Monday, March 11, 2013

Kenmount Restaurant, Retro style

This evening my family and I stepped into the past, well, not really because I still can’t get the flux capacitor for my time machine…but I digress.

Tonight, we went to the Kenmount Restaurant in St. John’s, a Chinese restaurant that has been well established in the city for years.  The outside looks quite traditional with dragons and Chinese characters adorning the storefront. 

Kenmount Restaurant, St. John's, NL

Inside, the restaurant looks exactly the same as it did in the 60’s, but in a well kept non-broken down way.  The chairs, table cloths, wall and ceiling décor reminds me of Chinese restaurants I used to go to as a child while my parents and grandparents would come to visit their friends.  Traditional and very retro.  It was amazing to me because usually retro means either dated and broken down, or recreated, to which this was neither. 
Hmm, I wonder what I'll order?

The menu, and the items on the menu were quite retro as well, (the prices weren’t, however they were pretty standard for Chinese restaurant prices in the city).  Keeping in the retro feel, we ordered the Pu Pu Platter, a novelty appetizer platter which was most popular in the 1950’s.  The platter has a wooden lazy susan with eggrolls, wings, beef kabobs, won tons, tempura shrimp and spare ribs, with a mini hibachi grill and skewers in the center in which to grill the already cooked appetizers.

There really isn’t much point to grilling the pre-cooked apps, as it only burns them and since the items were already cooked.  It is really mostly for amusement, but I must admit, it was kind of fun putting wings on a tiny BBQ with a stick.

 The Chinese American version differs from the original Pu Pu platter from Hawaii, as the Hawaiian version has raw ingredients, in which the diners can cook on the grill. 

We also had hot and sour soup, which was also prepared in the traditional way, with egg, tofu, Shiitake mushrooms, chicken, green onion, dried chili peppers, rice wine vinegar, and thickened with corn starch.  It was tasty and filling, and was the right balance of vinegar and spiciness.

All in all we really enjoyed our visit, and will go again in the future.  F.Y.I. the outside porch is a mess, but the inside is well kept, so if you can, ignore the porch and go right in.

3 out of 5

Our visit got me thinking about Chinese restaurants of the past and the different menu items which are not as common today.  My mother in law remarked to me that when she was younger, she used to love going to Chinese restaurants for a piece of Chinese style coconut cream pie, but most of the modern restaurants only serve pre-frozen western style (ie. McCain) coconut cream pies.  So, here is the recipe to “retro” Chinese coconut cream pie.  Enjoy!

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