We've had our fair share of gong shows, getting to and locating Cattle Cafe, but once we found it, I knew I had found a hot spot popular among those in the know. Cattle Cafe is a hidden gem near the La Quinta hotel in Richmond, BC. Many other interesting small asian restaurants are in the area, however Cattle Cafe isn't facing the parking lot as their address would suggest. Continue driving towards the La Quinta Hotel, and you'll see it on the right .
There is free parking on the roof and in the parking lot, but it is scarce due to so many small restaurants in the area. No one walks in Richmond. Save yourself the headache and don't even bother driving on to the roof as it's designed for accidents and road rage (never a good mix with asian drivers.) Come prepared to pay for street parking at $2/hr.
The small restaurant is bustling and lively serving up comforting Hong Kong Style cafe fare at a reasonable price. They do it well but don't expect a diverse menu. If you like asian food, especially things fried and coated in creamed corn you'll be fine. ;)
Many of the set meals come with beverages, either included or for a small added fee such as Milk tea, Honey tea, and Lemon tea. Definitely worth the value, and incredibly tasty too. The Milk tea had a nice after finish that isn't always there.
We began our meals with Radish XO pudding. It was hot, crispy and spicy on the outside, and smooth and creamy on the inside. I found it a little too hot, but I could bear it and appreciated the kick. I like to work for my culinary experiences after all. It's under $5 and arrives quick so I recommend it as a good starter. My Fiancee Jong, who is developing his palette for asian foods even enjoyed it, after I coaxed him to try this "asian tatter tot".
Fried ginger hot wings - an add on to our meal for only $1.50 for 3 (about $5 to get the full 6 if purchased alone), didn't last long as they were juicy and tastey.
With Jenny, I ordered the hong kong cafe staple, baked seafood rice, and we were surprised and delighted at the smoothness of the cream sauce, and the addition of crunchy european weiners. If you like this dish, you'll love it here.
And then we split a Malaysia Laksa.. Which let me warn you, stacking spicy foods with even spicier foods - not the smartest thing! As a Canadian-born Malaysian I both LOVE and can be critical of Laksa soups. The flavor was nice and spicy, but since the coconut milk was omitted it wasn't as rich.
For those with fish allergies, the soup base is chicken, not their fish soup, contrary to other blogs reporting being able to "taste the fishy flavor". The bean curd in the soup was fresh and soft - not rehydrated - which is a cost saving measured I was surprised they were not using. To get it as we had it, you must specify that you want it "not fried".
I returned a few days later with Jong, much wiser and ordered the white pepper, ginger fish soup and watched Jong burn as he ate his bowl of laksa. You can actually customize your bowl of soup and noodles with two toppings of your choice for a comparable price.
I spyed (oogled) a few neighbours eating the fried pork chop and steak specials, which looked satisfying enough, but not challenging enough to entice me to waste an opportunity for something more exciting. Someone was eating the Lo Mein - with what looked to be fresh and hand pulled noodles (probably not by them). Definitely worth investigating on another visit.
The food was delicious, but all of three of us reported having difficulty sleeping after. Wonder if its a side effect of MSG?
Oh on another note... Usually you can expect a few things from a typical asian restaurant.
- There will be a mop in the bathroom.
- You'll have to pay with cash only.
- And the service will be tough love to downright abusive.
At Cattle Cafe, it's true for 1+2, but the staff is surprisingly attentive and friendly.