Strength: Solid bowl of noodle
Weakness: Poor customer service
Sip Bowl La Mian is a new Chinese noodle restaurant recently opened in the Kerrisdale neighborhood. They specialize in Lanzhou hand-pulled noodles. Within their name, the words “La Mian” means “Pulled Noodle” respectively. Lanzhou is located close to the middle of China towards the North Western portion. Their food contains a lot of carbs and mostly sour and spicy with a hint of sweetness.
The Interior decor and solid wood furniture make it quite cozy. We noticed a layer of shiny reflective varnishing on the table to protect the wood from spilling noodle soup or oily seasonings.
Menu Designed Like A Double Door
I like their menu design. Hemp fabric with a red oriental pattern made this very Asian. I was actually kind of excited to open and see what they have to offer.
As soon as I opened it, I see the menu divided into 3 sections. The middle portion with all the fancy pictures caught my eyes immediately. It shows Combos, Noodles, and Sides. Not very fancy, but the layout makes logical sense, and guided me through the menu. Notice additional beef cost $3, and additional noodle and egg cost $2 per portion. I should have asked how much it is to add additional soup.
7 Types Of Specialty Hand Pulled Noodle (La Mian)
Sip Bowl’s specialty is the types of noodles available for customers to choose from. The shape of those noodles is embossed onto the thick paper menu. This is a nice touch. The thickness of the noodles is for comparison purposes only. The noodles here are hand-pulled noodle (La Mian) so your noodles will have thickness variation in your bowl. It will also contain the ends of the dough where they held when pulling it. This will add texture variation and adds to the authenticity.
The right side of the menu contains specialty snacks and rinks. I did not pay too much attention to this part of the menu as nothing caught my attention and the drinks seem overpriced a $2.50 or $4.00.
Their Combo Made Me Feel Stupid
We ordered Combo B, which contains a bowl of “Sip Bowl Signature Beef Noodle”, “one marked item from vegetable”, and “one item from drink special” for $15. The Sip Bowl Signature Beef Noodle cost $13, so we are paying for $2 for a drink and a side. If you already to get a drink under “Drink Special” ($1.50), then it is really worthy to make it a combo. I think Combo A does not provide as much value.
You can only pick the side dish with a check mark next to it. It’s very easy to miss and of course, we picked something without the check mark at the beginning.
Then, we ordered something from “Beverage”. Only to be told these “Drink Special” are the only 2 drinks you can pick to go along with your combo.
Apricot Infused Refresher has a slight apricot taste to it. It is a little sour, which is good to go with the carb-heavy noodles that are coming up.
A Modest Bowl Of Noodle Packed With Pleasant Surprises
Sip Bowl Signature Beef Noodle bowl looks quite flat, almost unappetizing. It has lots of noodles, a large amount of green onion and chives, a few pieces of thinly sliced daikon, and 4 pieces of thinly sliced beef. However, when I started eating it, the triangular shaped noodle was very well done. It’s a little softer than I’d liked, but superb compared to the majority of noodle places in town. I can feel the bounciness on my teeth when I bite into them. The soup was delectable with a slight taste of savory, not very complex though. The beef was a bit too salty but goes well with the rest of the bowl.
They forgot to add the hot sauce in our Beef and Sauerkraut noodle. Which made us realized the Beef & Sauerkraut is exactly the same as the Sip Bowl Signature. Adding the sauerkraut in the bowl costs $1 extra. It’s still a good bowl of noodle, and after adding the hot sauce it tastes even better.
Additional Seasonings In Beautiful Containers
There are additional seasoning in 3 beautiful containers at each table. We have hot sauce, vinegar, and whole garlic. This is quite authentic to the Northern West part of China where this style of noodle comes from. It is rare to see whole garlic being served in Vancouver. I did not have the chance to try them due to a meeting afterward.
Ikea Basket Storage Seems Like An Afterthought
Sip Bowl provide Ikea baskets for patrons to put their belongings in. The baskets are then placed on the ground, so we had to be careful not to kick our belongings. I sat at the corner of the bar near the cashier. It’s probably where they usually put their equipment. So they put the un-used baskets next to my feet and somewhat got in my way.
604 Food Critic Assessment
For $12.99 for a bowl of signature noodle, clean broth with 4 pieces of meat seems expensive. The hand-pulled noodle indicates good workmanship. This adds value for me. However, similarly to most Chinese restaurants, come here for the food but do not expect good service.