Review of Kim Lan Vietnamese restaurant in Calgary
There are painfully few Vietnamese restaurants in NW Calgary, so we decided to try the new Kim Lan in Beacon Hill shopping centre to see if it measured up to our favorites.
The store itself is rather plain and is fairly small as well. When we entered we were greeted and sat in what was apparently booth #1 as evidenced by the small black on gold metal “1” stuck on the wall beside us.
We looked over the menu and saw the normal things we expected from Spring rolls to Phở. Nancy and I decided to both have the Bún thịt nướng or Grilled pork and Spring rolls on Vermicelli.
We started with some Prawn Salad Rolls and a Strawberry Bubble Tea. The wrap the rolls were in was a little stale but on the whole it was fair, and the dipping sauce was good(I’ve had some that were not, like the one that seemed to be peanut butter with soy sauce).
The Bubble Tea was the basic powdered flavoring fast food type you can buy in any of 100 places in the city and was not very good compared to just the ones at T&T Market , even the pearls were more like lumps of jello than tapioca. So far the meal was not living up to what we’d hoped for.
The meal arrived and looked to be fairly good. It was warm,the pork was fresh and nicely grilled, the spring roll pieces were crisp and it smelled nice. We didn’t however receive the extras we are used to getting at Quynh like the little plate of sprouts, lime slice, fresh basil leaf with the Phở or in this case fish sauce & hot pepper with the Bún etc. The dish was good and I have nothing I can point out that was off-putting about it aside from having to ask for fish sauce, but it was not on par with others we’ve had.
Along with our main course we decided to try one of their Satay Beef subs because we like Vietnamese Bánh mì so much. The sandwich was fairly small when compared with others we’ve had. The bun was crispy on the outside and fresh inside however like it should be. This offering suffered from the same “plainness” as the other dishes with things missing inside such as mayo and cheese, which we’ve come to expect in a satay sub. The satay sauce was more hot than flavorful and while I’m not one to complain about heat in my food it’s the lack of any real flavor that was so disappointing.
All in all our meal at Kim Lan was okay, but there was nothing stand out about any of the food and I left wondering why they didn’t put a little more effort into making the dishes. If this place is to survive they are going to need to distinguish themselves from the rest of the crowd in a city were good Asian food is not hard to find.