Pachira at Queen/Coxwell
This is the Asian restaurant that replaced Fok Luc Sau Asian Delight a few months ago. I was hesitant to try the new menu, but I was jones-ing for some spicy noodles.
Fok Luc Sau, in its defence, gave this corner in The Beach a little variety. Yes, it served a motley of standardized Asian dishes and nothing terribly exciting or innovative, but it's situated at the same intersection as a Subway, KFC and Coffee Time (as well as a Money Mart and a neon-pink porn depot). When I got a craving for radioactive red sweet and sour sauce and fried rice, Fok Luc Sau was there.
I was hoping for better from Pachira, but it fell flat.
The decor is a needed improvement from Fok Luc Sau, which was plastered with Asian tackiness. Instead of bamboo wall treatments, waterfalls and paper fans, it's now sleek and cool with low lights and dark woods (except for the kitchen area, which is downright ugly and doesn't blend with the rest of the interior design - too bad the area is not concealed).
The Pad Thai ($8.50 for chicken and shrimp, $7.50 for tofu and vegetables) is gummy and is lacking a sufficient amount of chicken and shrimp. The vegetables are slightly overcooked and the entire dish is not well-seasoned. In a word, BLAND. Boring. The spring rolls (2 for $2) fare not much better, being mushy and bland. The accompanying Thai dipping sauce is sour from too much rice vinegar and it's not spicy. The hot and sour soup, though, is decent, but it would benefit from more mushrooms and less tofu. It's flavoured well and priced at $3.50.
I will investigate the dumplings and Mandarin pancakes, which I am happy to see on the menu. I am hoping they'll be Pachira's redemption.
Thanks for this! I tried the last place and it was awful (my wife and I dubbed it Asian Disappointment) but hoped the new place was good. When I checked out the menu, I saw it had you choose your meat, then your sauce, making me wonder how much of the food was pre-cooked and then whipped together once you ordered.
When I complained about lack of spice at the last place, the lady said to me that people in the area couldn't handle the spice. Oh really? So what is India Bazaar then? I wish more places would cook dishes the way they're supposed to be served and stop this stupid pandering to "local" tastes. You end up pleasing no one.
I'm sorry you had this experience 2 years ago at Pachira, but I encourage you to try it again. We go every time we see a movie at the Beach cinemas. The yummy Lion's Head soup, a simple meatball/bok choy/broth concoction, has become soulfood for me now. Their pad thai is lovely- no ketchupy sauce here. And while a little greasy, the mandarin wraps are a lovely indulgence, with their sweet drippy sauce. And the prices are phenomenal. I can't understand why so many people are sitting next door eating expensive chewy steaks at the Tulip. Please give Pachira another try.