Kalvin's Szechuan Restaurant
Yesterday my grandparents and I went to Kalvin's for lunch! On our last excursion here, they were actually closed, because it was Wednesday haha! So we ended up going to Western Lake for dim sum instead! We weren't sure if we were going to get a table this time, being that it was saturday but our party of 3 managed to get seated without having to wait! My grandparents have been to Kalvin's multiple times with their friends but it was my first time going! They have a 96% rating on Urbanspoon and a 4 star rating on yelp, which is pretty impressive!
Signature DishesKalvin's is a Taiwanese - Szechuan restaurant famous among the chinese community for their take on classic taiwanese dishes like red fermented pork, pork skirt meat and san bei chicken! They also have a large selection of spicy szechuan dishes. They even have dim sum items like XLB and dumplings. You can also buy their dim sum frozen if you ask.
Kalvin's has surprisingly good service. The waitresses were really polite and fetched us extra glasses of water without hesitation. Near the end of the meal they came around to change our plates, which was too late then, because we were already done eating haha.
This place is tiny! They really should consider expanding because their restaurant capacity just isn't enough to serve the volume of customers they receive! The restaurant only has about 8 tables, all within very close proximity of one another so space is tight.
Price - Affordable $
Our total for 4 dishes + a container of rice came to $41.50! If you're in a group of 4 people ordering 4 dishes should suffice, which would only cost about $10 per person! They also have lunch combos that come with rice + a main dish for $7-8!
Value - Great
Kalvin's is definitely offers great value for the money. The food is delicious, the prices are fair, and the portion sizes are generous, which makes for a winning combination! We enjoyed every one of the dishes we tried and left really satisfied!
Red Fermented Pork $6
4/5 starsThis was a great interpretation of red fermented pork! We all really enjoyed this dish, even my grandpa, who hates fried food! It wasn't as red as other versions I've tried, the red colour was only apparent on the inside lining of the pork. This was in the appetizer section of their menu but we all agreed it could have been considered an main dish because the portion size was quite large! The pieces were stacked on top of each other and there was a ton underneath.
The exterior was fried perfectly: crispy, crunchy, without being overly oily. It had just the right amount of fat, not too much as to be overbearing, but just enough to give it that chewy texture. The seasoning was spot on, exhibiting just the right amount of spices.
Halibut w/ SoyBean Crisp $14.99
I really enjoyed the textures of this dish, the crispness of the soybean really accentuated the softness of the halibut. There were two large pieces of halibut underneath. The halibut wasn't seasoned and relied on the soy bean crisp for flavour. The soybean was well flavoured without being overly salty. You can also get this dish in the squid version or with other types of fish.
Chicken w/ Chilli Sauce $8.50
This is another one of their popular dishes! The table beside us tried to order it but it was already sold out by 1 pm! For an "appy" this was huge! I ended up eating half of the dish by myself hehe because my grandparents couldn't finish it. They ask you how spicy you want it and we got "xiao,xiao,xiao,xiao" which means "little,little,little,little" haha because my grandpa can't eat spicy things! Does this look like "little" spicy to you? We were pretty sure that they got our order wrong because this was more along the lines of medium spicy. Or they just pre mix the sauce and adjust the chilli according to how you order it.My grandpa had to get a separate bowl to wash off the chilli oil.
We all agreed that the chilli oil sauce was delicious! It was 3 dimensional, it starts off on a sour note, with hints of sesame oil, and ends off with a spiciness in that hits you in the back of your throat.
Pork Skirt Meat w/ Soy Sauce Paste $6
If I were an inanimate object...I would be a rice bucket! I ending up eating about 3/4 of this hehe, yes I could probably live on rice alone jk ;)
Kalvin's might *possibly* receive the coveted title of one of my favourite Taiwanese restaurants in the GVR! All of the dishes were really solid and well executed. I'll definitely be back!