Chinese Restaurants Reviews and Such

Sweet Aroma Chinese Rest. 570B Sargent Ave

A version of this Sweet Aroma Chinese Restaurant was first published in the January edition of West End Streets.

Sweet Aroma spring rolls
The full order of spring rolls from Sweet Aroma.

I’m back to doing regular restaurant reviews after my 11 days of Fried Chicken Fest reviews. You can find them all here: one, two, three, four, five, and six.

These days, there is so much turnover in the restaurant world, that I sometimes don’t notice when one closes and the next one opens. Such is the case for Sweet Aroma Chinese Restaurant.

Sweet Aroma is in the space that once contained Harman’s Ethiopian restaurant. Harman’s was named for the iconic Portage Avenue drugstore. The owner of the Ethiopian restaurant had worked at the drugstore lunch counter before it shut down. (True confession time: Despite living in the West End for years, I never visited Harman’s)

As with many restaurants, Harman’s Ethiopian closed down during the pandemic. I barely noticed. Not long after though, I did notice a new restaurant opening. This is Sweet Aroma Chinese Restaurant. Currently they are doing no dine-in, but this place is still well worth checking out.

Sweet Aroma, First Visit

First time around, I ordered some Spring Rolls, Deluxe Wonton Soup, and Curried Beef.

Of the three dishes, the Deluxe Wonton Soup was the star. The wontons were fat, and well filled. The broth was delicious. I like the way the fat glistens on the top of the broth.

I enjoyed the crunchiness of the Spring Rolls. The Curried Beef was good and hot. It also contains a really good mixture of meat and vegetables.

Deluxe Wonton Soup
Sweet Aroma serves up a jam-packed and delicious deluxe wonton soup.
Sweet Aroma Curried Beef
Curried Beef

More Take out

When I made my second visit, I ordered a couple of favourites. One was Hot and Sour Soup. The other was Ginger Beef. Along with these two I added a cauliflower dish and an order of four Spring Rolls. The Spring Rolls were free with a $25.00 purchase.

Sweet Aroma Hot and Sour
The Sweet Aroma hot and sour soup is one of the best that I have tried.

As a fan of spicy food, Hot and Sour Soup generally hits the spot. In the case of the Sweet Aroma version, it really hit the spot. This compares very favourably to the Hot and Sour soups from Singyun on Provencher, and Winter Garden on McPhillips, two at the top of my best Hot and Sour Soup lists (I probably should put them in list form sometime).

ginger beef
A chewy and sweet plate of ginger beef with crispy bits of ginger mixed in.

Ginger Beef is another dish I really like. I’m a ginger fan. Ginger Snaps, Ginger Ale, Ginger Marmalade, I enjoy them all. You can add this Ginger Beef to my gingery likes. The beef itself is quite tender, but what I really enjoy is the fact that there are both chunks, and strips of ginger throughout the dish. This really helps to cut through some of the sweetness of the sauce.

Spicy cauliflower
A good and hot cauliflower dish from Sweet Aroma

Finally, I tried the Spicy Cauliflower with Hot Peppers. This dish really lives up to the name. First off, the cauliflower is cooked with a good bit of crunch left to it. As for the spicy part, this is the kind of dish that not only lingers on the lips, but also clears the sinus cavities. That’s my idea of a good, spicy dish.

I’ve only made it down to Sweet Aroma on a couple of occasions. When the weather is warmer, I will probably visit it a few more times. The food is very good, and the service, while only limited to pick-up and delivery at the moment, is also very good.

I will admit to being sad that Harman’s couldn’t make it. However, that seems to be pandemic life. One moment things are as they usually are and the next minute they’ve disappeared.

However, at the same time we are getting to see the resilience of neighbourhoods and communities. I think Sweet Aroma is one small sign of such resilience in the West End.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.