Spring Villa - Seldomly mentioned, Surprisingly good!
Before the era of the Casa's, Yang's and Emperor, the go to places for good Dim Sum up north had been Sam Woo Seafood, Dragon Dynasty, Spring Villa, Bayview Gardens and Grand Yatt. Unfortunately, the latter two, which also happened to be the best, have since gone out of business. However, the remaining trio are still going strong.
Its been quite a while since I had Dim Sum at Spring Villa. Being Family Day, I therefore rounded up the family and pay them a re-visit. Behaving like we just got released from some gulag, my kids ordered an obscene quantity of food!! Our party of four ordered the following:
- Har Dow
- 2 servings of Braised Honey combed tripe with turnips
- Steamed turnip pudding
- Fried Taro Croquettes
- Shredded taro pancake
- Fried Cuttlefish tentacles with spiced pepper salt
- Baby octopus in curry sauce
- Deep fried oysters
- Steamed Shrimp rice roll Cheung-Fun
- Steamed baby pork ribs in black bean garlic sauce
- Steamed chicken feet in house special sauce
- Veggie dumplings with bamboo shoot and bok-choi filling
- Szechuan spicy 'Dan-Dan' noodle
- B-B-Q pork in Oyster sauce buns
- Baked egg custard tarts ( dessert )
- Steamed 'thousand-layers' cake ( dessert )
- Japanese mango mochis ( dessert )
By Toronto Dim Sum standard, the quality of almost every single dish was very high. Execution was very competent, seasoning spot-on, fried products were piping hot and crisp, dumpling wrappers were thin and intact.....In short, I cannot fault a single dish... Well! may be the steamed baby octopus, which was a bit under seasoned?!
One dish really stood out though and that was the Szechuan Dan-Dan noodle. It actually trumped a similar bowl I had at Northern Dumpling Kitchen a few days ago. At that time, I thought I have tasted the best in the GTA!
This is the first time I paid over $100 for Dim Sum for four. However, IMO its definitely worth the money!
If I remember correctly, they have early bird special where all orders before 10:30 were the same price (S,M, L) for $2.50 or something. The couple times I went, the place would be packed and people were given order sheets while still in line!
I agree with Charles, it's a very decent place especially if you are able to get a table during the morning madness.
After an eight months hiatus, I paid Spring Villa a re-visit today.
First person, I saw inside the restaurant was no other than the owner of Maple Yip having dim sum lunch!! Endorsement from a top notch competitor! Must be good omen!!
Apart from the sub-par shrimp dumpling - Har Gow, which for some unexplained reason, no outfit in town manage to do a good job on?! The dim sum lunch was once again one of the better offerings in town. Definitely in my top 3 list!
Three 'new dishes' I tried which ALL turned out to be uber-flavourful and worthy of mentioning include:
- 'Fried glutinous rice with Chinese wind-dried preserved meats and pine-nuts'. Though less 'chewy' than normal, Spring Villa's rendition was totally greaseless, refined and delicious.
- ' Braised duck wings and webs with Chinese Shitaki mushrooms in a rich abalone based gravy'. Tender enough to retain a degree of chewiness, this is a great dish to munch-on. The amazingly delicious sauce was so good. I was hoping I have some baguette to mop it up?!!
- ' Fried prawns and pineapple croquette with creamy mayo filling'. Delicately crispy, crunchy, chewy and oozing with sauce, this morsel was so addictive!! Pity I have to pay attention to my cholesterol level!! Sigh!!