the beef version if you're more of a beef person than lamb.

Hunan Pickles and Pork on Rice ($6.98) - 5/6
There's quite a bit of green and red pepper in this dish, which helped with the presentation. The pork strips were very soft and the Hunan pickle wasn't overly salty. Similar to the cumin lamb, there was a good amount of sauce for the rice but not overly to make the rice soggy.

Honestly, I actually like the dishes that we had. Sure the Spicy Flavoured chicken was soaked in spicy oil, it wasn't overwhelmingly spicy. The flavour was quite strong for all dishes but I thought it was mainly because of the spices that were used. It was quite an enjoyable meal for sure.

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