I’ve recently heard about this new-ish noodle shop called Chef Papa Tea & Noodle Bar that is located at Peachtree Centre in Markham and how it is very similar to Deer Garden and even better than the popular fish soup noodle restaurant so I decided to check it out. My mom and I came here for an early dinner on a Tuesday.
.We were here just before 5 p.m. and the place was very empty. This restaurant used to be a Congee Wong, but for some reason (either they relocated or closed down) they closed down one day after being there for many, many years. Chef Papa Tea & Noodle Bar has taken its place and renovated the space to reflect a noodle shop, meaning that there are very few tables for large groups and more tables that are for two to four people and even for singles. They expect the place to have a high turnover this way so that they can intake more customers. Thus, I feel that the space is a little cold and uninviting. The high partitions between the tables don’t help either and gives a feeling of closedness.
Nevertheless, we sat in a booth and surveyed the menus.
Similar to Deer Garden, the menu is very straight forward. You pick your soup base (fish soup, ramen, or Vietnamese), type of noodle, two types of toppings, and any side dish that you want to add on to your meal. Each choice of noodle soup also includes a drink.
The selection of soup base and noodles were pretty much the same as at Deer Garden. The toppings and side dishes were definitely different though! I loved that you could order some Taiwanese popcorn chicken as the side dish. Yay! It’s my favourite! 😀 The drinks were also a great selection because Chef Papa Tea & Noodle Bar is actually partnered up with Presotea — you could choose this brand of bubble tea as your drink for an extra charge! Otherwise, you can choose from their regular drinks which are part of the meal.
I also really liked and admired that they used laminated order sheets instead of just paper ones. This meant that after you placed your order by drawing with a carbon pencil on the laminated order sheet and handing it to the server, the laminated ordered sheet could be reused again by future guests. This eliminates all paper needed to order and reduces waste completely. I know that at Deer Garden, every new customer submits a new order sheet. While it is easier for the restaurant this way, it creates a lot of wasted paper (unless they reuse it, but let’s face it, very few people reuse paper nowadays).
I ordered Original Fish Soup, Thick Rice Vermicelli Noodle, with half boiled egg, and Taiwanese Cuttlefish Ball in my bowl of noodles. I also ordered a side dish of the “Taiwanese Fried Chicken Nuggets” with a Longan & Red Date Tea. My drink arrived first and it came in a really nice tall paper cup with a plastic top that I could take out if I wanted to. It was so hot and perfectly sweet. Longan & Red Date Teas are really good for you! 🙂
I really liked the thick rice vermicelli noodles but I found that the quantity was less than that of Deer Garden. The original fish soup was pretty good too but we found that it wasn’t boiling hot upon serving. The half boiled egg was pretty good.
The popcorn chicken (not sure why they call it “Taiwanese Fried Chicken Nuggets” here, was actually amazing! I am always, always, always in search of delicious popcorn chicken and I believe that Chef Papa Tea & Noodle Bar serves it very authentically. It is not in huge chunks and it is covered with a light dusting of pepper and fried well. It was good! 🙂
My mom ordered a bowl of Baked Garlic with White Pepper soup with Thick Rice Vermicelli noodles with sliced beef, Chef Papa fresh made fish puff, side order of fish cutlet with tartar sauce, and an English milk tea.
She also thought that the soup base wasn’t hot enough for her taste and that the Baked Garlic and White Pepper base wasn’t very tasty. I found that the sliced beef was a little too thick and tasted very average. The fish puffs were pretty good though. The fish cutlet also was pretty good with the tartar sauce (more like mayo) and fried to a good crispy texture.
My favourite part about Chef Papa Tea & Noodle Bar and how they have tried to duplicate Deer Garden is that they serve drinks from Presotea (for people who like this brand) and a delicious Longan & Red Date Tea and that they have popcorn chicken as side dishes. I’m not sure if I’ll return again to try their other dishes as their noodle soup wasn’t very impressive. They also do serve other signature noodle soups that aren’t custom made as well as rice dishes.
They are a little more expensive than Deer Garden though and from the looks of their lack of customers, we’ll have to see how well they fare and if they have staying power… especially in a restaurant-filled plaza like Peachtree Centre.
Have you tried Chef Papa Tea & Noodle Bar yet? Your thoughts? 🙂