I was invited to Chew a couple of weeks ago during their opening week to try some of their dishes.
While I was excited about the visit and looking forward to sampling an array of Taiwanese food, I left disappointed and hungry.
Chew is located along Kingsway where Tea Wok used to be. I found out later that Tea Wok and Chew have the same owner but the name change occurred to a complex situation.
Since we were there for a “grand opening” we had the opportunity to try the roast pig.
Everyone at my table enjoyed it and said that the skin was super crispy and meat was both juicy and tender. I could actually hear the crunch of the skin as they were biting their way through it.
The first thing we got to try were two of their fresh fruit slushes. We actually saw them cut and hollow out the fruit at the bubble tea bar and blend the drinks away. They weren’t anything too special and we had no complaints because we had already waited a good 30 minutes before these arrived.
After waiting another 30 minutes, we finally received our appetizers. By now we were all getting a little hangry and lit up immediately when the platter came to our table.
Calamari: Neko said that they weren’t bad but she’s had better and that they were on the salty side.
Pig ears: Not sure, didn’t try because they just arent my thing
Fried chicken: Crispy and fried, pretty standard as far as this dish goes in comparison to other Taiwanese restaurants
Pickled cabbage: The pieces could have been cut smaller because most of us ended up with large chunks of cabbage on our plates
Lotus root chips: These were definitely over fried because some of them were quite brown and tasted burnt
Milk tea: there was a general consensus at our table that it was very heavy in black tea flavor in compared to some of the other milk tea we’ve tried. The pearls were a little too soft for Neko and my liking though.
Sauteed shrimp with green onion: very oily, came to the table lukewarm, seasoned with soy sauce
Claypot Chicken: not sure what type of chicken since the servers didn’t tell us what any of the dishes were and sounded confused when we asked them anything….but I think it was soy sauce braised? This also came to our table warm…which was ridiculous because we waited 20 minutes for this….you would think it would at least come hot!
Matcha and black tea: nothing too special here, typical iced teas but I guess the top was foamier?
Chili wontons: We didn’t understand why they found it necessary to put each one in individual cups and we thought it was a waste of time to do so and totally un-environmentally friendly for that matter. They really could of just put them all on the same plate…instead of giving it to us in plastic cups.
The wontons were filled with pork and shrimp but weren’t anything exceptional. They lacked flavor and although Neko and I weren’t fans of them, we didn’t give it a second thought to have another one because we were just so hungry!
Pork of sorts: Not sure what this was…but it was a bed of mangled looking dry meat on a bed of green onion. Not a fan and it was one of the last dishes we had before we gave up waiting and leaving…
Pork hot pot: had napa cabage, pork, tofu, fish balls, beef balls and bean thread. We didn’t know why there was such a thick layer of oil on top of the hot pot because it made it inedible. It was bland, and the meats were overcooked as well. So it was definitely not worth the wait.
Spicy pork hotpot: As with the original one, the chili oil on top was so thick that it coated everything in the pot. We couldn’t even eat it because all we could taste was the oil when we ate anything in it.
It’s unfortunate when none of us wanted to even try having any more of it despite being starvingly hungry
The event started late and we received our food in 20-30 minute increments. We wouldn’t of minded the wait if the food was substantial in portion size in comparison to the amount of people at the table (8 at ours) but this wasn’t the case.
I understand that there were a bunch of personal issues going on with the owner, the kitchen staff left and there wasn’t much wait staff but the situation could have been handled better. My table left before the event was over because we were far too hungry to wait any longer (we were there for 2.5 hours already).
I hope that Chew has gotten itself back into the swing of things because it does have potential