Eatery Reviews / Continental Seafood Restaurant
Since I was off for a week, thought I would take a drive down Richmond, and check out the Rainflower Restaurant (and the legend of their infamous tacky couch!). Actually, I really wanted to check out their durian pastry (me and wifey being durian lovers from young), and see how it compared to HML Seafood Restaurant's durian puff pastry (which I had had the pleasure of sampling at a dinner at a relative's place awhile back). But something nagged at me. Maybe it's the multiple warnings about the equally infamous lack of parking or some such. I don't know. So I changed my mind just a day before, scoured the Internet, checked out some reviews, and finally settled on Continental Seafood Restaurant due to some positive reviews. So, time to put those reviews to the test!
The spacious dining interior of Continental Seafood Restaurant.
We arrived on a Friday about at 10:10am. Lots of empty parking spots in front of the restaurant. See, I have this habit of hitting restaurants when they just open if possible. Why? Parking aplenty, less people, fresh food, good table spots, etc. They seated us in the middle right next to the main aisle, which was good since I'd read they still employ the push-cart style! I had a chair littered with sizable crumbs left over presumably from the night before, so I switched seats. A server came by in a bit and asked what tea we would like, and I went with kok poh (Chrysanthemum tea). In short order, they brought over a teapot of hot water coupled with another teapot of Chrystanthemum tea. Wifey found the tea too thick and dark. I drank it all the same. We added more water to it later to thin it down. Took a couple of rounds really to finally get it to a reasonable thickness to our liking.
Anyway, on to the push-cart of stuff. This was where we'd erred in coming early. The push-cart only came out a good 25 minutes or so after we'd settled ourselves. It had the steaming hot basics - har gow (shrimp dumpling), siu mai (pork dumpling), sticky rice - and the server asked if we wanted Chee Cheong Fun (rice noodle roll). And so, for Chee Cheong Fun, we opted to go with shrimp (they had BBQ pork as well), which they then added sauce on top. We also asked for lat chew yau (chili oil), which the server gingerly took a big scoop out of the cart, and promptly served it to us there and then. Surprising, since at most dim sum places we'd been to in the past, they'd have to go get it from the kitchen. Sometimes they just plain forget and I have to ask twice (if I have to ask three times, the tip seriously takes a HUGE dive!).
Yummy Siu Mai, Har Gow, Sticky Rice and Chee Cheong Fun. Don't forget the hot sauce!
All this, and you're probably wondering by now - was the wait worth it? Damn right it was. :P The siu mai with its mix of minced pork and mushroom was delicious! The har gow was equally tasty as well, and unlike some dim sum restaurants when it came to the wraps, these little morsels did not fall apart. No complaints with the Chee Cheong Fun as well, but nothing really outstanding about it either. And we also found that the sticky rice was NOT wrapped in lotus leaf as stated in the menu but in what looked like bamboo leaves instead, which is usually used for wrapping bak chang (sticky rice dumpling). Not that it was that big of a deal, but I'm a stickler for details. Definitely messy when opening it, but the tastiness of the sticky rice with dried shrimp and other stuff more than made up for the hassle.
Sticky rice in bamboo leaves. Uh, bamboo leaves? Where's the lotus leaf?
No more push-cart came along for awhile. The next time it came along again, it didn't seem to have much choices that we liked, and so we sat there waiting... and wondering if they have a menu! I flagged down a server, shot off an order for chau yau yee (fried squid) at the spur of the moment, and asked for a menu, which she then went off and came back with in a matter of minutes. Oh, before I forget, one thing to note about the push-carts. We only saw one push-cart making a few rounds for the duration of our eating there. It was only when we were about to leave around 11:30am that we saw two come out with more varieties.
Curry Squid... just a loadful of curry squid with no fluff.
Back to the menu. Holy shmoly! The menu had pictures!!! And so, our orders resumed in earnest. I scoured the menu for anything resembling durian, but unfortunately, they had none. Oh well. So after much deliberating with the wife, we ordered Curry Squid and Beef Spare Ribs in black pepper sauce to complete our eating out for the day. Wifey loved the curry squid. To top it off, the curry squid had NO PADDING below. Some dim sum restaurants tend to do that and make the volume of squid look like more than it really is. Not so here, so I was kinda surprised to find the curry squid dish full of, well, simply curry and squid!
Deep Fried Squid lightly battered.
The deep fried squid was lightly battered, and somehow tasted milky. While I am a huge fan of fried stuff, wifey wasn't, and so I ended up eating 3/4 of the portion. The beef spare ribs came cushioned by a few pieces of pumpkin in black pepper sauce. While Wifey and I enjoyed it, I felt it was rather light on the black pepper compared to some other dim sum places we had eaten in the past. If I had to judge the dish on its own, we thought it was simply... okay.
Beef Spare Ribs. Wifey just had to dig into it while I'm taking a pic. Thanks a lot Wifey! :)
By the time we were done eating around 11:30am, service was in earnest, and the push-carts came out with more goodies. We were well and full by then, and so decided to call it a day. While wifey was gone to the restroom, I summoned the bill, and this was where something interesting happened when I told them I wanted to pay by debit. The server wasn't sure how it functions especially when it came to keying in the pin, so she brought along both the device and an unsmiling lady manager. I had toyed with debit card readers numerous times, and promptly let them know that in Cantonese while they were hovering around me watching me key in the tip. I smiled my sweetest smile, changed the default from 15% to 10% (the lady manager let off a hint of a smile... or was it a smirk?), keyed in the rest, and that was that. No fuss, no complaints, and everyone was happy... I think. At least Wifey and I was.
As we were walking out, one of the managers(?) pleasantly thanked us for coming, and so our dim sum excursion ended on an overall positively high note. Of course, when we left the restaurant, we noticed the parking lots right in front of the restaurant were by then totally filled. Sure, there were still ample parking spots around, but just not in front of the restaurant.
In summary, Wifey and I thought the food was great and service was attentive (the servers can converse in English and Cantonese as well). Would we be back? Heck yes. Would we be there when they just open in the morning? HELL NO! Yes, we had learnt our lesson with this restaurant. The next time around, maybe we'd come by around 11:00am instead (they open at 10:00am)! ;) So, if you do intend to check out this awesome dim sum restaurant, keep in mind this review was for a weekday. I am not sure how the weekend would be like though. Good luck!
Tagged as: continental seafood restaurant, dim sum, siu mai, shu mai, pork dumpling, har gow, shrimp dumpling, prawn dumpling, chee cheong fun, rice noodle roll, richmond, push-cart, pushcart, push cart, beef spare ribs, black pepper sauce, deep fried squid, curry squid