Been here a few times for Dim Sum, but it was my first (and last) dinner experience. While dim sum is not bad (if you can handle the massive crowds), dinner was very disappointing. We ordered a few large items like lobster and fish, but it tasted horrible. The sauce on the lobster was totally off and everything else was not good. The ambiance is what you would expect out of a large poorly cleaned restaurant - lots of tables, lots of people, but dingy and you don't feel comfortable. I imagine at one point in time when they first opened they were good, but it has gone downhill. In my opinion, not worth it-there are better choice in Richmond.
Walking into a densely packed restaurant is not something you want to do unless it is worth the craving. On the contrary, would entering an empty restaurant give you the opposite feeling? Today, we strolled into “HML Seafood Restaurant” on No.3 Road in Richmond and were surprised by the half vacant seating they had at around lunch time. Now, HML is obviously not a high-end restaurant, nor a nice one, but I would categorize it as a higher-end budget friendly Chinese joint. The venue itself is decorated quite nicely, but you can tell that the utensils and tableware have worn quite old. There is no tea charge at HML, and it is 20% off dim sum every single day.
After several minutes of contemplation, we quickly decided on six favorite dishes which are musts when ordering dim sum.
金粟帶子腸粉 Steamed Rice Rolls with Scallop - $4.95 (4.5/7)
The noodle roll was soft, chewy, and cooked to perfection (though not many restaurants can screw this dish up). While the tender scallops complemented the dish impeccably, the unmentioned corn kernels did not.
Steamed Rice Rolls Stuffed with Chinese Donut Topped with Shredded Pork - $4.95 (5.25/7)
This was probably our favorite dish. The tangy Hoisen (Seafood) Sauce definitely suited the delicious combination of the tender rice noodle wrap and savoury deep fried bread. It was dusted on top with pork floss, which is a processed dried meat product with a light and fluffy texture.
Steamed Turnip Cake with Preserved Meat - $3.95 (5.5/7)
**No picture as we were way too excited to try it that we dived in and before you know it, it was all gone**
Normally we would order fried turnip cake (served with Hoisen Sauce) or stir-fry XO Sauce turnip cake, but we decided to try something new today. The dish was pleasantly oil free with a nice aroma of green onions and dried meat. Though plain, it is definitely something that we will reorder.
明月樓水晶蝦餃皇 Superior Steamed Shrimp Dumplings - $4.25 (5/7)
These plump dumplings taste especially good when you dip them in the sweet soy sauce provided with the Rice Noodle Roll dishes. The dumplings at HML tasted pretty much the same as the ones that you can get at Fisherman’s Terrace (Aberdeen) or Shi-Art (Richmond Centre), so we were quite content with them. The size of the dumplings were on the bigger side and the dumpling skin’s thickness was just right.
御厨流沙飽 Steamed Custard Bun - $3.95 (5/7)
When it came down to dessert, we really had to ruminate before ordering. Dim sum offers a plethora of delectable desserts which makes it extremely hard to choose. Contemplating between the egg custard tarts and the egg yolk custard buns, we finally decided with the buns because of the cold weather. The steamed bun itself was fresh and moist while the filling was nice and viscous. Our favorite part about this dessert was that it was not too sweet at all!
酥皮白麻蓉焗布甸 Baked Tapioca Pudding Stuffed with Sesame Paste - $3.75 (4.75/7)
This is a classic Chinese dessert shrunk down to dim sum sized portion. The top is covered by a baked pineapple bun crust while the inside is comprised of a thick gooey tapioca pudding with a tantalizing sesame paste at the bottom. As much as this is one of our favorite desserts, HML simply did not make it well enough. I must admit that it was delicious, but we have had much better elsewhere.
That concludes our short dim sum lunch! The bill ended up coming to $26 after tax and tip. We walked out extremely full and reasonably satisfied. It would be worthwhile to accentuate that the majority of the staff here do not speak English. Thankfully, they do have an English/Chinese scantron type of ordering sheet where you can tick off the dishes you want and simply hand it to the server.
Came here for the first time in a few years. Seems like there has always been a Chinese restaurant here but I was told this one opened a few months ago. Couldn't really tell the difference as the layout remains the same as well as the decor. Dim sum M-F is 20% off which is good. The normal items (Har Gow, dumplings, steamed rice noodles etc) were good. Had some stir fried rice and noodle dishes on special for $7. Tried the fried rice and it was just OK. Speciality items were a bit more expensive at $7+. Overall good service and value and would return on a weekday. Cost was approx. $12/person.
A planned dim sum gathering prompted a visit at one of our safe haven choices. I knew the name had changed but didn't expect a revamp but some glaring differences presented themselves.
