In the pantheon of Toronto dim sum restaurants, Bay Street’s Crown Princess is decidedly among the more refined options. The cushy room hums with activity as groups dig into small plates chosen from a checklist of fanciful twists on conventional dishes. Steamed ground sirloin beef ($5.30), a dim sum staple, is swaddled in a silky rice flour–based wrapper, while the vegetarian ($4.30 for three pieces) and scallop-and-shrimp dumplings ($6.30 for 3 pieces) are encased in a tender, chewy wrapper (the latter christened with jewel-like fish roe). Springy beef tripe is crowned with spicy and aromatic XO sauce ($4.30), as is a trio of flakey puff pastries tied around buttery filets of barbecued eel lacquered with rich unagi sauce ($5.30 for three pieces). The creamy, belly-warming congee comes in a pot filled to the brim with crumbled preserved egg, clams and slightly bitter mustard greens ($8). For a light finish before heading back to the office, we opt for an order of firm and refreshing chrysanthemum and lychee jelly cakes ($3.10 for three pieces).
The cost: $52.75 for two, including tax, tip and charges for tea service ($1.50 per person).
The time: 53 minutes.
Crown Princess Fine Dining, 1033 Bay St., 416-923-8784, crown-princess.ca