Dim Dim Sum in Windermere might sound like Awkwafina's next Comedy Central vehicle, but in fact, it's a vehicle for the Isleworth set to feel like they're getting a heavy dose of culture. You won't find the same clientele you'd see at dim sum stalwarts like Peter's Kitchen, KaiKai, Lam's Garden, Ming's Bistro or Chuan Lu Garden, or would've seen at the recently closed Chan's Chinese Cuisine, but you may get a glimpse of its former chef, Tony Yeung. Yeung manned the Chan's kitchen for nearly a quarter century until its closure a year ago. Now's he's on easy street, offering a relatively terse and focused 40-item menu of dim sum's greatest hits.
But, c'mon, no chicken feet? What's dim sum without that luscious suck of bone and collagen? I say to you, Windermere, stand up! Demand that Item 41 on the menu be chicken feet! Shout it from your clay-tiled rooftops! Yell it from your convertible Bentley Continental GTs! Then drop your Amex black card after enjoying some Cantonese small plates (not served from a cart, sadly) in Dim Dim Sum's hardly dim, in fact quite bright confines.
"This used to be a Spoleto Italian Kitchen," notes my dining comrade. He's right. We couldn't help but notice that much of the interior design, right down (or up) to the frying pan art feature dangling from the ceiling, remained. Also noticeable, at least for us, were the prices. Now, they likely won't raise any eyebrows among those who live in the neighborhood, but seasoned dim-summiers may balk at dropping $6.50 for a trio of shrimp-pork siu mai dumplings or xiao long bao. More so given the cheesy funk of the former and the utter blandness of the latter. While there are no such fails in the bowl of cucumber and minced garlic, this bracing side comes in at $5.50. If you do get it, pop a chunk or two after downing some heftier fare, like the beef chow fun ($9.95) with a wonderful essence of wok, or some glistening hacked chunks of roast duck ($9.95).
A perennial must-check on my dim-sum dine card are steamed rice rolls. Their delicate and slippery tubular casing can test a chef's mettle (and test a chopstick user's dexterity). But the rolls here not only lacked that attractive translucence, the folding technique seemed hastily done as well. The deep pool of sweet soy sauce in which they sat only hastened their disintegrative qualities. Compared to the ones I enjoyed just three weeks ago at the kookily named Providential 9 in Markham, Ontario, they paled.
- Photo by Rob Bartlett
Fried sesame balls ($5.50), on the other hand, were every bit the soft, chewy, greasy orbs they're supposed to be. They're a bit sweet, too, so if you don't like mixing sweet and savory dim sum items, just move on to pan-fried turnip cakes ($5.50) or steamed pork dumplings and save the balls for later.
That said, there are other sugary spheres to salivate over, namely the gorgeous black gold custard lava buns ($5.50) with their oozing cores, and the Mexican custard bun ($5.50), a Hong Kong staple. If you're wondering what's "Mexican" about it, the sweet bun was modeled after the Mexican concha by a couple who returned to Hong Kong after being expelled from Mexico. Hmm, that sounds like another vehicle for Awkwafina. Either way, order the$e bitche$. We gobbled them down, and you likely will too.
Yeah, they're on the pricier side, but hey, even in this neighborhood, you don't need to be crazy rich to enjoy the Asian fare.