Aoyama Cafe

There’s a lot of food in Richmond, mostly of the Asian variety. Over the weekend, I made my way over to Aberdeen Centre to give Aoyama Cafe a try. It’s clearly Chinese, but they’re going for a Japanese-inspired menu that combines with a coffee house-like environment. In fact, you’ll see UCC Coffee featured prominently.

Located on the ground floor next to the water fountains, Aoyama Cafe offers a number of lunch specials during the week. Since I was there on Sunday, I decided to order the more expensive “weekend special” instead. This includes a salad and a beverage, as well as your choice of three featured entrees.

Before getting to the food, the choice of beverages is worth mentioning. They have coffee that gets up to $10 a cup for a premium brew. It’s not just the coffee itself, though; it’s also the brewing the process. With my “weekend special” came siphon coffee. Unfortunately, they don’t do the brewing at your table, so you basically take their word for it. Drinking it, the siphon coffee is similar in profile to a French Press: rich, complex, and quite strong. It’s also very smooth, but you do feel like you just had three shots of espresso by the time you’re done.

Asian Starter Salad

As mentioned, a basic salad accompanies the weekend special. This is an “Asian” or “Japanese” style green salad insofar that it comes with corn and a slice of fruit. The dressing tasted like Asian sesame. This wasn’t all that special, but it wasn’t terrible either.

Katsu Curry Rice

My main course was a katsu curry. This is a (tonkatsu) breaded pork cutlet served on a bed of rice with curry on one side and a demi-glaze like sauce on the other side. On top of the curry were shaved almonds. The curry wasn’t as good as Curry House CoCo Ichibanya, but the pork was nicely fried and the overall taste was fine. Again, I wouldn’t say it was particularly special, but I can’t really find too much fault in it either.

Unagi and Mushroom Spaghetti

Susanne skipped the weekend special and ordered from the regular menu instead. She opted for the unagi (eel) and mushroom spaghetti. It’s served with a cream-based sauce and some shredded nori (dried seaweed). This was quite tasty and had a distinctly Japanese spin to it. The sauce was a little too dry and thick, though, making for an almost clumpy pasta experience.

Aoyama Cafe is decent, but it is a little more expensive than some of the cheaper options in and around Richmond. The lunch special was $15.95, while similar lunch specials elsewhere barely break the $10 mark. That said, other places don’t do siphon coffee.

All said, lunch for two with tax and tip came to $37. This felt pricey in comparison to what else we could have had in Richmond, especially since the food itself wasn’t exactly remarkable. Maybe I should go back for the $10 weekday lunch special.

Aoyama Cafe (UCC Coffee) on Urbanspoon