Same furnishings but our table, aptly parked next to a large refrigeration/ac unit made for poor surroundings, but it was also situated next to the dirty plates station so we were never inconspicuous per se. We aren't picky with our seating but compared the rest of the room, there is a difference.
Menu appeared to be altered but much of the popular items remain including what looked like some newcomers. Overall, the dishes were slightly par with the previous incarnation but special mention goes out to their desserts (the flakey milk egg tarts and mango and pomelo pudding especially), which were all fantastic, enough to boost their overall food score on an otherwise 3 rating.
The service was the biggest contrast. Much of the old staff appeared to be gone and perhaps combined with the recent re-opening, kinks were to be had and probably made the problems more glaring. Service was best described as disjointed, confused and slow. We waited about 20 minutes before our first dishes arrived. We made 2 orders but never received an updated order sheet, so bussers always had to ask if the dishes they carried were ours. We never received our shrimp dumplings from the first order as it was backlogged so we kept asking on the status but received different answers from different staff. We are quick diners and even in our haste, I don't think we could've trimmed down on our almost 3hr escapade.
All of us liked it enough to be willing to come back so we'll tempt the vapid service but we're hoping it was a one off.
Went here with a group of friends for New Years dim sum and we all left satisfied. Dim sum ordered off a card and all the usual suspects are available (har gow, sticky rice, rice rolls, etc) along with some interesting dishes like fried yam balls. Food was generally well made and came out very fresh. Can't specify any complaints although I wasn't wowed with many of the dishes (except for the deep fried yam balls). Service was very prompt and orderly - the head waiters would take your order, tea was refilled by the waiters, dim sum ladies dropped off your order and cleared away the empties.
Ambiance was quite nice with decent seating, comfortable chairs and unblemished place settings. The room is banquet sized and presentable enough to hold weddings, so you're not going to be dining in a Chinese hole-in-the-wall. Value...is about average, even with the 20% discount. The menu pricing is comparable to the top-tiered dim sum places, so after you factor in the 20% discount, you're paying in the mid-top end of the range. Ordered about 25 dishes and came to $16 a head. Seeing the room packed with predominantly Chinese patrons, you know that it's at least acceptable to the locals. The marketing ploy has worked!
Recommended for dim sum.
Food: lots of dim sum selection, found dishes not usually found at other dim sum places. All tasty, not too greasy. Didn't get MSG symptoms afterwards.
Service: better than the average dim sum place in Richmond. Tea refilled promptly. Food came out in quick enough after ordering, though could still be faster.
Value: a bit more expensive than others around but quality, service, ambiance also a bit better.
Ambiance: parking was easy to find, didn't have to wait in a long line for a table (went on a Sunday close to noon). Restaurant itself was very spacious, utensils new and clean, as was the w/c.
A mandarin speaking man greeted us at the door and tried to lure us to sit down because we haven't decided to sit down yet. As soon as we got seated the same mandarin man tried to push us into ordering all the expensive dishes, but we refused and he changed his attitude immediately. Nobody refilled our pot of tea and the food was disgusting, the steamed egg plant in a dish was just raw, and the Shark Fin Soup tasted like chicken soup ...
There was a table next to us that was celebrating a birthday, and all the waiters had their backs towards us preparing the birthday cake, and singing birthday song, while we just sat there waiting for our bills. We got so mad that we just stood up and left, and didn't give them any tips. The same mandarin speaking person threw the money on the floor and that was the end of our wonderful night.
Make a customer happy and he'll tell his friends...make a customer angry and he'll tell everyone. The people who work here have no idea about this age old customer service adage. when i got to the front, i saw no 1 at the host stand. it was busy, so understandable. then 5 mins after, a lady came by n search for the customers who she wrote on her wait list. i told her "2people" she walked away to other corner of the wait area n keep searching. i followed her n ask "how long is the wait?" no reply but keep checking her list. "how long is the wait? hello? how long is the wait?" again. she reply "30mins" with that kind of FACE u want to beat her up. she then walk aways again. i followed her back to her stand again n told her "2 pls" she looked over my shoulder n wave the customers behind me n lead them to seat. i cant stand no more n shout "MISS！“ she turned n ask me why i speak so loud. i said "i said many times but u never put my name down." actually not even asked my name. i know u r busy n dont care this small table of 2. but pls respect n at least pretend to put down my name. i know its would be long wait, but its our choice to decide to wait or not.
end up i left right away since she didnt put down our name. so i never tried its food. n dont know its value. i rate them 1 cuz service should be NEGATIVE. so they average 1. i looked inside the dining area from the wait area. it seems nice, but never had a chance to go in. so i rated 2.
today is labour day. if u r the boss or manager, pls train ur staff!
