Royale Fine Dining & Banquet 皇家御宴 (Toronto)

Royale Fine Dining & Banquet

When getting a table at Ginger and Onion became too difficult, a search for another Scarborough dim sum restaurant started. Fingers crossed, but the foodie gods may have answered my prayers with Royale Fine Dining & Banquet. 

Royale’s regular prices are $2.80 for S, $3.80 for M, $4.80 for L, $5.80 for XL, $6.80 for SP and $7.80 for J. If you dine between 9am – 11am, all S, M and L dishes are $2.80, with a cash payment. Since it’s a great deal, other customers tend to dine at this time so be prepared to wait if you arrive after 10:30.

Of course, they offer the traditional dishes: steamed pork siu mai (L) and shrimp har gow dumplings (L). The fish roe on the siu mai adds an essence I’m not crazy about, but the pork mixture is delicious with shrimp and straw mushrooms mixed in. The har gow is brimming with shrimp and well-seasoned, although it doesn’t contain the fish maw (the dehydrated air bladder of a fish) listed in the description. 

Har gowSiu mai

Other steamed dumplings include a crab meat and egg white (L) and steamed stingray shaped dumplings filled with shrimp and fish (L). Both are beautifully presented, but the crab meat one is rather bland. Although the beady eyes are slightly creepy, the filling of shrimp and white fish in the stingray dumplings is succulent with some diced asparagus adding a fresh element.

Crab and shrimp dumplingShrimp and fish dumplings

Royale also has a fried dumplings filled with shrimp & pork (L). While the pork was non-existent, there was plenty of shrimp with chives. All is encapsulated in a sticky slightly sweet wrapper before being deep fried. A bowl of consume accompanies the dish, acting as a dip or just something to sip on after having the crispy treat.

A popular old school dish that’s starting to make a comeback is shrimp toast (L). It was one of my grandfather’s favourite dishes, so I decided to order it in his memory. In between the bread and wonton wrapper is shrimp paste and comes with a spicy radish soy sauce dip. It’s nice and crunchy but too oily for my taste. Overall, a decent version of the dish if you like shrimp toast.

Shrimp toast

Another interesting shrimp dish is the steamed prawn’s tails stuffed with shrimp mousse and glutinous rice (L).  Although not the most photogenic, it’s rather good with a shrimp being wrapped in shrimp paste and a layer of sticky rice. As the dish steams, the sticky rice soaks in the shrimp’s sweet juices – just eat it quickly to avoid having the rice get too soft.

The steamed beef balls mixed with old age tangerine peels (S) are a fair size. Like other restaurants, chopped parsley is mixed with the beef; there wasn’t any citrus as noted on the menu.

Underneath the steamed curry cuttlefish Singapore style (L) were potato pieces, soaking in the flavourful curry sauce. The cuttlefish were just cooked through and thankfully not rubbery.

Unlike other restaurants, Royale doesn’t have many steamed rice roll choices. The Chinese yellow chive and prawns (L) is the better of the bunch with large prawns and pea shoot leaves to vary the flavour. If you enjoy the silkiness of the rice roll, the version with minced pork and parsley (L) is ideal – there’s not much filling but plenty of carbs.

shrimp rice rolls

Other substantial dishes include the popular sticky rice options. The steamed lotus leaf dumpling filled with glutinous rice and dried scallop (L) has been a varied experience. Once, there was plenty of well flavoured minced pork, mushrooms and a quail egg inside. While on another visit, the minced pork and mushrooms were swapped out for plain diced pork pieces and shrimp (sounds delicious, but made the dish bland).

Or there’s the steamed glutinous rice dumpling filled with pork and wrapped in bamboo (M), which is boiled in the wrapper and contains a big hunk of fatty pork, a salted duck egg and mung beans held in the sticky rice. 

Royale’s baked barbeque pork buns topped with puff pastry (M) are salty and sweet, adding a flaky buttery crust to the traditional pork bun. Since they always arrive hot out of the oven, there’s such a lovely sweet yeasty smell that accompanies the dish.

BBQ pork pineapple bun

The pan-seared glutinous rice rolls filled with Chinese sausage (L) isn’t properly named as the wrapper is a steamed bao rather than the thin rice roll. A savoury sticky black rice mixture is studded with diced Chinese sausage.  

Although the deep fried spiced octopus tentacles (XL) are not breaded, they are very crispy. There is a sweet and savoury taste to the dish as the octopus seems to be basted in a light teriyaki glaze prior to be deep fried. As a warning, unlike Mediterranean grilled octopus, these are thinner and the texture tends to be harder and chewier.

For dessert, the thousand layers coconut cake (L), steamed green tea steamed glutinous rice cake (L) and steamed sponge cake traditional style (M) are my top choices. All are sweet enough to satisfy, but different in taste and texture. The thousand layers cake is airy with alternating layers of steamed cake and coconut custard; the sponge cake has the same airy texture with hints of coconut and rock sugar.

Meanwhile, the glutinous rice cake is chewy with a thick green tea paste inside. To make the dish sweeter, I suggest letting them cool down prior to eating.

Overall, Royale isn’t the best dim sum in the GTA, their dumplings aren’t as seasoned so some may find it bland. However, the food’s quality is relatively consistent and their service has been attentive and helpful. Additionally, if you’re able to arrive at the restaurant, get seated and ordered before 11am, the $2.80 price point is a pretty good deal.

Apprehensively, I’m completing this post. I’ve finally found a new go-to dim sum place and of course want to share it with Gastro World readers. But, here’s hoping not many of you will visit on Sunday. After all, it’d be a shame if Royale became too busy and I’d have to such for another place all over again.  

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 648 Silver Star Blvd.

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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