Harvest Oriental Kitchen in the Old Market Square in Grimsby town center has officially opened to the public.
Offering mostly Japanese and Korean dishes – as well as being the only place in the area to offer the Taiwanese specialty of bubble tea – it’s safe to say that the restaurant is something a little different for Grimsby. Sure, Chinese takeaways are plentiful in North East Lincolnshire – but it’s been a long time since a restaurant opened and offered something other than your standard chow mein and chicken dumplings.
I’ve always been a big fan of Asian food, so when I heard the restaurant had opened, I couldn’t wait to come down and try the food. And I have to be honest, this one is a bit of a mixed bag and I went there twice to try the food to double make up my mind on the food and the experience. It is worth mentioning that the restaurant is currently operating under a soft launch menu while waiting for another chef to join the team.
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My restaurant experience
As soon as I walked into the restaurant the staff couldn’t have been more friendly and accommodating. They explained to me what the items on the menu were and quickly made me the most popular bubble tea on the menu – the Caramel Pearl Milk. Now I was impressed.
Whenever I’ve visited a city in the UK, I’ve always seen these bubble tea places, but I’ve never tried any before. It was both sweet, creamy and refreshing, and the little tapioca balls – or “bubbles” – inside the tea were also delicious. It soon became apparent why so many students continued to come in and out in large groups for bubble tea to take away.
Now let’s move on to food. First I had the Yasai Tempura, which consisted of two pieces of sweet potatoes, two mushrooms, two green beans and two eggplants fried in a tempura batter. Usually I’m a huge fan of tempura, but this just didn’t do it for me.
It was very greasy and I thought the vegetables used together made a bit of an odd combination – but after a bit of googling I realized that it was pretty typical to use this type of vegetable in Yasai Tempura when they do in Japan. The Oriental Harvest Cuisine dish wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either. I would probably give it four out of ten.
For the main course, I tried the Tori Katsu Don, described on the menu as “steamed Japanese pearl rice, topped with sliced fried chicken, served with a sweet katsu sauce and an egg taste similar to teriyaki sauce”. I was much more impressed with this one.
The chicken was well fried and the dish as a whole was very tasty. I just thought there was a little too much and couldn’t finish it, but the lovely staff very kindly put it in a take away box for me to take home. I would give this one a seven out of ten.
A few days later I visited the restaurant a second time to try a few more dishes. These were the Gyoza – five grilled chicken balls with sesame dip, and the Agedashi Tofu – “lightly fried firm tofu in a soy-based sauce sprinkled with spring onions”.
The Gyoza was absolutely delicious. It was expertly cooked and the filling was delicious – a nine out of ten.
As for the Agedashi tofu, there was nothing really wrong with it, but I just wasn’t that keen. It was good, but I think with something as bland and tasteless as tofu, it’s crucial to season it heavily before eating it. I just would have preferred a little more seasoning. I would give this one a five out of ten.
Harvest Oriental Cuisine – my verdict
The restaurant has just opened and is still finding its feet, so I would definitely be willing to visit Harvest Oriental Cuisine again and try other items on the menu. The staff are absolutely lovely and very polite. The interior of the restaurant is a little bare, but it’s important to note that the owners are still waiting for the arrival of the Japanese wall decoration, which is sure to brighten things up.
The Bubble Tea was delicious and the Gyoza was the best I’ve had in a long time. I wasn’t a big fan of Yasai Tempura or Tofu – but I don’t think the latter necessarily had anything to do with the restaurant. I probably shouldn’t have ordered something as bland and boardy as the tofu.
The restaurant was full of students both times I visited, and they seemed to really like it. It’s great to see a place with a different cuisine in Grimsby and I wish them the best. Next time you’re shopping in downtown Grimsby be sure to pop in and try the Gyoza and a Bubble Tea. You will not be disappointed.