I've eaten here about six times.
The food is quite tasty especially the durian pastry.
The pea tip/ginko/bean curd skin uses chicken stock.
The veggie dumplings have huge pieces of oyster mushroom inside.
Food arrives from the kitchen slowly.
The food is not very refined.
As with most dim sum restaurants it is extremely noisy, so it has poor ambiance. The tables are too close together.
The service is not very careful. It is well organized but not disciplined. Waiters work so fast and nervously it scares me. Waiters do not have any respect for patrons and is is apparent that the manager does not place customer service or happiness as a priority. You are expected to come in, eat what you get, pay tips, and leave. It is very hard to get replacement dishware if unsatisfactory so you may need to help yourself.
If you have a dispute, the manager will have no respect for your argument. No graciousness, no wish to keep you as a customer.
Value: with the 20% discount this restaurant is moderately priced - the closest competitor charges more.
Let's examine the structure.
This restaurant has one financial controller at the front.
There are two hostesses who seat people at their tables; they will give you a number at the front and write your number (and size of party) down on a paper sheet on a lectern at the entrance. If you attempt to pressure them, the reward for your impatience will be an insult, such as "do you want to sit in the big chair?"
There are two guys who enter orders into computers.
There are about six waiters who mostly clear tables, at least one of which is a senior-waiter.
There are about three food-deliverers who come from the kitchen.
There is one manager.
When seated, you are given a paper sheet to choose what you want. The pen is left on the table. Sometimes there is no pen on the table so you need to flag a waiter down to get one.
The staff don't mind to hold a dish between the inside and outside of the dish.
The tables have a red under cloth which is not changed between seatings and a white tablecloth on top is changed between seatings.
Recently I chose to drink tea out of a bowl instead of a teacup. One of the hostesses took away my bowl without asking.
On my last visit I was unsatisfied with the contents of one steamed dumpling. I had ordered two trays containing three dumplings each. I asked for a refund for one tray. I opened another dumpling of the other tray and discovered the same issue. Although I had lost my confidence in eating that food, the manager refused to offer a refund for the second tray.
So, I chose to leave. Although I had not yet received one item, they would not believe me until they had checked with the kitchen.
When paying, the financial controller will complain if you haven't tipped. She has no authority or ability to pass on complaints. Neither does the senior waiter.
This restaurant has excellent chefs and food and reasonable prices. However, the insufferable attitude of the manager prevents me from ever returning.
I was introduced this place by my friend. After we have been there once, we have never changed to any other dim sum places. Honestly my family thinks they have the best dim sum out of all the ones we have tried. Of course you probably cant compare this to those super high end ones; but the price is really decent and the quality is very good. You can get a big dish of noodles or rice for only the price of $6.80, when many other places are at least $8. Not to mention that they have 20% off dim sum and free tea everyday including holiday! This is definitely a plus comparing to other places.
Their dim sum tastes very authentic in my opinion, especially their shao mai. It definitely tastes like the ones I had when I was young in Hong Kong, with just the right amount of meat, shrimp and mushroom. Some restaurants like to stuff either a lot of meat or shrimp in shao mai and they taste nothing like the ones i had before. I particularly love their durian pastry! I am not a big fan of durian, but i fell in love with this one. I have tried durian pastry at some other restaurant and it wasnt even close. I always end up going back to the one by HML. I also love their egg & milk tart, but durian pastry is still my top favourite.
My family has also been there a couple of times for dinner, and we always have lobster as one of the dish. They have lobster for $8.99/lb everyday, which I think is quite cheap since it will be cooked for you without any extra cost. Many supermarkets sell lobster for the same or higher price, but you have to cook it yourself. They started having the 20% discount off dishes excluding seafood this saturday when we were there for dinner.
As for their service, I think their service is amazing. Although there are times when service is not as great due to the overwhelming amount of people in the restaurant, I think it's understandable. HML's general manager is particularly friendly and nice to every single customer. He treats everyone as if we were his friends, which makes us feel like home whenever we go there. This was one of the main reason to why we love going to HML too.
If you don't want to wait a long time to yum cha on Sundays, HML Seafood Restaurant is a good option.
The lunch menu consists of some core dim sum choices (har gow, siu mai, etc.) and some esoteric ones (i.e. fried taro with curry chicken centers). Lunch items are average to above average and are fairly priced for the quality and quantity.
Servers were attentive and can speak and understand English, Cantonese, and Mandarin.
There are some LCD TVs, but they did not display any programming during Sunday lunch hours. The decor is consistent with larger mid-price range chinese restaurants and still appears fairly new.