J: Hope Key is one of those places I was introduced to by a friend a few years ago. Although I have previously visited here, I’ve never tried their food or their drinks. My only experience with Hope Key was relaxing in their loft while my friend enjoyed her bubble tea. But now things are different, I was hungry and they were offering a dinner buffet after many restaurants in downtown Victoria had closed for the night. With Ed just as desperate to find a place to eat, he stepped through the doorway willingly.
E: On a late night, we were without a chance in hell to find a place that would be open after 9pm. James keeps on thinking we’ve run out of places to hit to review, but I always point out that it depends on how much you’re willing to spend on a meal. Given his frugalness, that pretty much eliminates many places.
I wasn’t prepared to spend a lot either since my dollars were depleted after several travel excursions. Vancouver and Seattle can do that. We were without a hope until he mentioned this place.
J: Almost all of our cash reserve was … very reserved. But I must admit, I liked Hope Key. Even if their food was to turn out bad, I was still willing to like them. Their service was warm and friendly. The cozy interior was decorated with old collectables. But luckily for me I found their food downright tasty.
E: I’m sure those items were as old as James. Both needed oiling to squeak by.
Chinese buffets are a hard sell for me. I enjoyed a few dishes, like the won ton soup and their noodle dishes. It’s such a shame that the garnishes were in short supply by the time we arrived. I imagine during the busy dinner rush, I’d have plenty more green onions to use to garnish my plate. That’s okay, though. The main courses tasted like how mama makes ’em. It had that down home cooking style that I admire and for $16 late at night, it’s possible to load up and fill up on some traditional staples of Chinese food. The only thing I’d nitpick about is the variety. Some were the usual Western Chinese stuff you can find anywhere and when I have a grease craving, there’s very little to choose from.
I eyed the desserts a lot more. There were nine items to select from!
J: I’m sure I saw a few more than nine but still, for $12 I couldn’t lose. Normal dinner buffets cost anywhere from $15 – 19. But of the food I ate, that which is best remembered was the sweet and sour ham. It was so unusual and yet the flavours gelled so well that I didn’t care I was stepping outside the normal Western Chinese cuisine. My favourite of the night was the very tasty spicy pork with tofu. The spiciness came from the small red chili peppers.
Ed dared me to devour one of them. And after escaping a similar incident unscathed, I believed myself to be Superman. I wish I had the bright red cape, it would have matched the colour of my face.
3 Blokes out of 5