508 Bistro

Hey Everyone,

So after dining at this restaurant several times now, I've finally decided to write up a blog about it! This is a Taiwanese cafe style restaurant in Burnaby on Kingsway past Metrotown. When I say "past" I speak from the perspective of Vancouver. I was introduced to this restaurant by one of my best friends and although the service at the time wasn't that great, the food was pretty good so I kept coming back. 

One of my favourite things about this restaurant is something they started with, then stopped, then changed. They start you off with a bowl of something crispy to munch on while you decide on what to order. They used to give you a bowl of deep fried taro sticks with that Taiwanese salt and pepper flavouring. Then one day when I came here with some friends, they didn't give anything! I asked them about it that time and they said they stopped doing that! That was almost a dealbreaker for me so I was hesitant to return this time, but here we are! To my surprise, when we were seated, we were also given a bowl of something new this time!

I'm not exactly sure what type of deep fried chip this is, but it's really good! It has the same flavouring as previously mentioned and it is just addictive to snack on! In any case I'm just glad they brought this back as this differentiated them from the other BBT cafes (Bubble World, Pearl Castle).

Jess and I have eaten here before so we had some favourite dishes to fall back on if we didn't know what to order. We started off with one of our favourite dishes here, the Sliced Pork Belly with minced garlic $6.99.

This is by far one of my favs here after dining several times. It has that bit of sweet and sour flavour to it, likely from vinegar I'm guessing plus the garlic. The pork is cooked very nicely and very tender. I highly recommend trying this dish!

I saw they also had Tea Eggs on the menu, 2 for $2.50. I love tea eggs so I had to try their's.

The tea eggs look pretty typical from the outside, but after peeling (sorry didn't get a photo) the eggs were weirdly misshapen. The overall flavour was ok, not the best tea eggs I've had. The flavour didn't get into the egg much as with other tea eggs I've had, so the egg itself wasn't that flavourful.

Now onto the main course! We ordered the other favourite of ours, the Popcorn Chicken Fried Rice $8.50. 

This is fried rice with popcorn chicken, or salty peppery chicken as other Taiwanese cafes call them. The fried rice is pretty good itself, and they serve it with this crispy veggie of some sort. The chicken seems to have gone down in quantity, but the flavour is one of the better popcorn chicken I've had! The outside is crispy, not soggy like some that I've had, and the inside is cooked through nicely. Definitely a recommended dish from us as well!

Now you may be wondering why I did not start off this post with drinks since that's usually the first thing that arrives when you dine at Taiwanese cafes like this. The reason is because our drinks had not yet arrived until ALL of our food dishes had arrived, and then we had to ask them about it, which we believe they forgot about it! After we asked, we could hear the drinks being made and then the drinks arrived in the normal time it would have taken to make drinks. It's not that the restaurant was busy, as even Bubble World serves up drinks in a timely fashion when the restaurant is at capacity. Herein lies one of the downfalls of this restaurant. Their service and drink orders are more often than not on the negative side of our experiences at this restaurant. It should not have taken our entire meal to have been served before we were given our drinks, albeit they served us water at the beginning, but even with water, they can fail. At a previous visit, after initially serving the water, they neglected to come around to give refills throughout the entire meal! You have to literally ask them to refill water as they will not do rounds to refill like most restaurants would if they gave you water to start. They would come around to clean up the dishes but would not give you more water unless you specifically asked for it, meaning they knowingly leave you with an empty cup until instructed to refill it. 

Alright enough with the ranting, onto the drinks...

I had their specialty drink in the upper picture, Honey Lime Wintermelon Tea $4.50, and Jess had her usual Honey Milk Tea $4.50.

I absolutely love their Honey Lime Wintermelon Tea ever since the first time I tried it here. I haven't seen this on the menu at other Taiwanese places I've been to so I always order it when I dine here. The flavour is hard to describe but it has this flavour that is so familiar to me but I just can't quite put my finger on it. The mix of honey, lime, and wintermelon just works extremely well in this drink and I highly recommend trying it! It's sweet but it has this other flavour in it that just tastes really good. You have to try it for yourself to know what I'm talking about.

Jess' Honey Milk Tea is good as you would expect. What's different here, and evident in the lower photo, is that their pearls are smaller than the usual size, and they load it up with pearls! Because they are smaller, there is a lot more pearls than usual when you drink it, which is a good or bad thing, depending on how much you love pearls. What's weird is that they served it in a take-out cup, whereas I got a mug! It couldn't be that they ran out of mugs, because a restaurant running out of mugs/cups to serve drinks in is inexcusable to me, especially when they are not at full capacity. 

Now onto the service...oh where to begin...

On previous occasions, they have forgotten our drink orders entirely, and had to make the drinks when we were basically finished our meal. On other occasions, they brought some drinks over, but forgot some other drinks for our party, and had to make those after we had to ASK them about it. I'm not sure how new this restaurant is, but they seriously need to either have a serious training session for their servers, or fire them all and hire new competent servers to prevent this restaurant from losing return customers solely due to their horrible service. There were also times where it was very difficult to even get the attention of a server as they are not attentive at all. Sometimes the bill takes forever to arrive too, when that should be one of the things you would expect them to place importance on. Their servers also have a monotone voice with no enthusiasm, and some have a "don't care" attitude, which causes us to tip accordingly. When faced with the realization that they messed up by forgetting our drinks, they are not very apologetic about it, and nothing is done in terms of compensation for going through an entire meal without receiving our drink orders. 

Overall, this restaurant has good food with horrible service, which sums it up nicely. I would still return because of the good food with reasonable prices, but the bad service every time is really making me think twice before deciding to return again. 





Thanks for reading everyone and happy eating!
- Phil

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