Normally, when I do a restaurant review, I not only do it as a blog post for these pages, but I also as a post to the Zomato Restaurant Review website as well. In those cases, I generally take pictures of both the outside and the inside of the restaurant, and also do a detailed criticism of the ambience and service as well as the food. On this occasion, I hadn’t planned on reviewing Ottawa’s Yimin Dim Sum House, but had rather dropped in for a quick lunch after discovering that a place I had meant to dine was closed that day. I didn’t take the usual interior and exterior photographs (the picture above is ‘borrowed’ from the restaurant’s online menu page, but I did take pictures of the dishes I had and kept notes. I’ll do a proper review at some point on a future visit to Ottawa, but, for now, I’ll just share with you the meal I ended up having…
Beef Shu Mai – These were not the best beef shu mai I have ever had, but they were still pretty decent. They were fairly well-formed, and just the right size to be eaten in a satisfying single bite. The beef was well textured but, unfortunately did not have a great deal of ‘beefy’ flavor. The filling also included cilantro… I dislike this generally but, while I can handle it in smallish amounts, there was a bit too much here, for my taste.
Steam Bean Curd Roll with Pork – This was probably the best item I had. If you are not familiar with ‘bean curd wrappers’ it consists of the dried skin from curdled soy milk that is reconstituted and used like a flour based wrapper, being steamed, or deep-fried. Here the filling was pork with minced celery and carrot. It was very lightly seasoned, but included a hint of citrus, possible from lemon zest, but maybe lemon pepper. It was unusual, but a very nice addition.
Deep Fried Pork Football – These are the Ham Sui Gok (Xian Shui Jiao in Mandarin), that are pretty standard on dim sum menus. I generally like these, but the ones here were probably the poorest I have had. The sweet, thick ‘envelope’ was as well made as any I have ever had, and very nicely chewy, but the pork ‘filling’ consisted of about three tiny ‘grains’ of ground pork in each jiao. I get that restaurants have to turn a profit, but this was beyond ‘cheap’ in my estimation.
Pan Fried Turnip Cake – Lo Bok Gau is a dimsum offering I usually enjoy but as with the pork ‘footballs’ this offering was not especially good. The cake itself was nicely cooked, although I prefer a slightly firmer texture, but the usual additions were scanty or non-existent. A good version will contain chopped shiitake mushroom, dried shrimp, Chinese sausage and Chinese ham, as well as sometimes scallion or even shredded dried scallop. This version had just tiny mount of shrimp and ham, but noting else.. It certainly didn’t feel like good value for the money in my books.
Well, I had two dishes that were moderately good and two that were not so hot …. That might add up to a less than glowing review but. Luckily, Yimin gets a reprieve. I’ll just mark the current visit as being on a bad day for the restaurant and give them a second chance later this year …