I’ve been meaning to try Regal for some time after reading Ivy and Joe’s dinner experience. Since Ruby Chinese Restaurant closed down, Ellen’s Food Group took over and opened one of their many ‘Regal’ named restaurants in its place, the others being Regal Palace and soon enough, Regal Express. Ellen Pun is the woman behind EFG and her journey in hospitality first started in a meals-on-wheels business catering to nursing homes. Today, you can find EFG products in supermarkets, stores, malls, or visit one of their restaurants across the city.
I headed to Regal for lunch which meant dim sum. I’m going to get right into telling you what I ordered because I feel that there’s too much to cover. So here we go! The prices weren’t all the same and it will depend on size. They are (S) $2.60, (M) $3.60, (L) $4.60, (XL) $5.60, (SP – Special?) $6.80, and (J – Jumbo?) $8.00.
For four people, I ordered:
2. Steamed Shrimp Dumplings (L)
3. Deep Fried Custard (L)
4. Deep Fried Shrimp w/ Salad Sauce (L)
18. Steamed Clear Noodles & Beef Tripe w/ Garlic (M)
22. Steamed Ginger Chicken w/ Lotus Leaf (M)
28. Steamed Fish Dumplings in Soup (L)
29. Pan Fried Scallops with Mango Sauce (L)
31. Pan Fried Short Ribs w/ Lemon & Honey Sauce (L)
32. Durian Puff Pastry (L)
56. Steamed Beef Brisket & Tendon Rice Rolls (XL)
Going in order of when they came, the Durian Puff Pastry was first to arrive. It’s as if they knew I was coming. For new readers, I’ve vividly expressed my love for durian, say more than once, in the past. This particular pastry had an ultra crispy, warm shell and a soft filling. I first thought that it would be sweet but it was actually a savory dish. I enjoyed the shell the most because other than being crunchy, it fell apart in my mouth like butter cookies. Together with the durian filling, heavenly.
They used various ingredients to steam the ginger chicken that you could taste an assortment of complementing flavors. On first bite, you would notice an obvious ginger taste and then you would realize how smooth and juicy the chicken meat is. Very well done.
The Steamed Beef Brisket & Tendon Rice Rolls was a large pot. It was more or less beef brisket noodles but instead, they replaced the noodles with rice rolls. The beef brisket broke down easily and the rice rolls were very smooth that you could almost slurp like noodles. However, I find that they didn’t give enough tendons. I easily forgot there was even supposed to be tendons in the dish.
The Steamed Fish Dumplings (魚皮餃) were al dente. That bite and the soup were in unison. Simple flavors nice to eat in the cold weather, oh how I dreaded snowfall aka shoveling but it finally arrived in Toronto. And I sense much more to come.
The lemon and honey short ribs came next. They were thinly sliced and that’s part of what makes pan frying these short ribs work as they take on a crunchy texture. The sauce was sweet, savory and tangy all in one so you really can’t go wrong with that combination. The only thing of concern would be the quality of the ribs but seeing these, there was more meat than fat as well as a pleasant (not mushy, not tenderized with powder) bite. Delish!
The beef tripe is your average dim sum item as opposed to the other dishes we’ve seen but this was good nonetheless. What’s good is the texture in particular as there was a nice chew. It’s definitely one of the ‘crunchiest’ I’ve had.
Then there’s the fried shrimp which compares to fried shrimp dumplings and mayo dip you’d find at most dim sum restaurants. This one’s different in that the mayonnaise is placed inside with the shrimp and it’s shaped like a spring roll. The shell was incredibly crispy that I had trouble hearing what the other person was saying when I was chewing. The shrimp was fresh. In fact, here’s a quick observation: nowadays it’s hard to find an Asian restaurant that serves pasty seafood. I can tell you that that was not the case ten years ago and it was a disappointing aspect to look out for when dining out. But things seem to have changed in Toronto for the better. The city is filled with demanding eaters like me and restaurant prospects at every corner. Fresh seafood is king. My only problems with this dish: it was on the oily side and there was too much mayo for my liking. It practically filled up the whole ‘spring roll’ and I had to squeeze some out.
The mango scallops came next and at this point I was getting full. The presentation was atypical for dim sum in that they served the scallops on spoons like hors-d’oeuvres. I can’t complain because eating this was easy, clean, and you get all of the sauce. The scallops had a wonderful texture but more impressing is the mango sauce that went with it. It was very refreshing and even though I was almost full, this dish opened my appetite. Ready for more! They pan fried the scallops so there was a tasty, warm char to contrast the cool mango sauce. I highly recommend this!
Moving right along, the last two dishes came together and provided an uplifting surprise. That’s mostly because of the awesome presentation. First of all, the steamed shrimp dumplings which, in Chinese, sounds more like ‘little flower birds’ were the same shrimp balls on a crab claw that you would eat at dinner banquets. They call them birds because they actually look like birds. I have no idea why they translated the name to steamed shrimp dumplings because this dish wasn’t steamed. Probably a mistake. Shrug. The head is made out of quail eggs and the body is made out of shrimp. The shrimp had a lovely texture and the shell was crispy. In fact, everything that was fried was wonderfully crisp in this meal, I’ll give you that.
The other dish was a fried custard with its Chinese name being ‘honey flow little bee’. You guessed it, they shaped the ingredients into little bees which was super cute and reminded me of my little niece and her pink bumblebee Halloween costume. It even had wings made out of almond slices. Taste-wise it was as good as it looks. The custard was almost the same as that of custard buns (流沙包) except better with the added honey. The warm filling oozed out like Niagara Falls. I liked the crust too because it was yet again crunchy as potato chips. I strongly urge you to try this.
Now for some closing remarks. My impression of this experience was that the food came out fresh and I didn’t have to wait long. For four adults, ten dishes were extremely filling even though normally that amount is just right. The servers won’t bother you much unless it’s for clearing tables but they’re around when you need them. They were also reasonably courteous. I came on a weekday and tables were almost filled, so weekend experiences might be crowded. As for the atmosphere, it won’t be like Ruby Restaurant where people push carts around yet the trade off is a quieter, cleaner, spacious setting for conversation. It’s not your average dim sum place and I recommend bringing friends or relatives who visit from out of town or for special occasions. Or perhaps treat your parents or grandparents to a good meal because as long as you have a senior over 65 at your table, you get 20% off and no tea charge. Bon appétit!
Regal Chinese Cuisine & Banquet Hall
1571 Sandhurst Circle (Woodside Square)
Scarborough, ON M1V 1V2