Showing posts with label set menu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label set menu. Show all posts

Elegance Chinese Cuisine for Dinner (Markham)

Elegance Chinese Cuisine

When a banquet dinner to celebrate my mother’s birthday was required, Elegance Chinese Cuisine, the restaurant we generally go to for dim sum, came to mind. The restaurant is a gem, tucked in a quiet plaza so there’s plenty of parking during the dinner and the service attentive, not only during dinner, but throughout the entire process. From the moment I called in to make the reservation, Andy (their General Manager) was helpful at ensuring the menu was catered to meet our party size.

The banquet meal I chose normally feeds ten ($668 inclusive of taxes and gratuities), but with the exception of three dishes where I added on additional pieces, the existing menu was more than enough to accommodate four extra people.

Having located myself far away from the “serving station” and our server being so diligent at portioning dishes, most of the pictures within this post will be for the single serving. Sadly, they’re not photogenic, but hopefully provides you with an idea of the ingredients in each dish.

The skin on the roasted suckling pig was divine, very thin and crispy so it could shatter with a light pressure. The warm pieces of juicy pork contrasted with cold marinated jelly fish and sweet seaweed salad.

One of the large prawns in the seafood with vegetables plate was missing. Upon telling our server, they apologized and had it quickly supplemented (complete with an extra portion of vegetables) so the replacement dish wasn’t unadorned. Both the prawn and squid was just cooked through and the celery and snap peas crispy and fresh.

Interestingly, Elegance’s deep fried crab claw (hot, moist and a fair size) is each served with a hollowed out cucumber holding a mango and whipped cream filled crepe. They don’t exactly go together, but when eaten separately isn’t weird either. We all rather liked the early dessert in the meal.

Normally, I wouldn’t order shark fin, but this came set in the menu. The braised shark fin soup was chocked full of minced seafood in the thick umami broth.

The whole abalone was delicious having been slowly braised to that it was infused with flavour. Trying to describe abalone to a family member, I’ve synthesized it to the steak of the seafood world – if you can imagine a tenderloin having a scallop and oyster twinge to it.

Both the steamed chicken with superior soup and steamed green bass were decent – cooked well so the moisture remains and not overly seasoned so the chicken and fish shone through.

The lobster could have been stir fried a bit less as they were a little shrunken in their shells. But, the sweet and savoury Maggic sauce lightly coating each piece was tasty and not too overpowering.

Elegance jazzed up the rice dish by mixing wild and jasmine rice together, giving it a pretty contrasting hue. Egg white, shrimp and diced Chinese broccoli completed the fried rice, but a bit more salt would help.

The braised e-fu noodles had plenty of mushrooms (enoki and prince) mixed into the oyster sauce laced spongy noodles. Slivers of snow peas help to add crunch and colour.

For dessert, a bowl of coconut black glutinous rice soup, which was surprisingly sweet for a Chinese restaurant. On the side were petit fours of chewy soft almond cookies and a sticky pastry filled with red bean paste and tossed in dried coconut.

Since we were celebrating a birthday, we had to have an order of birthday buns (Elegance threw in on a complimentary basis). They were made fresh before dinner, arriving pillowy soft and filled with lotus paste – these were seriously the best birthday buns I’ve ever had.

Each bun is shaped into a longevity peach, decorated with a pink dye and green flour leaves. According to Wikipedia, they’re supposed to represent the peaches of immortality, a mythical fruit produced every thousand years and grants immorality. What a great way to live eternally, dining on good food amongst family and loved ones.

Overall mark - 9 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Markham, Canada
 Address: 20 Gibson Drive

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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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Elegance Chinese Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CLOSED: Dahn (Thornhill)

Location: Thornhill, Canada
Address: 8159 Yonge Street
Type of Meal: Dinner

Dahn, a known restaurant amongst the Korean population in Toronto, is one of the few that offers a set menu.  Akin to a tasting menu, except served family style, it's popular in Korea but hardly ever offered in Toronto. Having tried the typical casual Korean dining establishments, my friends and I agreed we had to expand our palettes. So, Dahn's set menu seemed like a great way to start.

The dinner menu costs $39.95 per person and has to be ordered by the entire table to be served. Given there are so many courses, in order to keep this review to a reasonable length, I'm going to only briefly comment on each.

To start came a bowl of red bean porridge. Is it normal to serve something so heavy to kick off a multi-course meal?  It was very thick and its gelatinous consistency makes it very filling so I only had a couple of bites to save room. It was bland and really no depth in flavour – this is no grits from Acadia.  I would have liked it to be hotter and perhaps have a sprinkling of fresh herbs on top to wake up the dish.

