Recently, some friends and I decided to try out another dumpling restaurant on Spadina Ave in Toronto. I say “another” because my friends and I already have our favourite dumpling restaurant picked out and I have reviewed it previously in this blog.
I have to admit that writing this review has been incredibly difficult. Since I have another dumpling house that I frequent, it’s hard to offer my opinion here without comparing the two restaurants. Regardless, I have done my best to be fair.
Service was quite prompt. We walked in and a waitress almost immediately offered us a table. The decor was lovely, warm red and brown tones. I attempted to get a picture but the placed was packed and no matter when I pointed my lens, my photos were more of confused looking patrons than actual decoration.
We were given a sheet, listing all their food options and we wrote down our order.
While we waited for our food, our server brought us tea. I have been to many restaurants that offer a hot pot of tea to start. I have tasted many teas that were either burnt or watered down. Mother’s Dumplings offered a lovely, aromatic Jasmine tea. Steeped just right, it was a nice start to our meal.
They offered steamed, boiled and pan-fried dumplings so we decided to order a plate of each to compare.
One complaint about the pan-fried dumplings is that they only offer two kinds. I would have liked a little more variety.
The pan-fried dumplings we ordered had a light crispy texture on one side of the dumpling, not as crispy as I like, but the texture was still lovely. They also just looked really pretty on the plate! 🙂
The first pan-fried dumpling we tried was Pork and Bok Choy. As I mentioned, the dumpling wrapping was slightly crispy and the stuffing was delicious as well. The pork was cooked just right and the bok choy added a light crispy tang to the whole the thing. I found there to be much more bok choy than I expected. I’m used to dumplings that are heavy on the meat side of things, but the bok choy didn’t overpower the taste. It was a nice complement of flavours.
Next, we tried a batch of steamed dumplings.
We chose pork and chives and vegetarian for our steamed orders. The wrapping was delicate and well-cooked on both orders.
The pork and chives dumplings were quite yummy at first. The pork was tender and well-cooked but the chives flavour was almost too overpowering, which I found increased with each dumpling I ate. So unless you *really* like chives, possibly not the best choice for some.
The steamed vegetarian dumplings were quite good. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of them…I think at that point, we were all just too hungry to stop and memorex the moment. 😉
They were filled with tofu, bok choy and mushroom, heavy on the fungi. I like mushrooms so I was quite pleased with the mix of flavours.
Our choice for boiled dumplings was the pork and dill. I found the wrappers to be cooked quite well. Their texture was pleasing, which is important to say because I have experienced slimy boiled dumplings and they weren’t that fun! No slimyness here…just perfectly boiled goodness!
I will now be a little repetitious and say that, yet again, the non-pork ingredient was quite overpowering. I love dill. I can sit and eat a whole jar of dill pickles, well…until my stomach says WTF and makes me stop. So, I assumed I would like these dumplings just as well. I enjoyed the first one but the dill flavour was so extremely heavy that I found the second dumpling too strong to continue. To certain palates, the strength of these dumplings may be perfect but unfortunately I couldn’t finish my share.
Along with the dumplings, we also ordered a chives pancake and vegetable side dish.
The chives pancake was deep-fried but not greasy. It had a delicate crispness to it that I enjoyed and, unlike the pork and chives dumplings, the chives flavour was quite light.
I really enjoyed the side of vegetables we ordered! Steamed to perfection. The bok choy was still just slightly crispy and the mushroom were just on this side of well done. The whole serving contained a lovely hint of garlic…not too much, not too little. It was a great complement to our dozens of dumplings.
The prices overall were quite reasonable. Dumpling orders ranged from 10-12 pieces per plate and were $6 – $8 depending on the dumpling.
Oh, I should also mention that the bathrooms were clean and quite lovely. (Clean bathrooms are a must!) I actually found myself staring at a painting in the ladies, considering the style as a tattoo. Ended up taking a picture of it. 🙂
So overall, I think Mother’s Dumplings is a nice option for those of us wandering by with a dumpling craving. I would love to see more pan-fried options, and perhaps a bit more balance between the ingredients, but I would be willing to try it out again.