Shhh … don’t tell anyone about this place.
I am just kidding. I just wanted to catch your attention and read on.
It had been a while since we had dim sum as a family. The beauty of having a blog is that you can easily figure exactly when the last time it was. Everything is so well documented. For us, the last time was in October last year. We are not much of a dim sum people.
Last weekend, we decided to just go to a restaurant closest to home. Suanne reminded me that there is a place that serves dim sum with an odd name … the Royal Dinner and Dance. This is located on the strip mall on Garden City and Blundell in Richmond.
The moment we walked through the door, we had a good feeling that this is going to be good. All these years, we did not even realize this place would be like this.
The restaurant is located upstairs. You walk up a very wide staircase which has pictures of dancers. I think this place doubles as a dance club too because there is a stage and half of the restaurant is on the dance floor.
The restaurant is bigger than we imagine from the outside. What caught us by surprised is how many customers they have despite its size. The place was filled with customers. This is the kind of place where entire/extended families come for dim sum. A lot of the tables taken were parties of four and above.
The table already were prepared with the order form and a pencil. It took us a while, as usual, to make our selection. The prices are cheap too.
Service is hurried as one can expect from a place this this. They came by twice asking if we are ready with the order. They were cool when we said we needed more time. For people who are not used to this type of places, you would take it personally when they abruptly turn away and go to the next table. We don’t consider this rude but understand that some people not used to this will feel slighted.
We were glad to see the varieties they have on the menu. So, we try to pick one or two items from each section … and in the process over-rule some of Arkensen and Nanzaro’s choices. If we leave the choices to them, they will pick TWO orders each of siu mai, har gow and sticky rice. So unexciting. LOL!
I was surprised when both Arkensen and Nanzaro said that they wanted the Rice Rolls with Chinese Donut ($3.75). We never thought they will want such traditional and to us, bland dish.
The Chinese donut here was not crispy but a tad soft. A sign that it is not made fresh. The flavour comes mainly from the soya sauce. They also gave us hoisin sauce and sesame sauce too which we thought it was kind of weird. I actually asked our waitress if it is meant to go with the rice roll and she said “yes”. *shrug*
It was quite nice too dipping the rice roll on the two sauces.
The Pan fried stuffed eggplant with shrimp is kind of skinny. Other than that it is cooked just nice. It is not overcooked that it is all mushy and loses the whiteness inside and yet also not undercooked that it’s raw and fibrous. The flesh inside was still white. We thought they did this perfectly and like the sauciness of the dish too. The sauce was great with the rice roll. Only $2.50.
Well, Arkensen also ask for this … the Steamed Crystal Prawn Dumpling (also $2.50). The size is respectable and the texture was firmly springy.Very good.
We were looking for that tell tale sign of freezer burn and all to see if they are just simply steamed direct from big batches of pre-made ones. They looked good enough for us.
They also have several congee options. We got the Lai Wan Boat Congee ($3.95) because we do not know what it is. We still do not know why this is called Lai Wan or what the words Lai Wan means.
The congee bowl is quite big for a $4 portion and has in it squid, prawn, pork rind, peanut, and Chinese donut. The congee itself does not carry a lot of flavour but a dash of soy sauce and ground pepper does the trick.
Next up is called the Fried Sticky Rice with Preserved Meat ($3.95). It came in a glass bowl and is supposed take a form of the bowl when they cup it upside down on the plate. Well … it fell apart and the waitress had to scrap the rice into the plate, losing the form.
You see it was not sticky enough for that. And I was thinking that this is FRIED sticky rice and so it is not supposed to be that sticky.
Anyway, the sticky rice has lots of … dried shrimp and preserved meat which gives this dish its flavour. It is nice.
Suanne ordered this for me saying that I like liver. Hmmm … saying that I don’t mind liver is one thing but that I like liver? I don’t know.
The above is Steamed Pork Liver Siu Mai (only $2.50). I was the only one who ate the pork liver which is lightly steamed. Pork liver could easily be overcooked making it hard and tough but this one is just right. The siu mai doesn’t have the wonton skin (or whatever you call that skin).
This one is just OK but really need sauce to taste it up.
The Deep Fried Smelt ($3.75) is no good. Although the smelt is big, the batter is different from those we normally eat. Yucks, not so nice and we did not even finish this.
The best part of our meal is the dessert. Oh man they are awesome.
The Steamed Sweetened Egg Yolk Sponge Rolls is $2.50. It was served steamy hot and it is too hot to pick up with the hands.
The texture is soft … very pillowy soft. This has got to be one of the best dim sum dessert we had. It just melt in the mouth.
We also got another dessert. The Baked Tapioca & Lotus Seed Pudding ($3.95) was equally delicious too. The pudding was soft and smooth and even has lotus paste at the botoom. The amazing part is the “flaky” pastry on top. It is not exactly flaky-flaky but more like powdery-flaky if you know what I mean.
Sweet … very good … very nice.
Like I earlier said, the service is “efficient” and abrupt but they do follow through.
Like when we tried to order the Braised E-Fu Noodle earlier we were told that they are only available at 11AM when the “sifu” comes in. Guess what? They actually came by after 11AM and told us that the “sifu” had arrived and if we still want it. We were impressed.
The prices are cheap here and the quality not bad. The food is just typical dim sum fare and nothing too fancy. We love this place and told ourselves we will come back again — if we do not have to blog!