Earlier this year, midtown dim sum staple Cha Liu relocated to a new teahouse-inspired room at Yonge north of College, and changed its name just slightly to Cha Lau. While it still serves all-day dim sum to hungry groups, it also offers an ever-changing prix fixe lunch special ($9) that’s friendlier to solo diners. The meal starts with a thick-skinned Vietnamese-style cold roll stuffed with lightly pickled vegetables and a bowl of smoky hot and sour soup full of wood-ear mushrooms, bamboo shoots, firm tofu and, unexpectedly, tomato chunks. Next up, some steamed baby bok choy and a bowl of fried rice with crisp green beans and scattered threads of preserved olive leaves. Finally, to cap the prix fixe, a quartet of different dumplings in a bamboo steam basket (of the lot, the juicy beef and mushroom dumpling in a crystal wrapper is the easy favourite). For dessert: the trio of dainty baked rice flour pastries filled with a sweet pumpkin-stained custard ($3.65). Even sweeter: not needing to corral a group of friends to indulge in a weekday dim sum feast.
The cost: $18.30 including tax and tip and a pot of chrysanthemum tea ($1.15).
The time: 31 minutes.
Cha Lau Dim Sum, 476 Yonge St., 647-344-6578, chalaudimsum.com