Koi Asia

Posted on 2011-03-22 13:16

3825 Richmond Road, Bells Corners

A new restaurant, opened Friday, March 18, 2011, in the location where Pho Mi 108 used to be. The signage has not yet been changed as of the date of this entry.

They’re open 11AM to 9PM every day except Mondays when they’re closed at 4PM.

The menu says they specialise in Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese soup. They do serve pho and Vietnamese spring rolls. The menu in the restaurant lists many more pho varieties than the takeout menu, so be sure to ask if you don’t see your favourite.

Their website has not been finished as of the date of this entry, so details from there are non existent.

Prices are middle of the road at $7 to $9, mostly. The take out menu features mostly Chinese dishes including combination plates. There is a page of Thai dishes but these are more expensive, from $10 to $13, mostly. Spring rolls are $1.50 each.

The owners of Pho Mi 108 are working with the new owners to ensure a smooth transfer.


Not Closed After All

Sorry, I had mistakenly marked this place as closed when it was not. I'm not sure what made me think it was, but I am very sorry about that.

So, having noticed it was still open, and in business for a couple of years since my last visit, I figured it was time to find out if my opinion has changed.

Today, I ordered the seafood version of their chicken broth pho-like bowl. It contained egg and rice noodles along with BBQ pork and some seafood. Also on the side was a shrimp cracker -- a shrimp fried in pancake-like batter 3 to 4 inches in diameter.

The soup was OK. Some MSG was there but not overly so. That's all I can think to say about it really, just OK. The shrimp cracker was overly done and was dark brown. The shrimp in the middle looked overdone so I did not eat that.

Portion size was fairly large for everyone around the table. Most people had the bun -- vermicelli with meat and veggies on top. One person had a Chinese style dish of beef and flat noodles and asked for a doggy bag to bring half of it home.

For a Friday lunch, it wasn't that busy. Just over half the tables were occupied. There were two waitresses who were kept pretty busy. They sensed we hadn't been there before so hung around to answer all our questions about the menu.

We did have to wait for our food a little longer than I thought was enough -- though not too much longer -- considering we were one of the first groups to arrive. The food arrived at our table a bit at a time, although mine was first so that's OK for me.

Will I go back? I think so. I work in Bell's Corners and good places to eat are pretty rare. I can add this to my list of places to visit.

Rating: 7

This is one of the worst

This is one of the worst eating out places in Ottawa. Don't say I didn't warn you. The cook should be crucified.

Take-Out on 2011-03-25

I phoned the restaurant to order two Vietnamese dishes, but the lady on the phone said they had only some of the old Pho Mi 108 items available.

Drove to it to look at the menu and we chose what on the old menu was #409 (Bun thit, chao tom, cha gio) and #701 (Bun bo xao xa ot). As it turns out, the Pho Mi chef was there and he prepared the dishes. However, he is going to Vietnam for a holiday soon and I don't know if he will return.

That is really too bad, because the 2 dishes he prepared for us were by far the best we have had at any Vietnamese resto.

But we will give the new guys a try or 2. I want to see how good their Thai and Chinese items are.

Not my best experience

I'm hoping this is just because they're so new. They've only been open for a few days, so maybe they'll work it out. I really do hope.

This place had been closed down for a month or so while they were transferring ownership, and I had missed going there. It was one of the best places to eat in Bells Corners where I work these days. So I looked forward to it re-opening. At the time there was no word on why it was closed, only a note saying that it would re-open on a particular date. And the date had changed a few times.

So, when we noticed it was open again, we cheered. The place was packed. I guess that others had missed this place and were glad to be back. We arrived at noon, and we were a group of 7 and we got a table but I think it was one of the last ones available for that day.

I ordered the Shrimp Pho, size medium. The price wasn't bad as they have an introductory price of 10% off. It came out to about $7.50 including tax.

One thing I really liked about the utensils on the table was that the chopsticks are arranged in their holder with the "handled" on the top. So you don't grab the part of them that goes into your mouth. Or, even worse, when you have to grab a set from the holder and pass them on to someone else at the other end of the table. I wish other places would do this too.

But what can I say? A medium soup with noodles, broth, 7 shrimp and a bit of parsley on top. And that's it. There were no fixings on the side. Oh yes, there was hoisin and hot sauces, but no basil, coriander, sprouts, lime or peppers. And the soup could have really used that to make it more interesting.

According to their take-out menu, they don't use MSG. But that's so not true for my broth. It had one of the highest doses I've ever had. It seemed tasty of course, but that was the MSG talking. And it had a lot to say. Another person at my table also had the soup and he complained of MSG as well so I know it's not just me.

Others at the table must have appreciated the food more than me because I heard no complaints. I understand the spring rolls were tasty and fresh and hot out of the fryer.

Service wasn't bad. There were plenty of staff at the time and service was reasonably good considering we arrived at the end of a noon-hour peak.

But for me, pho is all about the taste, the quality of the broth, fixings, the main ingredients of the soup (meat, shrimp, veggies or whatever). And it was not worth my time.

As I said earlier, maybe it's just they haven't worked out all the kinks yet. I will return after a few weeks to see if it's improved. Otherwise, I'll find something else on the menu. Pad Thai, maybe.

Rating: 5