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July 09, 2011

Out and About: Rice Bowl Deluxe

Continuing my escapade around the west end of town, I had the fortune of being invited to try out another great spot around Callingwood: Rice Bowl Deluxe! A recent addition to Edmonton's dining scene, Rice Bowl Deluxe has only been open for the past few months: since early February if my memory serves me correctly. Luckily for us, we spoke with one of the managing partners, Susan, and were invited to give it a review! As you can already see from this post, we graciously (and very willingly!) accepted!

Rice Bowls! Very vibrant and colourful, I like it!

Overall Score:
Rice Bowl Deluxe on Urbanspoon
What's IN: Bubble Tea!
( and Frozen Yogurt! ..but that isn't out yet =( )

Usually I don't place much emphasis on the drinks at a restaurant: let's face it, I'm Asian and chances are that water is good enough for me! However, glancing at the menu at Rice Bowl Deluxe, I spied a neat little section for bubble teas and juices! And of course, having just written a blog post on Bubble Buzz, I was intrigued to get bubble tea again - I mean the whole point is to compare them and see how they fare against each other, right? A fight to the death it is! ... Not really, but anyways, following the manager's recommendation, I decided to go with the watermelon juice and the mango bubble tea for my friend. Honestly speaking, the watermelon juice was phenomenal! I was floored by the presence of the drink: I felt like the servers at Rice Bowl Deluxe had somehow managed to magically cram a whole watermelon into the cup! As for the mango bubble tea, it was also fairly decent - milky, great bubbles and delicious - but nowhere near as impressive as the watermelon. Still though, I would definitely rate this as one of the best bubble tea's I've had, easily amongst the top in Edmonton. A so-called "best in the west!"

After the bubble tea, we settled into a couple of their cozy wooden booths (I must say, the interior decor simply screams crisp, clean and modern!) before picking a couple of jumbo coconut shrimp as appetizers. Large and succulent, the shrimp were flavourful but a shade on the dark side - I couldn't help but think they were a tad over-fried (it could also be the panko breading) or not in fresh oil - they were missing the characteristic golden brown presentation of perfectly fried food. As for the accompanying curry, it wasn't too strong or spicy but for a spice-novice, I still found it pretty good!

Next up were a pair of rice bowls. Tantalizingly aromatic, I couldn't wait to dig in! To my surprise, they had even separated a section for the vegetables (which, by the way, had great variety: carrots, bean sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, zucchini, AND mushrooms!) and meat to keep them apart from the rice! Simple yet practical, the rice stays insulated - hot and steamy - underneath the meat and veggies but is immune to the runoff and from getting soggy! Ingenious; bonus points for the small details! Unfortunately though, the focus point of the dishes, the meats - Chicken Teriyaki and Japanese New York Steak - were less than impressive. Although the chicken was well crisped, the sauce tasted generic (reminded me of Tokyo Express) and lacked the subtle sweetness crucial for a good Teriyaki; whereas it was the exact opposite in the beef, the meat lacked any real flavour but the sesame sauce was delicious!

To wrap off the night, we polished off a chocolate mousse and wow, that little cup packs a punch! For what you would expect to be a light and airy dessert, instead, the mousse was extremely rich and dense (think chocolate mousse meets cheesecake)! Ultimately, I think this comes down to personal preference, chocolate lovers will love the deep and satisfying Bernard Callebaut chocolate whereas others may find it too heavy for their taste. You know yourself best and I'll leave the decision up to you when you go!

Fortunately for us, we were also privy to a pre-release sampler of their upcoming green tea yogurt! While I can't confirm that it will be the same as the final product, let me tell you, I cannot be more excited for this item to hit the menu! What rolled out of the kitchen that night was simply heavenly: The green tea was tangible and the yogurt quality gave it a smooth-ness that was leagues above what normal green tea ice cream tastes like. Just look!

Overall, with more dishes and flavours planned down the road and a little streamlining (keep in mind they've only been open a few months!) I can definitely see a bright future for this little restaurant on the west side -- I would definitely keep posted!

The Verdict (!): 80/100


  1. If you were truly asian, free tea, not water would be what you want...
    (written by an asian so it's okay :P)

  2. Haha yes! That would be true, sorry =P, free tea! Next time, next time!

  3. I am glad you wrote about Rice Bowl Deluxe as it was my first time trying out this place a couple of days ago as well!

    For any of the bubble tea lovers out there, Rice Bowl certainly stays true to what it originally is- fresh and cold with the right amount of flavor and sweetness.

    When my buddies and I were there, we were recommended the Red Curry, Pad Thai and Satay Chicken with coconut rice. I feel like these choices were made right as it really described how DELUXE and delicious these meals were. The Red Curry was sprinkled with just the right amount of flavor and spicyness.... (I have to agree with you, there is just something about the sauces they make that just keeps making you want to go back for more!)

    My favorite dish there was the Pad Thai. The amount of food that was served seemed enough to feed even two people! I loved the different flavors and right amount of peanuts served with the noodles. The noodles were not too dry, which I find is sometimes a problem with pad thai. It amazes me how fresh and non greasy they can manage to make pad thai!

    Last but not least we tried the satay chicken with coconut rice. was that EVER an excelled recommendation! The satay chicken seemed to be emerged in JUST the right amount of sauce with a tender feel, with a little bit of crisp on the outside- perfect! The coconut rice just added even more flavor and was a very good complement with the satay chicken!

    If there was one reason why I would want someone to go here is simply because of the sauces that just brings asian authenticity to a whole new level! It definitely completes the meal and is probably one of the many secrets to setting Rice Bowl Deluxe apart from others!

    You are very lucky to have tried the frozen yogurt as I am looking forward to seeing that on the menu as well!

    I recommend you try those dishes next time around and hopefully being to sense what the real rice bowl deluxe is like!

  4. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I'll definitely give the Red Curry, Pad Thai, and Satay Chicken a try next time I'm in the area -- I'm already dropping in now and then for bubble tea so that shouldn't be a problem! =) They sound great, can't wait!