December 5, 2017: I was invited by Sweven Media to a private tasting event at Green Tea Restaurant this past week! Green Tea Restaurant is newly opened in Markham and is the very first outpost restaurant from its well-known 50+ restaurants in China! This is the very first location outside of China in fact! I was excited to see what it was all about. Plus, I really love eating Chinese food; it’s like comfort food to me to be able to enjoy many dishes at a time by sharing with fellow tablemates. 🙂
Green Tea Restaurant is located at First Markham Place. Today, December 8, 2017, is actually their soft opening. If you see this blog post in time, you can go there and enjoy 50% off all dishes (excluding drinks. Dine-in. Cash only) just for today. (Their business hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.)
The tasting event began at 7 p.m. and I liked that it was such an intimate and cozy gathering of less than ten people. Jude and Zhe welcomed us warmly to the restaurant and gave a short introduction about this well-known restaurant serving up Hangzhou Chinese food.
The restaurant itself was designed after the stylings of ancient China and all of the bricks in the wall and interior design contained material all shipped directly from Hangzhou itself! It was gorgeous inside; so stylish yet traditional and very classy. When you walked in, it was like you stepped into China itself. Of course, the cups, bowls, cutlery, teapots and everything else we ate from were also from Hangzhou too!
We started off the evening’s tasting menu with the Boiled Chicken and Pig Tripe with White Pepper in Broth. I love Chinese broth soups and this was like no other. The soup was chock full of ingredients with chicken in each bowl, ginger slices, and herbs. The soup was slightly spicy with a heat that warmed your soul (hehe). By that, I mean it was a comfort food kind of soup. It was perfect for a cold evening; the white pepper helps you keep warm! The material of the soup’s bowl also kept the soup nice and hot even throughout our long photoshoots of the food (heh).
The Barbecue Pork was served on a heated plate with fire underneath to keep it warm. It was served with a dry spice powder. The barbecue pork was really good; tender and fatty. I like it when food is served on a heated plate since it ensures that it’ll stay warm until the last piece. 😀
The Assorted Skewers with Mixed Vegetables and Meat was a sight to behold. We were served two bowls of these with the skewer sticks sticking out of the bowls. This is a cold dish so don’t be alarmed when you reach into the bowl and pull out the skewers which has cold food. That’s just how it is! I remember the first time I ate something like this from Sichuan Kungfu Fish. It was so good!
The skewers contained seaweed tied up in a bow, chicken, and intestines in a chilled spicy broth. It wasn’t too spicy actually and was very tasty.
The Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs were gorgeous and tasty. Unlike most Chinese sweet and sour pork ribs, these were more sweet than sour (characteristic of the Hangzhou region). I liked how the firm meat detached easily from the bone when eating. These were gone within minutes! They were so good.
The Signature Barbecue Chicken was also served on a heated plate like the Barbecue Pork. This came with three sauces: Sweet and sour sauce, a dry spicy powder, and pumpkin sauce! Pumpkin sauce is another characteristic element of the Hangzhou food; adding a little sweetness to the chicken. The barbecue chicken was very nicely done with crispy skin and tender meat. Yummy.
The Pea Sprouts in Golden Soup was a surprising favourite. A lot of the foodies at the table commented that they don’t like veggies but that this dish was so good that they definitely enjoyed it. The pea sprouts were tender (as they should be!) in a pumpkin broth that was actually soup. It was a solid pea sprouts dish that was also cleared out almost immediately.
The Beef Temptation (stir-fried beef tenderloin with zucchini) was one of my faves that night. It’s not often that stir-fried beef tenderloin is done well. Thus, I much appreciated the chef’s effort in making it. I also liked this dish because the beef cubes were so tender and juicy and well seasoned. The mix of vegetables with it was such a good combination too!
The Steamed Egg with Minced Pork was a unique dish in that I’ve never seen steamed egg with minced pork in a brown-ish colour. Usually steamed egg is golden yellow. However, don’t discriminate it because this was another dish that was cleared out very quickly by everyone at the table. It was very good steamed egg and goes perfectly well with steamed rice! Who doesn’t like smooth and tasty steamed egg? 🙂
We got treated to a quick show when the Fire Shrimp came out. This was a dish where the shrimp inside the aluminum foil was stood up like a teepee and fire was set to it. We all definitely tried to capture the fire when it was emitted from the foil. This was fun to watch! The shrimps were on skewers!
For dessert, we enjoyed the Green Tea Pancakes. Despite this restaurant being called “Green Tea Restaurant,” it doesn’t mean that they serve everything green tea at all (I should have mentioned this at the beginning XD). They are called that name because the green tea leaves in Hangzhou are well known.
These Green Tea Pancakes were to be enjoyed hot since they were gooey in the centre and crispy on the outside. There were a lot of sesame seeds on them too. It was a very good dessert and definitely tasted of green tea!
The Bread Temptation was our last dessert of the night (after Zhe’s recommendation of it). It was a brick toast with pre-cut cubes of bread inside the bigger bread casing with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top of it. It was intense! Although it looked heavy, it actually tasted very light and not decadent at all. Although if you try this, you definitely will be ordering it to share and not to eat all for yourself! 😛
(It definitely reminded me of the decadent brick toast dessert at Dazzling Café.)
And there you have it, my experience of the tasting at Markham’s newest Southern Chinese restaurant, Green Tea Restaurant. Let me know if you go and if you find the food just as good as when I went! 🙂
Thank you to Sweven Media and Green Tea Restaurant for having us over for an authentic Hangzhou feast! 🙂
FTC Disclaimer: Although Sweven Media reached out and invited me to a complimentary tasting at Green Tea Restaurant, the opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of the companies.