My guest and I were looking for somewhere to eat within Richmond. The only problem was we were too late for lunch and too early for dinner. So we found ourselves with the need to drive around the city, in search of something that was open, that we liked, and/or were willing to wait until 5pm for (2hours).
This journey led us to “Memory Corner”, which sadly wasn’t our first choice, or even our fourth. But like most other bubble tea places, it had an earlier opening time and a later close with no breaks between lunch and dinner rushes.
Here, parking would be inconvenient if its neighbouring business were in operation. But on this weekend, there were enough free stalls at the back, one of a handful of shared spots in the alley.
This was a smaller cafe with modest decor. Wooden planks lined the bottom half of the walls and surrounded the bar. The top half of the wall was trimmed in black, with inky leaves climbing down towards the floor. Floors, that were tiled with spotted and aged squares. A few keepsakes and seasonal decorations lined the counter and sat on the bar. The smurf figurine and Spongebob sketches gave the place some personality.
We sat at one of their free tables by the window. Like the others, this one carried a laminated sign, asking for your patience. Everything is made fresh to order in the restaurant so it is necessary to wait for your meal, up to 30 minutes during their busier times. With their photo-heavy menu we were able to choose a few dishes to share based on how they looked.
The “Taiwanese meat sauce on rice” came surprisingly quick, which made me think it must have been premade, and simply kept warm in a rice cooker? (Despite the sign). Although it was thoroughly cooked and hot throughout. It was a cross between sticky rice and steamed rice, with plenty of thick beef sauce and chunks of meat for texture. All together it had a sweeter flavour, with the soy sauce, hard boiled egg, and pickle available for a change with tang and salt. This was Taiwanese comfort eating with simple home cook flavours.
The “Taiwanese shrimp pancake” was made with glutinous dough, bean sprouts, and vegetable. The pieces of shrimp were sparsely hidden with in the soggy pancake. It had a chewy and starchy texture that grows on you, the more you eat at it. It was finished with a vinegar-sweet sauce. Over it was the interesting texture that made it memorable. A texture you can’t find anywhere else, accept from our next dish.
“Meat ball in rice wrap”. The same gummy texture as above, but saltier with a fishy sauce and a shredded chicken filling.
The “House specialty lamb hot pot for one” came with rice and sauces. It was mild flavoured with a nice warming broth. The lamb meat was so tender that it fell off the bone. It was seasoned well enough to enjoy as is, and with a dip into the soy sauce and chilli dish.
We also ordered bubble teas to have with our meal, but it came half way through, after all the food and within to-go cups. The problem is that we both ordered drinks from their “potted milk” series, wanting it for its layer of cream and cookie “dirt”, finished off with a sprig of mint. In the plastic sealed cups, it came without this aesthetic. When I brought it to the attention of our servers they simply brought out some mint, which we inserted into our drinks, after we trimmed off the plastic seal ourselves (for this photo). Seeing as we were dining in, I didn’t think we had to clarify that the drinks were for here, especially having ordered them with everything else and dessert, all in one go.
Although I really shouldn’t have expected otherwise, given that there was so much difficulty in placing our drink orders in the first place. It felt like our server found our substitution too complicated. My guest needed to switch out regular milk with lactose-free soy in the original beverage he wanted. But this was not possible, in order to get a lactose-free beverage we had to order one that came listed under the “organic soy milk selection”. Which we did and it was the same difference. We then stressed that we wanted it “potted”. And once again we were disappointed in what actually came. The drinks themselves were just matcha soy milk tea and regular milk tea with grass jelly; topped with cream and Oreo cookie crumbles, that you mix in for an added sweetness and crunch. But you have to constantly stir before you sip, as the two do tend to separate.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
We were planning on having some dessert, and were eyeing the “Ferrero rocher honey toast”, but after such a blasé meal we decided to head somewhere else. There was nothing necessary bad with it, but on the same token there was nothing exciting about it either. Maybe it was that we had our heart set on three other stops before, and that we had to settle. But I cannot see myself driving all the way out to Richmond for this, nor I would not shy away from a return visit, if in the area. It was a meal that grows on you. Don’t deny your cravings.