Showing posts with label red bean. Show all posts
Showing posts with label red bean. Show all posts

Crown Jewel Fine Dining for dim sum 御膳豪庭 (Toronto)

For as long as I can remember, weekends were a time for gathering family members (whether it be one other person or the entire 20 member gang) for dim sum. The meal consisted of varied bite-sized  dishes and desserts weren’t reserved as the last bites… eat it first, who cares!

As I’ve grown, dim sum has changed from a weekly to bi-weekly affair, but acting as the conduit for gathering family members, that hasn’t changed. How dim sum is enjoyed has morphed - lunch used to take longer as you waited for the must have dishes to be wheeled from carts to your table. With the exception of one or two restaurants, everyone has moved to the ordering method so waiting and surprises are things of the past.

To be fair, I don’t mind the transition, made-to-order food is hotter and fresher. You also rarely leave disappointed. Crown Jewel Fine Dining offers a decent selection at competitive prices: S for $3.50, M for $4.50, and L for $5.50, but on non-holidays if you order before 11am, S-L dishes will be $3.50.

Where Crown differs is the size of their dim sum. Their steamed shrimp dumpling har gow (L) and steamed shrimp & pork dumpling siu mai (L), are huge and about 50% larger than other restaurants while the taste is still relatively consistent.

Some dumplings could use more seasoning. The steamed vegetable dumpling (L) is a great vegetarian option containing snow pea shoots and prince mushroom slivers, but desperately needs salt. Similarly, the seafood dumpling in soup (L) is fairly bland despite containing chunky portions of various seafood and mushroom.

I’m glad restaurants are starting to offer more vegetarian options. A pumpkin congee with chestnut and corn (L) seems to grace most menus and truthfully is quite delicious. At Crown, they leave some pumpkin pieces strewn throughout the congee so it ends up having more texture and bite. The chestnuts also make the congee savoury.

If you prefer your congee with meat, the traditional pork and preserved egg (L) is available. At Crown, the pork is shredded rather than diced, which may make it easier for some to eat.

Of course, there are a host of other family favourites including steamed beef balls with vegetables (S), which were a little dense for my taste; silky steamed BBQ rice rolls (M) that had me reaching for seconds; and flavourful steamed curry cuttlefish (M), although the quality varies depending on the visit.

What surprised me the most were their buns, something I normally don’t order but in a large family setting someone’s bound to want. The Crown Jewel BBQ pork buns (L) have a slightly sweet crust and is stuffed with chunky pieces of BBQ pork – they’re similar to the ones you’ll find at Hong Kong’s Tim Ho Wan. These are now a must-order dish for me. 

The steamed lau sha custard buns (M) were also tasty, the fluid milky egg custard specked with pieces of salty egg yolk so it added a bit of saltiness without becoming overboard.

The deep fried shrimp spring rolls (L) arrive with a beautiful fried lattice on the bottom. However, the filling had little to no shrimp and instead tons of pork and a fragrant herb that I can’t identify.

Larger tables may want to “splurge” for an order of the clay pot rice ($8.80). It’s at least two times the size of what you’d find elsewhere and a bit of rice helps settle the stomach after the heavier proteins. There’s three versions to choose from but the ground chicken and octopus patty is one that’s generally not found elsewhere.

With so many of the dishes being larger than competitors, the mango pudding (M) was shockingly sparse with two palm sized gold fish in the order. The Chinese description also notes it arrives with ice cream - in reality it’s canned whipped cream, but admittedly an improvement over evaporated milk.

Not all desserts were small. Crown certainly doesn’t skimp on the beans in their clear red bean jelly (M); the dessert was bricks of soft beans solidified in a lightly sweetened jelly. The coffee and cream jelly (M) was also a sizeable portion and had a hefty kick of coffee flavours.

If you need an excuse to gather a group, why not look into trying dim sum? There’s tons of options and doesn’t cost much to try something new. My family has been doing it for decades.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 325 Bamburgh Circle

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - 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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Other Gastro World posts similar to this:

Crown Jewel Fine Dining Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kimuraya 木村屋 (Tokyo)

Location: Tokyo, Japan
Address: 4-5-7 Ginza, Chuuou (beside the Wako department store by exit A10 of Ginza station)

Few businesses last for decades let alone for centuries. Kimuraya is one of these rare companies that started in 1874 and still exists today, right beside the Wako department store near exit A10 of Ginza station.

Yasubei Kimura, the founder of Kimuraya, also invented the anpan a sweet bun filled with red bean paste. The dark red paste is common in Asian desserts where azuki beans are mashed and sweetened. Today, Kimuraya also sells buns with various other fillings including sesame, white beans, chestnuts, etc.

The oldest bakery in Japan is fairly small and busy during my weekday visit. Prefilled bags of bread and rolls were prepared on shelves and cakes & other pastries sit in the back in a display case. But, the busiest section lies at the front of the store – wooden boxes filled with dozens of rolls and women stand bagging them to order. Since there was no English signage, it was difficult for me to decipher what was bagged, so I played it safe and waited in line at the front where the wooden boxes at least display buns so you can guess at what fillings were inside.

Keeping with tradition, I purchased two red bean and two black sesame buns for my husband and I.  One was ¥150 per bun while the other ¥170, which is fairly expensive for a scone sized roll. 

You may be wondering, other than the history, what makes it so special? From what I can gather, it has a higher filling to bun ratio and the filling is set perfectly in the middle of the bun for even distribution rather than off to one side like competing products. Moreover, the filling itself is thicker and uses a lot of the ingredients so you really get the natural taste of the red bean and sesame without it being overly sweet. Sorry for the poor picture quality, but I just remembered to snap a photo of the filling while gobbling down my second bun.

Aside from sweets, Kimuraya is also known for their tofu bread, but I wasn’t able to find it due to the lack of labels. Overall, if the queue isn’t long and you’re in for a snack, drop by Kimuraya when you’re shopping around Ginza to try out one of these historical baked goods.

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