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Friday, September 10, 2010

Crown Princess Fine Dining :: Dim Sum


Outside & Dining areas

A new dim sum place has hit the downtown core! Located in Fifth Element's old spot, Crown Princess Fine Dining is a welcome addition to the neighbourhood. We headed for the Early Bird special - $3.10 per Dim Sum dish before 11AM if you pay in cash. Fantastic presentation, delicious dishes, and great company - a perfect way to start my weekend =)

Crown Princess Fine Dining
Verdict: Great dim sum - go before 11AM for the Early Bird deal
Meal: Breakfast
Price: $3.10 per dish (cash, before 11AM) + tax & tip
Location: 1033 Bay Street






Dim Sum 
Shrimp Dumpling (Har Gow)




Started off with the traditional shrimp dumpling. We were with two Dim Sum virgins so this seemed like a safe bet. They were generously filled with whole shrimp and the skins were fresh! So far so good...













Goose Liver & Caviar (Sui Mai)
I managed to snag the one with the pool of liver juice :3



The presentation of these changes up from time to time. As a huge fan of Foie Gras, is it any surprise that I enjoyed duck liver & caviar dumplings? My favourite dish of the meal.

Topped with caviar and duck liver, it was filled with pork & shrimp. The combination was delicious, and I'll definitely be ordering them again.









Scallop Dumpling
These were topped with an orange dough, which had no flavour - but cute! Tasty scallops :)





Shrimp & Yellow Fungus Dumpling
A little bit of colour goes a long way for presentation




Chicken Feet with Chef's Sauce



Chicken feet! Despite numerous trips to Asia and previous dim sum meals, I've never tried them. While I have nothing to compare it to, I liked the sauce that they're braised in (which I also used to dip tentacles), as it was sweet and didn't overpower the dish.

It's pretty much skin and fat on bones, which you spit out as you go along. It has a gelatinous texture - which will either make or break your fondness of this dish..if you aren't already averted by the fact that they're feet that is. I prefer it over pig's feet.






BBQ Pork Bun



These BBQ pork buns have temporarily subdued intense Jjinppang Mandu (giant Korean dumplings - I can't find them in Toronto!*) cravings that I've been having lately.

Hot, fresh, and filled with sweet BBQ pork these were tasty and we ordered another round after we polished them off.

*If anyone knows of a place that serves them...I'll forever be in your debt if you tip me off





Baked & Fried
Fried Octopus Tentacles




Yum. These were really well cooked - not at all rubbery and nicely seasoned. I'd order this again! These were much better than the ones that I've had at food festivals because they were freshly made to order. I was pleased that my friend who never tried them enjoyed them too.












Fried Sticky Dumpling with Meat
Pan Fried Meat & Veggie Dumpling
These green dumplings were browned at the bottom, full of bready dumpling goodness.






Rice Noodle Wrapped with Spring Roll
Yum...crunchy & fresh




Steamed Flour Rolls
BBQ Pork Flour Roll




Shrimp & Vegetable Flour Roll


I always order this dish when I go for dim sum! I love flour rolls filled with seafood and topped with some soy sauce. I am very pleased with Crown Princess' roll - it was fresh and generously filled with both shrimp and veggies.










Dessert
Mango Pudding
The fish-shaped pudding on a puddle of condensed milk was a tasty end to our meal. Makes up for the awful sticky mango rice I had the other week. The condensed milk with the Jello-like pudding was so good!









Chrysanthemum & Lychee Cake
This cake was pretty much a very thick Jello. You can stab it with your chopstick and just eat it like a treat-on-a-stick. I was surprised at how prominent the chrysanthemum flavour was, and the lychee bits were plentiful and had a very fruity taste.


Overall, my impressions of Crown Princess Fine Dining are quite positive. Everything came out with great presentation and very fresh. It's easy to order if you don't have a friend who can speak Cantonese - but I am glad my friend was there to talk to the staff as we had to find out which dishes may have eggs or nuts due to an allergy at the table.

The dining area was very impressive - a banquet-sized dining area (you can rent it for weddings), tables outdoors (although it's getting cold...so I don't think I'll be sitting out there anytime soon), a side dining area, and a couple of private wings.

At $3.10 a dish before 11AM, the value felt good for the calibre of the food. You can get away with cheaper prices for dishes on par with Crown Princess if you're willing to travel to Scarborough. I've been to Bright Pearl in downtown Chinatown, which is also a bit cheaper if you're not concerned about presentation and quality. Given it's location, wonderfully decorated dining areas, and delicious dishes I think it's safe to say that Crown Princess will be around for awhile!


Crown Princess Fine Dining
Verdict: Great dim sum - go before 11AM for the Early Bird deal
Meal: Breakfast
Price: $3.10 per dish (cash, before 11AM) + tax & tip
Location: 1033 Bay Street



Outside, Private Wing, Menu


Crown Princess on Urbanspoon

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

looks tasty, yet pricey for dim sum. But maybe you get what you pay for - experienced a cockroach on top of my ha gao at a place on Gerrard street on the weekend.

Erin said...