We were intrigued with what the "waterly kimchi" would be.  As soon as you see it, you realize the description pretty much explains everything. The presentation lacks colour and appeal since what arrives looks like pieces of turnip in dish water. Served cold, the "broth" is essentially the preserving liquid used to marinate the radishes. The soup tastes slightly sour and salty and could be refreshing in the summer. But, not a hit at our table as it gave the impression of drinking diluted pickle juice.

The daily salad looked appealing and colourful.  But, wasn’t anything spectacular given it consisted of ice burg lettuce, grape tomatoes, mandarin segments, a homemade  blueberry dressing and oddly a single maraschino cherry.  Not being a fan of fruit based salads I wasn’t a fan of the dish but one friend found the dressing good. Personally, I felt this dish didn't add much to the experience and Dahn should consider getting rid of it and making the following course larger.


The chilled bulgolgi salad was much better and one of my favourite dishes. The thinly sliced beef was well flavoured and had just the perfect amount of sweet and salty.  I loved that the marinade had micro pieces of garlic and shallots throughout.  Additionally, the crisp green beans at the bottom of the salad were unexpected and went really well with everything. I could have easily just made a meal out of this dish.


Next came a dish of cold seared tuna. The fish was cooked well with a great evenly seared ring.  But, I found it very bland as there was no notable crust and too little ponzu sauce topping the tuna.  Perhaps there was a flaw in the order of serving the dishes;  I would suggest serving this mild flavour tuna before the flavourful bulgogi dish.


The following japchae or Korean glass noodles was one of the best I’ve ever had.  I liked that they were less cooked so that the texture held up and didn’t cause the noodles to stick in a mound.  Additionally, the sauce had a great spicy undertone that added a little punch to the noodles.


Another popular dish followed - Korean pancakes. There were two flavours chives and mungbean.
  • The chive pancake was a beautiful colour but lacked texture as there no actual pieces of chives in the batter. 
  • Meanwhile, the mung bean version was much tastier with pieces of green onion throughout and a crispier crust.
The dish needed more of the soy dipping sauce as the pancakes themselves aren’t well flavoured.  Unfortunately, we ran out of the sauce so my second pancake ended up being relatively flavourless.


The deep fried marinated pollock was tasty but didn’t seem very Korean as was covered in a sweet chili thai sauce.  I liked its presentation in an edible bowl and deep frying the fish bone to add a decorative element.  Dahn gave a generous portion of fish so it was more than enough for the three of us.


More fried seafood followed with shrimp and pumpkin tempura.  The batter was very crispy but was too thick for my taste.  I certainly wasn’t expecting tempura at a Korean restaurant but then remembered their cuisine is influenced by the Japanese given Korea was occupied by Japan for a while.  I would have liked if they cooked the prawns another way since we had just been served deep fried pollock.


Korean barbeque followed with a platter of beef!  The assorted barbeque is a meat eater’s dream with cuts of flank steak, sirloin, short-ribs and marinated flank. The sirloin and marinated flank were definitely the highlights.  I would have like to have trade in the regular flank and short-ribs for a few pieces of kalbi instead.  I enjoyed the tradition of wrapping the beef in pieces of lettuce and topping the wrap with thinly sliced shaved onions. 


After all this food you finally get to the “main”.  Here, you get to choose from three options - chilled noodle soup, hot noodle soup or nurling (some rice dish).  We thought it was a shared plate like all the other courses so opted for the chilled noodle soup as we heard it was most popular.  But, it turns out each person gets their own dish; so, we would have rather have one of each so we could see the differences. 

At first I was weary of the chilled noodles as they arrived looking like they were in the waterly kimchi broth again.  But, it was less sour, and after a few bites really started to grow on me.  The best part was the texture of the noodles – they were very different from anything I’ve ever had and had a great al dente bite.  Next time I would like to try to hot version instead as found the cold soup a bit strange.  However, the dish was a great contrast after having all the heavy fried foods and barbeque beef.


The meal ends with a plate of fresh fruits (cantaloupe, strawberries and orange segments) and a choice of tea or coffee.  I opted for the traditional Korean cold tea which is prepared by brewing tea leaves with fruits, roots and other grains.  The result is a strongly flavoured beverage that doesn’t really resemble tea anymore.  Ours tasted like it was infused with mandarin orange peels and too sweet for my liking.  But, it could be that by then I was absolutely stuffed and just couldn’t handle a bite or sip of anything else!

I liked the restaurant itself – larger and cleaner feeling that most of the uptown Korean establishments.  Plus, they have private rooms that you can close the door at if you want some alone time with your companions.  The staff is friendly and there are so many food choices available. Their menu consists of many “favourites” (done better than most) and some more traditional offerings that I haven’t seen elsewhere.  Ultimately, I would definitely return to Dahn, albeit next time I’d just order off their a la carte menu. 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

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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!