New Dim Sum at Yonge & St. Clair?
I recently saw the signage go up at the formet site of Didier. It will be called Kwan and promises dim sum and other chinese cuisine. Anyone have any information on owners or opening dates?
Went there this morning with my family to find it closed with no explanation. Business hours were clearly posted with opening time of 10am on Saturday morning. We went at 10:15am and the doors were locked. No sign of staff getting ready. We parked at the nearby Green P on Delisle for $6 and ended up trekking back to our car and driving off to Rol San in Chinatown. Needless to say - I'm pissed!
kwan dim sum opened on the 20th. Web is kwansimsum.ca but it only shows phone and map. I walked by at 5 pm yesterday and it was quite busy. I didn't eat but the food sure looked tasty. They were very friendly and i took a menu to look at. It looked a bit pricy but the decor sure aint Spadina. Hope it works as we need restaurant help in the area.
If you live in or near midtown Kwan is a pretty good place to satisfy a dim sum craving without getting yourself to Spadina or Thornhill and points northeast.
The average price of $5/plate is tempered by the reduced travel and elegant and clean surroundings.
Very good Har Gau $5, generous Siu Mai $5, tiny Ham Zoi Gok $4, dry Cha Siu bao $3, quite good ribs $3, excellent and non-greasy stir fried sticky rice with pine nuts $8.
The almond based deserts were a hit too. Great flavour and mouth feel.
The bar and dining room are clean and nicely transformed to a light handed asian fusion of Rhodes and Didier.
Unless things go downhill I will be clicking my chopsticks here fairly frequently instead of making the drive to either the 'burbs or downtown.
Visited today for the first time.
Went after lunch rush (1 pm), so the restaurant wasn't very busy, but there were many staff.
Elegant wood surroundings, with subdued lighting that was bright but not glaring. GF and I both noticed the elegance of the china.
Menu is fairly standard, but everything we had was done quite well. Har gow, for example, featured hot and crunchy shrimp in a wrapper that had not been so over-steamed that it fell apart. Crisp spring rolls didn't feel greasy at all. Honey-garlic beef ribs, while not traditional at dim sum to me, were tasty and the beef had a pleasant texture.
Texture also played a part in our two desserts, the coffee layer cake and chilled mango pudding. Be advised the coffee cake does not contain any cake! It is a layered gelatin, with alternate stripes of coffee and evaporated milk gels. The texture was slightly firmer than someone raised on Jello would expect, and it broke down slowly in my mouth. I noted it to the server, and she took the time to share that had been her experience at first, but that once you got used to it, the flavour was good. I persevered, and ended up enjoying it. The mango pudding was very well done - not the gelatin mold I'm offered elsewhere, but one where you could taste the actual mango and its flesh.
Service was very good - this may be due to the restaurant being half empty at 2 pm on Saturday - with a number of servers stopping by to check on us.
Total bill for 7 dishes and 2 desserts was $51. Compared to a Spadina joint, this is expensive, but the quality was as good or better as I've enjoyed there, ambience was hugely better, and service much more attentive and personable. I'm not going to go every week, but it's definitely in my rotation.
I also visited recently, and differ with some of your opinions (although I didn't have the same dishes).
I really enjoyed the mushroom spring rolls (which you didn't have), although they were slightly greasy (which probably added to the flavour).
We had a shrimp dish that was excellent - unfortunately I don't recall its name and there's no menu posted on-line or outside the restaurant, so it shall remain a secret for now.
The Seafood Pumpkin Soup 'wasn't'! Admittedly the seafood was well cooked, but the rest of the dish didn't match up. At first, I thought it underseasoned, but adding salt only helped marginally. The broth was thin, totally unlike the flavour of (Chinese) Pumpkin (or North American for that matter). The seafood appeared to be mainly shrimp with a little lobster - these have similar textures, and the pieces were very small, so I'm not certain. But my comment was that it needed crab to provide an alternative texture (yet your review suggests that crab was served to you). Upon leaving the soup portion and commenting on the lack of flavour, we were informed (by the excellent server) that it was actually buttercup squash (NOT pumpkin).
The Red Wine Short Ribs Casserole was confusing. Although the flavours were good, it just seemed out-of-place in this restaurant. If I was looking for a dish like this, I'd normally go to a French-style bistro. Rather difficult to eat with chopsticks too (although I managed). A nearby table gave up and asked for a knife and fork. Good, but I probably wouldn't order again.
The rice with fresh vegetables was excellent (although again a little oily). Great textures.
And dessert (the coffee jello square) was flavourful - but not my favourite texture. Served with what was described as a macadamia cookie, but topped with an almond.
Overall, the meal was better than it probably sounds - I was concentrating on comparing with your dishes and my best two dishes you didn't have.
Service was pretty good overall, with a few missteps that I'll ascribe to opening jitters.
I'll almost certainly be back to try some different dishes, but enough promise so far to make it worth a visit.
