Koala T Cafe — Adding Szechuan Food to a Boba Place. Hmm. OK.

12 Nov

I’m pretty open to ambitious attempts by restaurants to try something new. At least I like to think so. But a boba place transforming itself into a full service Szechuan restaurant? I couldn’t resist despite obvious warning signs. (there’s orange chicken on the menu)

They didn’t do much to change the place, other than to make clear that the seating is now for the full-service restaurant. No more hanging out studying for hours with a $4 boba. My meal came out to $18 (entree, boba, tip).

The big sell is that this fancy, legit Szechuan chef from Sichuan is consulting and helping them create real food. Real Chinese food is not what you expect in Westwood, but the sign makes it seem like this guy has real street cred. And I happened to be there on a day he was there (I saw him in the kitchen).

Ok, fine, I’ve been upsold. I wanted to spend $4 on a boba and have a place to get some work done, but I needed to eat anyways, and it’s worth a shot if this place turned out to be Chengdu Taste West. 

The boba was more or less what I remembered. Great. So I ordered one of my favorite dishes, Dan Dan noodles. I sometimes fall into a trance thinking of the version at Chengdu Taste. So maybe this could evoke that, seeing as how the chef was a real Szechuan chef.

What you’re seeing here is the Dan Dan noodles I got. It was nothing like any DDN I’ve ever had. Now, I’m not from Sichuan, so maybe chef knows something I don’t about DDN. But I’ve never had it as a soup. The noodles were the same store bought boxed noodles I buy at 99 Ranch, so they were fine but nothing special. The bok choy was a strange choice, but whatever. The sauce was just so disappointing. It tasted of Sichuan peppercorns, but watered down. And the pork was clearly cooked separately and thrown in later.

Honestly, it sucked. I didn’t even finish it.

I’d still recommend the place for boba (to go). And maybe the popcorn chicken is still great. But I’m pretty sure I’ll never eat the Szechuan food here again.

Koala Tapioca
10965 Weyburn Ave, 
Los Angeles, CA 90024


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