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Last night, I had an extraordinarily good meal with extraordinarily good people.  Mary, my second mother, is visiting from Prince George, and her son Geoff (my pseudo-brother), his fiancé Sarah, my sister and I all gathered at Kirin Seafood Restaurant for dinner.  It’s a place that has been on my list for a while, and the holidays seemed like a good time to finally visit it.

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It’s a huge, high-end, bustling Chinese restaurant on the second floor of the Three West Centre on Westminster Highway.  It’s a short walk from Brighouse Station, so a good choice if you’re travelling by transit.

Before I get to the food, let me just say how impressive the service was; from the moment we were greeted at the front desk to the moment we left, we were treated like kings and queens.  Our main server, Eleman, was professional, incredibly attentive to detail, and so, so friendly.  This was by far some of the best service I’ve received in Richmond.

To top off the servers’ fine skills, the food was wonderful.  We ordered seven dishes for the five of us, and enjoyed every last one.

We started with a platter of roasted pork belly ($18), which was crunchy on top, soft inside, and full of flavour.

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We also began with bowls of hot and sour soup ($15.80), which was Mary’s favourite dish of the evening.  It was filled with seafood, pork, tofu, vegetables, and just the right amount of spice.

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A number of people on Twitter recommended we try the roasted squab ($16.80), so we ordered one, which is more than enough for four or five people.  It’s rich, after all!  The pigeon meat was dark, moist, and had an intense, almost liver-like flavour.

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The head was also included on the platter, a reverent reminder that yes, this was in fact once a living bird.

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My favourite dish of the evening was the Peking Duck ($24.80), both for its flavour, and the inevitable jokes that arose from ordering duck with two people whose last name IS Duck (Mary and Geoff).  It was served as two courses, the first being crispy duck skin with pancakes, hoisin sauce, green onion, and shrimp crackers.

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The pancakes were small and delicate, and we filled them with pieces of the duck skin, onion, and crackers, then dabbed on hoisin sauce and folded them up like tacos.  If there was a food truck serving these things, I’d be buying them every day; they’re a must-order at Kirin.

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The second course of Peking duck was lettuce wraps, with tender chunks of duck mixed in with vegetables, onion, and cabbage.  They came with more hoisin, a very crisp half-head of iceberg, and were wonderful.

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Next up were deep-fried prawns in spicy pepper salt ($20.80), which came with chopped green chili and fresh garlic.  We ate them with the shells still on (they were very soft, and that’s where all the good deep-fried batter was), and we loved them.  The garlic was a perfect addition.

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The most modest-looking dish of the evening was one of the best – slices of pan-fried black cod ($21.80) in a sweet, soy-based sauce.  The fish was perfectly cooked, and the sauce was pure, dark, sweet flavour.  Simplicity at its finest.

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For vegetables, we ordered the classic Shanghainese green beans with pork ($15.80); Kirin’s version was spicier than most others I’ve tried in Richmond, and the dish was hugely popular at our table.

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With dinner, we drank a grassy Casillero Diablo Sauvignon Blanc, which matched well with the meal as a whole.  We opted out of dessert, but they still brought us small complimentary bowls of tapioca in coconut milk.  It was barely sweet and refreshing.  A great way to end the meal.

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There wasn’t a dish I didn’t enjoy last night at Kirin, and like I said, the service could not have been better.  The prices are high for Richmond, so this is certainly a special occasion kind of place, and one I’d highly recommend.  There were many people serenaded with Happy Birthday last night, and the place had a festive, celebratory, and joyful atmosphere.  Thanks to Mary, Kate, Geoff, and Sarah for joining me – it was lovely to share such a special meal with family.

ps – Thanks to everyone for their recommendations on Twitter – they were bang-on!

 

Kirin Seafood Restaurant

7900 Westminster Highway, Richmond BC

604-303-8833

Cash and cards accepted

Vegetarian options available