Hmm...I'd happily pay a little more for non-cockroach dim sum! Crown Princess' quality is great and the location is very convenient for me so it's my current go-to spot for weekend dim sum :) Especially since Bright Pearl appears to be closed.

Anonymous said...

Great pics! Thank you so much for this review! I'm going to check this out on Friday for sure!

Erin said...

Wonderful! Feel free to report back, and I hope you enjoy it! I've heard some buzz about their abalone and seafood in puff pastry - I want to go back to try it!

Jay said...

Hello Erin - a quick, if strange question - do you happen to know if they do take-away? Take-out as they say in Canada...I love dim sum but can't seem to get the Mrs. out of bed at a decent hour!

Love the blog - very nice.

Erin said...

Hi Jay!

I've never heard of dim sum take-away, but perhaps if you look at the menu ahead of time, and call them you can arrange something? The very last picture in this post is the menu - just click on it for the full version. I'm not sure if they would give you the $3.10 deal if you got take-away though...but I could be wrong! Let me know if you end up trying it out, I'm curious too :). Maybe tempt the Mrs. with the smell of coffee and a picture from this blog? haha

Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

Finally tried this out! Erin your comments are spot on. We (party of 3) tried almost everything you took a photo of (excluding the chicken feet). Tasty tasty! We also tried the "Zen" veggie dumpling - very moist and flavourful.

The taro mushroom triangle was light and I don't usually like the starchy taro but this one was good. There was a dab of mushroom sauce inside that made it just right.

The 3 of us had 8 dim sums and a noodle plate - the prawn & scallop rice noodle. Oh was it ever good. ($24?)

Service was above your average dim sum place. They do try to be fancy, but even the dude in suit reached all over the table while distributing water and got in the middle of our conversation. They could be better.

.. so with $1.20 per person for 'tea', the total bill was $75 with taxes before tips. Pricy, but good for a dim sum treat once in a while if you don't have the deep pocket.
Wendy

Erin said...

Thanks for the feedback Wendy! I didn't think to order a noodle plate - I think I will the next time I go. I heard great things about the taro, can't wait to taste it :)

Erin said...

I found out tonight that they do take-away :) However, the Early Bird deal doesn't apply in that case!

Mungbean said...

Wow this looks pretty good! I will definately try this place out! Thks!

Erin said...

Hope you like it =)

Anonymous said...

Hi Erin! I just found your blog and think it's great! And so useful! As a UofT student on a tight budget, I'm always on the lookout for good, cheap eats worth spending my money on.
A good place to get jjinbbang is at "Royal Mandu" on Bloor Street. I don't know what the exact address is, but it's between Bathurst and Christie somewhere, I think closer to Christie, on the South side.
-Sara

Erin said...

Hi Sara!
Royal Mandu is closed =( I used to go there too, so sad!

Thanks! I am glad you find it useful :) After years of UofT'ing, I feel your pain. It's hard living in Toronto on such a tight budget when you're so easily tempted!

Richard said...

Hi Erin,

Love your blog. Just a quick question, is the Early Bird Special if you finish and pay before 11AM or if you order before 11AM?

Thanks.

Erin said...

Hi Richard,
Thanks! Order before 11AM :-)
Try to order at least 10-15 minutes beforehand. You never know - the waiter might get flagged down by someone on his/her way to the cash. If it gets punched in after 11AM, then you'll have to pay full price...better to be safe than sorry!

Anonymous said...

Is it $3.10 for any size dish before 11am?

Anonymous said...

wheres this place in scarbz that u speak of

ceci said...

Thank you for your detailed report! I would love to try when I'm in TO next week. Actually, I'm trying to search for their website for more info about private party with special dinner menu for a group of 12. Do you have any idea about the pricing for dinner menu? PS. is parking available around this area? Thanks again!

Erin said...

Hey Ceci! I have no idea what their prices are like for dinner - you might want to call or check on chowhound for some other reports. Perhaps you can try to negotiate a price since you're coming in with a big group?
There's street parking in the area =)

Anonymous said...

I went here a few months ago thinking they would still have their early bird special.. Should have known better when I didn't see a huge line up waiting for a table at 10 am. Anyway, I thought the food was mediocre. The fois gras siu mai was really good, but everything else was not worth the price that we paid for. I think our bill came up to about $65-70 ish + tips for just me and my boyfriend. Granted we do eat a lot, but I would rather take the time to go up to Markham for better (and cheaper!) dim sum.

ceci said...

Thank you for your detailed report! I would love to try when I'm in TO next week. Actually, I'm trying to search for their website for more info about private party with special dinner menu for a group of 12. Do you have any idea about the pricing for dinner menu? PS. is parking available around this area? Thanks again!

Mungbean said...

Wow this looks pretty good! I will definately try this place out! Thks!

Erin said...

Hi Jay!

I've never heard of dim sum take-away, but perhaps if you look at the menu ahead of time, and call them you can arrange something? The very last picture in this post is the menu - just click on it for the full version. I'm not sure if they would give you the $3.10 deal if you got take-away though...but I could be wrong! Let me know if you end up trying it out, I'm curious too :). Maybe tempt the Mrs. with the smell of coffee and a picture from this blog? haha

Thanks :)

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