Chic Chinoise 214 King St W - Anyone Been?
I've just came back from eating dinner there while on a business trip in Toronto. My overall impression is underwhelmed.
- Décor: Looks like something out of a Hong Kong B-movie circa 1989 -- I thought the silver pleather chairs and a varilight tube under the bar were particularly cheesy. The beige drapes covering one of the walls and part of the ceilings were strange; is it to hide renovations?
- Atmosphere: The maître d' enthusiastically mentioned this was a 'live jazz' night when he brought me to my table. Unfortunately, the musical trio was tucked in a dark corner, under the big screen TV tuned to CNN, with no lights to showcase them. Which might be a good thing, since they were very average. Shortly after sitting down, I noticed a slight but still annoying vibration from the floor -- I assumed it was from an old heating system in need of tuning. This vibration remained for the whole meal, and made it seem like I was eating on a train or airplane.
- Food: I quickly glanced at the dim sum menu, but since I was alone, I focused on the dinner specials. A roasted duck and enoki 'velouté' was disappointingly salty. The main entrée of homemade honey BBQ pork was well-done, but flavorless. So was the accompaniment of braised tofu and vegetables. The only good point was the portions: not too small or too big. The price was average; the bill came to just under $40.
- Service: Service was generally attentive, although they were delays in getting the bill, despite the fact that I was one of only 3 occupied tables in the restaurant.
On a final note, a pet peeve of mine was how my waitress was dressed: if you're going to wear a black sleeveless minidress, either forgo the bra, or at the very least wear one that matches. Having 2 white straps sticking out over your shoulders just looks tacky.
Met a friend for lunch recently, the food was generally tasty but expensive! With tax and tip it was about $70 (no booze), although we did order a bit too much food. For price versus quality, I would prefer to go to Lai Wah Heen. A very small order of chinese brocoli was $12! The dim sum was generally OK - har gow, crab and pea shoot dumplings, black bean short ribs were all good but not amazing. Disappointments were the shanghai soup dumplings, green onion pancakes, taro cake and congee. The service was attentive.
I went there for lunch one day last week. The dim sum was definitely fresh and (mostly) flavourful. The service was attentive and pretty quick. My only gripe is that that they're on the higher end of the pricing scale, which is fine for a weekend brunch, but was a bit rich for lunch.
Before attending a concert at Roy Thomson Hall last week, my coworker and I were looking for a place to have dinner in the area. We walked by Chic Chinoise and were confronted by a woman waving cards advertising a special promotion (which was just free oysters). She mentioned how they have "all-day dim sum" and "hot girls". We decided to try it out after weighing our other options (pub food, Kama for Indian, Japanese a few steps below).
Inside, the interior is all loungey and the waitresses were dressed mostly in black. Our hostess left us with menus and we noted the assortment of dishes including a token dozen or so dim sum, Vietnamese pho, Singapore curry noodles, pad Thai and other Cantonese dishes. Unfortunately, we waited for ten minutes without one person coming to offer us water or to take our drinks order. We left the restaurant very annoyed, stopping to inform the hostess of the lack of service.
My only regret was not finding the woman out front handing out the postcards to let her know that waitresses were not all that hot.
The menu is 'asian fusion' but it doesn't stray far from your typical cantonese 'chinese food' menu. The kitchen staff is all from Hong Kong and so the cantonese food is truly authentic.
Lunch is dim sum and lunch specials, while dinner is a la carte; though it does serve certain dim sum items at dinner as well.
The menu has a page dedicated each to; Dim Sum, Soup, Appetizer and Salad, Vegetarian, Poultry, Meats, Seafood, Rice, and Noodle.
The average Entree cost is about 10-13 dollars I'd guess (I have the 'takeout' menu in front of me, which is really just the menu on paper, but don't care to take out a calculator) but there are the occasional 'splurge' items like 'Whole Boriled Lobster with Chef's Special Honey Dijon Mustard Sauce' (One I believe RockyL commented on) or 'Homemade Roasted Peking Duck (2 Courses)'. One needs to keep in mind with these items of course that while the price tag is high they are dishes to share and, in the case of the duck, two courses.
The food is fast, fresh, and so far the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. I have never been at lunch, but the dinner waitstaff are sweethearts that truly care about their customers. I myself am in training to be a server there, and am currently acting as a hostess. Obviously this means you'd assume I have some stake in the business and would be bias, but I think most of the comments I've included here are as objective as possible.
The owner of this restaurant also owns the Dynasty restaurant on Bloor, in the Yorkville area of downtown (over the Sephora, across from Lululemon) as well as Paradise in North York.
Address: 214 King Street West
Tel: 416 599 8828
Hope that helps!
The Hong Kong Tourist board took me there last week (They are flying me to HK in November for a 'Food Tour' press junket.)
The place was 'Chic' I suppose, and everyone on staff who came to the table spoke Cantonese and or Putonghua, as did my hosts. There was a menu of 'set' meals, but I noticed everyone there was eating off the Dim-Sum menu.
Now- as I was there for a meeting with the HKTB to discuss the upcoming trip I didn't take notes as to what I was eating (need some down-time) and I let my hosts order (as is polite) - I felt the food was generally good standard D-S. I didn't shout for joy or walk away disappointed either.
Everything was fresh, and the standout would have been a dumpling with pea shoots.
On leaving my hosts did discuss with the manager the possibility of holding HKTB launch dinners in the VIP lounge at the back of the restaurant... So I guess they liked it.
Wish I could be more helpful.