Saturday, April 23, 2005

Kam's Place, Downtown

I went to Kam's Place (1043 Davie St., close to Burrard) Singaporean Cuisine with a fan of the establishment who referred to their goong as "the goong by which all others are measured." We had a pleasant and simple meal of goong, $12.95 (stir fried prawns with fresh pineapple and Singaporean red curry); long bean spicy beef, $9.95 (pan fried beef with chili, garlic and long bean); and two packets of coconut rice, attractively wrapped in leaves. The food, the room, the pretty china (including a cute tea set), and the service were all pleasant. The dishes were enjoyable. In fact, I found it all to be quite boring. Boringly pleasant, if that makes sense to you. Almost not post-worthy. But since this place squeaks by and makes it onto my list of restaurants I would return to, it is worth mentioning. The flavours aren't terribly complex, but it does the job if you are looking for something tasty and you're in the area. The beef was very tender, and the curry was nice. The coconut rice really did taste like coconut. It all came out very quickly after we ordered too. I'm almost wanting to say that the food is a bit "westernized," but I think it might actually be just the Singaporean style, which I'm perceiving as being a bit on the flat and mild-mannered side. Kind of like Singapore itself? Not necessarily a bad thing (don't write me angry letters, I enjoyed visiting Singapore, and I'm sure there's more bubbling under its surface that I didn't see). Go to Kam's, eat yummy things, get full, and don't think too much about it. Then go to Banana Leaf (on Denman or Broadway) for Malaysian food another night, but be prepared to wait for a table. I have a vague impression of more intense flavour experiences there. I'll visit soon, and let you know if that holds true.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did you know that I'm permanently banned from Kam's? I came in with a table of eight, and the owner kept hurrying us while we figuring out what to order, because the restaurant was really busy. When we left, Kam himself(?) said to us "Don't come back again, you guys didn't order enough".

b*

Dumpling_Girl said...

Wow, that's crazy! Thanks for the comment! Heh, I don't deal well with rude service. If that happened to me, I'd wind up telling everyone I knew about that for the rest of my life, in the same way that positive reviews of service at Milestones comes up in discussion about service all the time because of their tendency to comp stuff (dessert, for example) as a service recovery technique. Ooops, there I go again. Geez, a little free dessert goes a long way... At least Kam (or whoever) made his comment AFTER you ate. Hapa Izakaya ASSUMED, before even meeting me, that my group wouldn't eat/drink enough when I tried to book a group of 8 - 12 for my birthday, and tried to start a set meal ($40/person which is actually quite a lot for that restaurant) with me, but very unprofessionally couldn't even tell me what the set meal would actually include (besides two standard alcoholic drinks, and some general ideas), and had nothing actually written down for it yet. And he was a little fuzzy on just how many people would be the minimum number that would require the set menu. Justin was almost a little too honest about the whole thing, since he told me he knew that some regulars that he has do drink and eat a lot, and they come in a big group, so they don't go through the set dinner menu. And after a day or two after asking about booking, they still couldn't produce a list. I emailed them that I decided not to book my birthday with them, and they were still unorganized enough to call me the day of my birthday to check if I was coming or not. It tarnished my impression of the restaurant, and I haven't been back there since. But then I discovered Guu with Garlic, so there really isn't any reason to go back anyway.

Jeanette said...

Interesting you mention Kam's. I just went there today. A friend brought me. It's actually pretty decent. I got a set lunch, which was some kind of soup, salad, and then a chicken in some kind of spicy red sauce. The soup was kinda SPICY. But, the servers were kind enough to continue to refill my water glass. =)

Simple food, but I really want to try the Pineapple rice from there some time. I still haven't managed to make my way into Banana Leaf... it's always so busy!

Kam's was fast. Very fast. Efficient, polite, and and quite good. The chicekn - tender.

Dumpling_Girl said...

Thanks Jeannette! I think Banana Leaf is worth a small wait. I guess other people do too. :)

me said...

