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A couple Saturdays ago, I had a major dim sum craving. After considering a few options, we ended up at Spring Villa given its close proximity to the 404.

Spring Villa

Mike and I arrived just before noon and like most popular dim sum restaurants, it was an absolute madhouse. Tons of people crowding the front entrance and the hostess was nowhere to be found. When she emerged, everyone crowded around to get their name on the waitlist – and like most Chinese restaurants, they quote everyone a 10 minute wait. We waited around 30 minutes before getting a table.

The interior

After being seated we took a look at the menu – no push carts here (I don’t think many restaurants do this anymore). The dim sum menu is pretty basic. I didn’t notice anything particularly unique. The tea charge is $1.50 per person and the standard dim sum dishes range in price from $3 (small) to $9 (XXL). Come before 11am to get their early bird special – discounted dim sum dishes.

The menu

We started off with the Spring Villa Shrimp Dumpling ($5) aka har gow. It consisted of plump pieces of shrimp encased in a thick skin. Nothing mind blowing but they certainly hit the spot.

Spring Villa Shrimp Dumpling

Up next was another dim sum classic, the Steamed Shrimp & Pork Siu Mai ($5). They were pretty solid and were topped with a plump piece of shrimp. And like the har gow, they weren’t spectacular but they hit the  spot.

Steamed Shrimp & Pork Siu Mai

The next dish that arrived was the Steamed Rice Noodles – with beef and watercress ($5). I loved the beef filling (which is essentially the same meat as the beef meatballs you get at dim sum). I particularly enjoyed the addition of the watercress. My only complaint was the rice noodles themselves. They weren’t very delicate and were a little too thick and congealed for my liking.

Steamed Rice Noodles with Beef

Another rice noodle dish we ordered was the Steamed Rice Noodles – with deep fried dough ($5). Unfortunately this wasn’t one of the better ones I’ve eaten. The fried dough tasted quite stale and had lost all of its crispiness as if it had been sitting around for a while.

Steamed Rice Noodles with Fried Dough

One of the highlights of the meal was the Fried Crispy Savoury Dumplings with Pork Meat ($4). The fried exterior was nice and crispy and the filling was tasty. The pork meat filling was definitely lacking but I’ve never encountered one with a generous amount. I find that restaurants are usually pretty skimpy on the meat.

Fried Crispy Savoury Dumplings

I’m a big fan of turnip cakes so we had to order the Pan Fried Turnip Strips ($4). They were fried well  and were quite satisfying. Greasy goodness!

Pan Fried Turnip Strips

Mike always needs to order something with BBQ pork in it at dim sum. We usually prefer the BBQ pork puff pastries but since they don’t offer them here we settled for the Steamed BBQ Pork Buns ($3). The filling was solid (but lacking) and overall, it was a decent BBQ pork bun but nothing memorable.

Steamed BBQ Pork Buns

One of the larger dishes we ordered was the Stir Fried Sticky Rice ($9). Despite how it may look in the picture, it wasn’t a very large portion. And I’m a little disappointed to say that the taste didn’t make up for it. While it wasn’t a terrible dish, it just wasn’t one of the better fried sticky rice dishes I’ve had. I prefer the version at Dragon Boat Fusion Cuisine, which is really great for dim sum by the way.

Stir Fried Sticky Rice

We finished our meal with the Steamed Sweet Layer Custard Sponge Cake ($4). I’m not sure what I was expecting but the menu description sums it up pretty well. It consisted of simple sponge cake with sweet custard layered in between. Simple but tasty!

Steamed Sweet Layer Custard Sponge Cake

Overall, I didn’t find the food particularly memorable but it was solid and satisfied my dim sum craving.

At a glance:
• Located near Woodbine and Steeles
• Very basic dim sum menu; order before 11am for discounted dim sum
• Be prepared for long waits on weekends
• Solid food but nothing memorable

Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 3 stars
• Service: 1 star
• Atmosphere: 2 stars

Spring Villa Chinese Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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