Yesterday evening, a group of 'gourmand' friends and relatives descended on Regal 16 for a long overdue re-visit. At its prime, this 'often overlooked' uptown institution offered some of GTA's most sophisticated and delicious Cantonese cuisine. Incorporating the help and input of management and the chef, we pre-arranged in advance a set menu with major emphasis towards healthy ingredients and healthy cooking techniques.
For our group of 12, the restaurant provided us with a small cozy private room and assigned a waitress dedicated specifically to our needs. Naturally, the service was super friendly and attentive.
Our set menu consisted of the following courses:
- Fish Maw and fresh Dungeness crab meat Bisque.
- Foil wrapped baked Diver Scallops on sea salt bed flambeed with Chinese Rose Essence Wine.
- Stirred fry Filet Mignon Cubes with House-Special sauce and Macadamia Nuts.
- Stirred fry Medley of Wild Mushrooms encased in a steamed 'crystalline' Winter Melon Cocoon.
- Dungeness Crabs, two ways
- Scrambled Egg-White with Crab Meat
- Stirred fry with Spiced Peppered Salt
- Stirred fry King Mushrooms with Oyster Sauce and Pea-Shoots.
- House Special Premium Top Soya Poached Free-Range Chicken
- Steamed live ' French Turbot ' with Ginger, Scallions, Cilantro and Top Soya Sauce.
- Special Yang Chow Fried Rice wrapped and baked in whole Lotus Leaf.
- Fried Shrimp Dumplings with ' Shan-Tong' Broth
- 'Four Treasures' Dessert Soup comprising of Dried Lon Goon, Red Dates, Lotus Seed and Lily Bulbs
- Chinese Petit Fours
Not knowing what to expect, we were amazed that all the dishes were skillfully prepared and executed. Timing and seasoning of the key ingredients were spot-on! A reflection of the kitchen's calibre?!
A few stand-out dishes included:
- the 'show-stopping' Scallops. Whether this 'Baked Alaska Flambe' clone method was a gimmick or not, this dish sure drew a lot of our attention. The aroma of the evaporating Rose Wine to go with the tasty Scallops was quite appealing. ( reminded me of the 3* Alinea's Lavender scented Lamb dish resting on a deflating Pillow filled with Lavender gas!).
- The Filet Mignon cubes.Nicely sauteed with a tasty caramalized seared exterior and tender centre,. the Macadamia nuts and the sauteed onions added a nice textural play to the dish.
- Best dish of the evening undoubtedly belongs to the Crab 2 ways. By incorporating a bit of Western 'butter and cream' approach to the Chinese style scrambed egg white and crab meat, the resulting taste profile was very complex yet refined! Soooo Good! The fried component of the dish was also well executed. Nicely seasoned, this dish reminded me of Hong Kong's Michelin 1* Fung Lum's version, using wild sea prawns insteadf!
- The French Turbot was perfectly steamed. The flesh sweet and not overly firm. The soya sauce accompaniment was kicked up a notch by the chef, rendering the end product less salty but sweeter and full of delightful umami. This dish has no problem rubbing shoulders with Maple Yip or O'Mei!!
- Lastly, the Fried Shrimp Dumplings eaten by dunking the morsel into the delicious Chinese ham infused 'Shan Tong' broth was another winner. Delicate crispy shell with fresh crunchy prawn filling IMHO, this is the best rendition of this dish in town!
The only blemish of the evening unfortunately belonged to the Free Range Chicken. Though perfectly cooked, the sauce was IMO way too sweet and one dimensional. Both Emperor and Yang's versions were way, way better!
Overall, this was one of the BEST Chinese meal I have eaten in the GTA this year. I cannot testify as to how the food will be like if one just drop-in and order a la carte?! However, based on yesterday's experience, the end result should be a good one?!!!