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Thursday 25 August 2011

The Dessert House Edmonton, AB Bubbletea, tapioca, grass jelly, ramen and more!

Rating Service 6/10, Food 7/10

Been looking forward to this Calgary bubble tea franchise to head up to Edmonton for whiles. Located close to the University campus in the Garneau area, its a good go to place for the ubiquitous bubble tea, and surprisingly a wide variety of desserts to boot. Its located beside Sweetspot (the badminton store) as its signage got blown away recently and they haven't had a chance to replace it. Decor is minimal - black tables and seating, a bright red counter flanked by grey walls, and bustling with students when we dropped in.

Drinks hear are not limited to bubbletea - you can get a range of cold and hot teas, as well as fresh fruit smoothies +/- milk products and you can add in your choice of bubbles: regular dark amber tapioca pearls, diced fruit, mini clear tapioca pearls, grass jelly or "boba" fruit pearls.. essentially large fruit flavored caviar - a molecular gastronomy technique we're seeing popping up more and more in the food scene.

Fruit/vege "caviar" demystified
It has nothing to do with fish, just an addition of two food science powders.
1) Add sodium alginate to fruit/vege juice
2) Mix water with calcium chloride
3) Drip the juice solution into the calcium chloride solution and let sit
4) The droplets will form a light bubble and solidify, rinse
5) If you got the proportions right, you'll have little bubbles of fruit/vege juice. It not, you have rock hard fruit/vege pebbles

Dessert Houses's boba's are a bit artificial tasting, with a thick skin around what is closer to a thick puree than a juice.  Pictured here is a fresh mango bubble tea with passionfruit grape sized bobas/caviar camouflaged at the bottom of the beer mug.

Dessert house has a wide range of desserts, most are combinations of small clear pearl tapioca, grass jelly, fresh fruit, coconut milk, sweetened black sesame pudding, black sticky rice pudding and rice pudding. This myriad of combinations is a bit confusing in their menu as the English translations need a bit... ok, a lot of work, however the wait staff understand and are helpful in deciphering what certain items are. They also have some desserts you'd typically find in Vancouver or Toronto - papaya with almonds and white fungus dessert being one of them. Being a hot sticky night, I go with a Chinese classic - a bowl of watermelon juice and tapioca. Its refreshing with the small smooshy tapioca pearls swimming in cool slightly gritty fresh watermelon juice, and served with a small bowl of fresh ripened fruit. Mmmm.

The last time I was here, I had their black sticky rice pudding with taro and coconut milk. The coconut milk added in a nice richness to the super thick rice pudding made with black glutinous rice, while the taro root added in a nice contrast of texture and of course, its own starchy sweetness. Across the table from us, we see a group dig into a lasagna pan of tapioca or coconut jello topped off with a mini mountain of fresh fruit. *Making a mental note to order that the next time we go with a big group*

The hot selection of food was disappointing as all their grill items were not available. Ramen is pretty run of the mill instant noodle, and its served with your choice of sauces and meat toppings - fish, cuttlefish/squid balls. We go with the Satay ramen with squidballs. The satay smelled delicious, and though it was on the gritty side with squidballs I strongly suspect came from T&T Supermarket, it was a ramen that was reminiscent of late night snacks we ate as students... definitely geared for lazy students in the area!

Overall, a nice addition to the dessert scene in Edmonton, with its large selection of bubbletea and atypical Asian desserts. I look forward to trying their grill items whenever they get the grill working again.

The Dessert House
8412-109 St, Edmonton, AB
Phone (780) 439-7789
Hours Open for lunch till 11pm or later 7 days a week
The Dessert House on Urbanspoon


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KimHo said...

A friend of mine took me there some time ago and, man, it seems they are in no hurry to turn around customers (and in having they come in, sit, get their orders, have them pay and kick them out of there). We took the last table (at the VERY end of the restaurant) and it took them ~15 minutes to take our order. My order was serve ~20 minutes later and my friend didn't come out ~45 minutes later. In the meantime, there were people waiting outside (my WTH moment). By then, we were about to cancel the order and get our asses out of there. Was it good? Well, I am not that fond of dessert and my friend thought it was OK. said...

Service is varied.. I think it depends on who's working the night you drop by. Been a few times now, and about 50% of the time we get super dooper slow service (didn't mind as we just browsed menu and chatted), and the other times, service was prompt... with the waitress asking us every few minutes if we were ready to order. One time we stopped by, and there was empty (clean) tables with a line up, so everyone just sat ourselves and helped ourselves to a menu *shrugs?* For bubbletea, they're pretty good in the fresh fruit category... plenty of fruit and not too heavy handed on the simple syrup... and as for chinese desserts - its nice they offer variety we don't often see other than at the end of a 12 course meal at a Asian banquet. For Edmonton, its great.. in comparison to say dessert houses in Toronto, its good. Can't compare to Vancouver cuz I wasn't into drinking BBT the last time I went :P

Elsie said...

Very interesting, I wonder if it's the same owners as the one in Calgary... It's the same name, with the same "stuff" basically! Who knows... said...

Hey Elsie, haven't seen the Calgary owners, so I assume its just been franchised out instead :P

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