I'm going to check out Kam's Place tonight. Hope they don't disappoint. As for Banana Leaf, this is my favourite asian restaurant in Vancouver. I can't get enough of their roti canai, eggplant, seyur lamak (curried veggies in coconut milk) and hanainese rice! All for a measley $30+ ...and if you take it to go, you get 10% off! I usually go this route if there is a line-up. The one on Broadway seems to have fewer waits, however. Bon Appetit!

Anonymous said...

i go to kams place all the time and love it, they have a 2 for 1 coupon everyweek in the georgia straight and i usually cheap out and use that and no ones said anything yet, i was thinking about going there for my b-day actually with a large party but after that comment i'm thinking twice, i wouldn't want to be rushed out or feel like we gotta meet some food intake quota, that place is always busy but a comment like that is unjustifed no matter what, kam is a little nuts though he runs around that place like a chicken with his head cut off, as a side note go to wimaan on west broadway, best thai food in vancouver hands down

Dumpling_Girl said...

Thanks for your comment, and ooo, thanks for the Wimaan tip! I haven't tried them yet!

xvan said...

I went to the Kam's place today for lunch with two friends. It really isn't very good. The food -we shared the Ginger Beef, Chicken in Red Curry and Veggies in Oyster Sauce- was mediocre, no friendly service, I had the feeling all of the waitresses were under high pressure. An older guy, maybe the owner, gave us the bill in the middle of the lunch, and after that, he cam every minute to see, if we had paid, which we hadn't of course because we were still eating. My conclusion is: don't go there, I will certainy not go again. we shouldn't have gven them any tip. P.S.: We got clear water though.

Dumpling_Girl said...

Thanks for your comment, xvan. That's one of my biggest beefs about service - when the server brings the bill too early, without making a point of saying something like, please take your time, or whenever you're ready, and then they're like hawks waiting to take it away. This happens altogether too often in this town. The other thing I hate is when they swoop in and take the final credit card receipt before you leave, and look at the tip within your eyeshot. So crass! The worst is when they take forever to get you anything all evening, but the one thing they can do quickly is to swoop in and grab the bill to see the tip before you leave (which they shouldn't need to grab at all before you leave, since they've already rung the credit card through before that, so they know that you've paid for the meal). I hate getting a server during a shift change at certain places for this reason. I want my bill at the end of the meal, and only after someone has inquired if I would dessert, after I've eaten the rest of the meal. Why is this so much to ask?

Sir Eatalot said...

Been to Kam's several times. Won't ever go again. Upolstery shamelessly dirty, rude staff and mediocre food. Owner kept impatiently encouraging us to finish our meal quickly so he could seat others. Seen a few unsanitary practices by staff. Reported one. Not accepted graciously by owner, that's for sure. Ought to be closed down.

brad said...

Wow...Kam's haters, I don't get it, unless it's other local eateries trying to increase their own business with viral marketing.

I've been there several times, and will return several more, even though I don't live nearby. The food is great, and no matter how long I've been away, Kam always seems to recognize me and makes me feel welcome.

I've never been rushed away from my table, but then I also show up with between 6-12 people and we have a few drinks with dinner. I've never seen Kam exhibit poor manners or bad behaviour though, which leads me to believe that the previous bad reviews are false.

Dumpling_Girl said...

Hi Brad,
Well, the person that got banned is an acquaintence of mine who is a very respectful, nice and polite professional. I'm glad that you have had good experiences though. But I don't see why you would question whether someone else's experiences were necessarily false just because you had good experiences though. That seems rather jaded considering there were multiple people who don't like the restaurant, and they specified what they didn't like. I welcome different opinions on restaurants, but I don't like people accusing others of lying for no good reason. I think that's rude. I think that I explained my position on the food pretty thoroughly in my post - it's not necessarily something that someone who likes a blander, more western taste is going to have a problem with.