I had lunch there today. I was on my own so ordered few dishes: shrimp siu mai, deep fried pork and dried shrimp dumplings, and baby bokchoy in chicken broth with goji berries and enoki mushrooms. With tea, total before tip came to $20.
- Decor is very nice, elegant, china is very very nice, and high-end
- Food was tasty and fresh, shrimp texture in the siu mai was nice, still almost crunchy, not mushy at all, and I loved the bok choy with goji berries
- Service was friendly
- Service was slow, my dishes came several minutes apart, I had time to eat them completely before the next one came; I asked for soy sauce and had to wait for it for so long that I was almost done eating
- I was not told I would be charged for tea - I don't mind paying, I just want to know what to expect
- $20 for lunch is expensive - I was told they would eventually have lunch specials - I look forward to that!
I had a good meal but I would not say it was great. And it was more expensive than I am willing to pay for a regular weekday lunch. I will keep this place on my "special lunch" list.
We visited Kwan for dim sum this morning. Across the board each dish was prepared with excellent ingredients. Tea is much higher quality than what I find typically at restaurants in Chinatown. Even the decor is very tasteful.
Favorites: BBQ Pork Puff Pastry, Har Gow (Crystal Shrimp), Fun Guo (aka Chui Chow), Shrimp Rice Roll, Lo Mai Gai (Lotus Leaf Sticky Rice).
The Lau Sa Bao (Golden Lava Bun aka Flowing Sand Bun aka Salted Egg Custard Bun) was the more traditional yolky style vs what I more frequently find, Lai Wong Bon, which has a more of steamed cake batter texture... lower brow, but I'm used to it ;)
The only miss for me was the bean curd wrap. The flavor was good, but it would have been much better with firm tofu and mushroom filling vs their mushroom and cabbage filling (the steamed cabbage is too soft).
For those familiar with dim sum in Toronto, Kwan is a step up with better ingredients and atmosphere than Rol San (another favorite spot of ours). Compared with Lai Wah Heen in its hey day, the menu is not quite as long, but much more affordable.
Service was friendly, but still getting acquainted with their brand new space.
It is a great addition to the neighbourhood and I'd venture to say even if you don't live nearby worth a drive if you love dim sum.
In my top 3 for dim sum in Toronto.
Here are some pics:
First three pics are the restaurant - dark furniture.
Ordering system is via fill in the bubbles with the number of each dish that you want. Problem is that the space for the numbers is way too small.
There are no condiments on the table - no soy sauce or sriracha sauce. They'll bring out condiments for certain dishes (and then take away the condiments when that dish is finished).
The teapot we received had barely enough tea for two cups before needing a refill.
Dishes are expensive compared to the usual dim sum place, though I recall Casa Imperial being in the same ballpark for prices.
S: $3 M: $4 L:$5 (including Har Gow, Siu Mai, Beef Rice Roll)
Re: menu bubbles being too small, I agree and found it hard the glossy paper hard to write on.
As for the soy sauce, I thought it was good quality (would be interested to know what brand, any clue?) and each time it was brought out the container was warm, a nice touch!
The tea pot was a bit small, but they were pretty good about keeping it filled with fresh hot water.
Re: menu bubbles - they should go with either a much larger square box or the ever popular underline. I'd also say that the chinese characters on the menu are pretty small - may be hard for people with vision problems to read.
The warmed soy sauce is a nice touch - but when they take away the soy sauce container and you want soy sauce, it makes no difference.
Do they have a limited supply of soy sauce containers or are they afraid people will still them???
I noticed a larger group had a slightly larger tea pot - looked larger to me from where I sat.
One last hiccup - we didn't select siu mai in our original order (partner placed the number beside the chicken siu mai by mistake) so we ordered siu mai after we had finished the original order and had to wait about 20 minutes for them to arrive.
EDIT: Forgot to list my favs - the egg tarts and steamed bbq pork buns were really good. the beef rice roll had lots of beef.
I can't see them doing much weekday lunch business @ $5 per popular dish.
The dinner menu looks even more expensive - $15 for bok choy dish.
Went as a group of 4, was appalled by the lack of service. We had to ask for hot sauce 3 times before it came. We ordered congee to share, it came with 2 bowls so we had to ask for extra bowls (numerous times again). Waitress asked if we wanted tea, did not say that we would be charged $6 for the 4 of us. This place is a huge ripoff, if you charge for tea, at least ask what type of tea I want to drink. Don't charge $6 for generic chinese tea.
Food is not good at all, especially at these ridiculous prices. Quality of food is lower than china town but prices are more than excellent dim sum places in Scarborough/Markham.
Charging for dim sum tea is pretty standard in the GTA. Some places might waive the tea charge (and offer a 10% discount) for regulars...or if they just like you for some reason;-) Waiving of the tea charge is uncommon with early bird discounts. The point is that one should expect to be charged for tea as a starting point. They should be asking what type of tea you want though regardless. A new charge appearing sporadically around town is a "sauce" charge (usually at the more upscale places). Charging for tea outside of dim sum service is uncommon in GTA restaurants.
