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Queen Mum? Yes please!

Enfantsdoc Jun 9, 2010 06:42 PM

Not being from anywhere near here - I did exactly what I do every time I visit a new city: log on to chowhound and look for some recs from like-minded foodies.
Three free nights, three chances to experience the culinary breadth of this neighborhood (Queen's West/University); tonight was the peak of our culinary exploration.

Now, I know what you're going to say: the "Queen Mother" is far from a new discovery. Judging by the confident and determined stream of Torontons walking in, I knew immediately that the "Queen Mum" as it is referred by many on this blog, was *the* place to go.
For the three Scandinavian foodies joining me and I, the Queen Mother Cafe hit the spot, just right.

We arrived just as the ballet/theater crowd was getting ready to leave - auspicious (yet entirely unplanned) timing which lead to us sitting at a perfect spot in front of the restaurant's bay windows looking out on Queen. Beautiful spot for people-watching, both inside the restaurant, and outside, on the street.

A round of beers - and then to study the menu. Well rounded, without being pretentious - and weaving in/out of the menu were some Laotian dishes. Well - say no more.

We started with sticky rice (in a straw-woven basket ) accompanied by a peanut dipping sauce, Nam Jeun (Laotian spring rolls), fried Calamari with a sweet and spicy chili sauce and a Quinoa salad. Much to our surprise (and to my vindication, having endured the teasing from my partners in crime about ordering the "predictable", "too simple" dish), the sticky rice was remarkable! Rice perfectly steamed (and just as sticky as it needs to be so that you can roll it with your hand and not get your hands all, well, sticky), in a crunchy and zesty peanut sauce - simply delightful. The Nam Jeun came a very close second. Not oily or heavy, well balanced.

Onto our main courses - a special on tonight's menu, Mussels prepared in a Tiger-beer broth, served belgian style, Ping Gai - a beautifully grilled boneless chicken, crispy skin and all, with a lime/chili/fish sauce-based dipping sauce, and Khao Soy Gai - think ginger-based coconut curry with shredded chicken and noodles, only ten times better than that! A series of herbs (beyond the requisite mint, cilantro, bean sprouts) that I wish I could tease out, gave this turmeric-golden broth a life of its own.

Desserts? I wish there was room. And for me (I have a huge sweet tooth) that says a lot!
Our waiter was attentive and knowledgeable; the meal was well priced, the atmosphere was delightful.

What a find! - thank you to the Chowhounders who suggested it.

Queen Mother
206 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V1Z2, CA

  1. Veronica71 Oct 23, 2010 11:06 AM

    Sticky rice and Nam Jeun are the best. Great little patio.

    1. j
      JennaBean Jun 10, 2010 07:48 AM

      I was at the Queen Mother last night and had the Khao Soy Gai and I have to say I wish I liked it. While the broth was indeed tasty the chicken was dry as it has obviously been braised/cooked at a much too high temperature, the only vegetables to be found were a small handful of bean sprouts and they were anything but generous with the fresh herbs. Essentially I paid $15 (with tax) for some dried noodle, half an ounce of dry chicken and about an ounce of bean sprouts and herbs. I left wishing I would have had the mussels.

      Queen Mother
      206 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V1Z2, CA

      1. pescatarian Jun 10, 2010 07:32 AM

        Now I need some sticky rice.

        Does anyone know if the patio's really busy on a Sat night? For example, if about 6 people showed up at about 8 pm, would they get a table on the patio within a reasonable amount of time (say 30 min)?

        1 Reply
        1. re: pescatarian
          food face Jun 10, 2010 04:35 PM

          Not sure pescatarian. I live a block away and often walk by to find a line up even in the winter with no patio. It seems to be a place people line up for. You may be okay though in your 30 minute time limit? Let us know what happens.

        2. Rabbit Jun 10, 2010 06:55 AM

          Yep... I think the Queen Mum is just as Gary describes - a reliable go to spot!

          1. y
            Yum2MyTum Jun 10, 2010 06:37 AM

            I wonder if they still have that awesome quinoa salad on the menu... great place!

            1. s
              Sarah Cat Jun 10, 2010 06:14 AM

              I have been going to the Queen Mum since I was a teenager visiting toronto with my grandmother, and I don't think it has disappointed even once! Since I've lived in the city, it's been a go-to spot. Thanks for the reminder about this wonderful, reliable restaurant!

              1. Googs Jun 10, 2010 05:52 AM

                Aaaaah, it brings a smile to my face knowing the Queen Mum is being passed along to the next generation. You may not go there forever, but that place in your heart will always be there.

                1. food face Jun 10, 2010 05:08 AM

                  The sticky rice and peanut sauce as a starter with the veggie burger is my partners favorite lunch. I must agree, it is really good. They do a lot of their dishes really well. I also had a very juicy burger there once that was fantastic.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: food face
                    theFword Jun 10, 2010 05:29 AM

                    I have been going there for years just for their sticky rice. I have never had a bad meal at the Queen Mum. Glad you enjoyed your meal there, now I am craving sticky rice....

                  2. g
                    Gary Jun 10, 2010 04:53 AM

                    Thank you for this enthusiastic and detailed review. The Queen Mother is one of those places that flies a bit under the radar, but it's a dependable go-to spot. Good to know it can still be relied on!

                    Queen Mother
                    206 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V1Z2, CA

                    1. Full tummy Jun 9, 2010 10:30 PM

                      Good to know you enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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