Lol. On our own, free tea for us is rare, but whenever I go with my elderly MIL, we always seem to get it...even new places that don't know her. I have another friend who claims he can get the free tea (incl the 10% discount) at any dim sum joint in the Northern burbs and I have no reason to doubt this;-)
Maybe it was just your waitress who gave bad service?
When I went, the waitress asked what type of tea we wanted. She mentioned two types of tea, neither of which I had heard of before. When the small teapot arrived, I looked inside and there were tons of tea leaves in the pot - we're talking kudzu-like, attack-of-the-tea-leaves level.
I second the statement about free tea in dim sum restaurants - if you're a frequent patron or an old chinese person, you can ask and usually get free tea.
Where in chinatown would you suggest people go instead?
On a budget, I would suggest Chinatown. But if you are paying these prices ($3 for small), I would suggest going uptown to Shangri-la. Far superior food and service for $2.80 small. It's not even close tbh.
If I am paying $20+ for a dimsum lunch, I expect it to be of higher quality. All I'm saying is that there are much better options out there.
Was there this past Saturday, 11:30, no problems with service, restaurant not particularly full. Found our waiter to be charming. I arrived late, not sure if they mentioned charging for tea. As for prices, it's dimsum at Yonge and St. Clair - of course it's going to be more expensive than dimsum in Markham. Price was reasonable to me.
I'm pretty basic - har gow, siu mai, baked pork puffs, steamed pork puffs, shrimp noodle, sticky rice, and a couple of veggie/scallop options for my wife. It all worked for us... We tried a fun dessert dish, that wasn't that good, but was cute.
I realize the food's better in Markham/Richmond HIll, but i live in the middle of the city, with kids, and don't have time to drive out that way. I'd put it a notch ahead of Dynasty in Yorkville, and Crown Princess on Bay, but that's just me. I'd be curious for Charles to give us a yay or nay on it...
Went here on the weekend with the family and we really enjoyed it. We had (apologies for all spelling mistakes...)har gow, wu gok, hum sui gok, shrimp cheung fun, deep-fried tofu pieces with chopped garlic and chili, fried shrimp with salad dressing and a steamed bok choi with enoki and goji berry. The fried dishes had a wonderfully, light, greaseless coating and were very flavourful. I particularly loved the tofu. The only dish that was meh was the bok choi - it needed a big shot of fresh garlic or something else to punch up the flavour (Rol San's bok choi with garlic is far superior). Service was friendly, the room has an upscale vibe to it and the bill, for 4 of us, was just $55 (9 dishes, I think). I forgot to check if we charged for tea or not. You would never have known it was Chinese New Year, which surprised me a bit - thought they might have a special or two, or some acknowledgement but anyway, no biggie. It's a stellar addition to midtown and I won't hesitate to go back.
They've been in business now since Christmas and I've gone 3 times for dinner in the evening.
The ambience is wonderful! The main room emits a warm feeling (those who dined at Rhodes will remember the original herringbone wood flrs.) and has a newly re-done Asian decor.
The food is very good, prepared by the former chef from Lai Wai Huen. Dishes are creative and flavourful. Nice to start with Peking duck (which doesn't have to be requested/prepared in adv.)Their Hot and Sour Soup is excellent! Some other outstanding dishes are: chilli garlic prawns (especially delicious!) salt and pepper beef tenderloin cubes, crispy sesame chicken, moo shoo (pork, beef. or chicken) asparagus, coconut jello, etc. They also offer a 5- course meal for $30. (haven't tried yet).
Service is very attentive; they will bring dishes in order you request. Overall, the restaurant gets it right on all fronts!
Since Chau Lau (not the best dim sum but good in a pinch) vacated Yonge and Eglinton there has been a serious need for some good Dim Sum in the area. So tried out Saturday morning Dim Sum recently.
- a little pricey for dim sum
- servers aren't as educated on the tea, which the chef is trying to push, as you would hope if it is to be a selling feature.
- very simple menu, i think. they're clearly trying to appeal to the neighbourhood crowd (is this a negative? they clearly know their clientele!)
- while they don't know much about the tea, it is REALLY great, top quality stuff.
- not super greasy eats (some places just make my tummy turn)
- servers walk around with trays (instead of carts & scissors) to sell beautifully displayed dim sum treats
- the fresh baked pork bun…. omg…. i've never had a better one
- the bao buns were super good. sometimes too much bread @ other places… nice balance of bun and filling.
- decor (hello, crown princess in scarborough?)
- upcoming tea tasting bar, super excited to see if this pans out well for them.
Definitely pricey but all in all, I would definitely go back. Great service for a new business (there are some kinks to work out but they did well), and can't wait to try dinner.