Toko: Dim me sum more!
All you can eat dim sum.
Ten variations. 195 dirhams per person.
Here’s what that was like.
Clouds of steam float out of the kitchen as sharp sounds of sizzling pans and clamouring woks pierce through the air. Toko’s recent facelift from its original look has left it feeling lighter and brighter. The restaurant’s comeback body is far sexier than before, even though its glass cabinet of classic Asian cooked duck hoisted on a hook may leave some vegetarian diners queasy.
Mark your calendar because every Tuesday night, from 7PM to 10PM, Toko dishes out unlimited batches of dim sum that you can wash down with three complimentary Chang hop-based drinks. Equipped with a trusty pair of chopsticks, I excitedly plunged into Toko’s dim sum night.
The dim sum menu is divided into four sections: Cha Shao Bao (Cantonese soft buns that are typically stuffed with sauce-laced meat), Xiao Long Bao (steamed dumplings normally served in a piping hot bamboo basket), Shao Mai (a variation of a classic dim sum), Har Gao (traditional Cantonese dumplings), and Zheng Jiao (delicately pinched Chinese dim sum).
It took mere minutes for a stack of steaming bamboo baskets to land before me. I paced myself by sauntering over to the dim sum kitchen counter, and chatted with the chefs whipping these beauties together. Perplexed that the menu didn’t have a single vegetarian option, the chefs assured me it isn’t traditional to pack a dim sum pounch with nothing but veggies.
Each one tasted like a hug on a fork – packed with comforting, yet indulgent flavors. None of the dumplings imposed on my taste buds, they left that job to the dipping sauces they were served with. The Cha Shao Bao dim sums featured buns of beef, chicken, and lamb. Softer than a presidential suite pillow, these buns always make me weak in the knees!
The Xiao Long Bao buns came colour coded – a handy guide if you’re sharing with folks with dietary quirks. The dumplings were an assortment of fish, lamb, and black truffle complimenting veal. The Shao Mai was stuffed with classic chicken, and was an instant winner. While the Har Gao shrimp dumpling didn’t do much for my palate, it did just enough to make it the only one that I ordered a second round of. I later learned it’s one of Toko’s favorite dim sums!
Finally, I wrapped things up with Zheng Jiao – these were stuffed with lamb and eggplant, and duck and truffle. Not a raving fan of mushroom, I was worried about accidentally sinking my teeth into the truffle dumplings and going green in the face. But no…quite the opposite. I savoured every single morsel of it (to be fair, there were two morsels to the tiny dumpling).
Going off menu, I couldn’t resist the mochi ice cream served at a tempting price. Two batches arrived flaunting flavors like chocolate espresso, chocolate and coconut, double vanilla, and green tea. My eyes rolled to the back of my head with every single one except the green tea ice cream. You’ve got to be conditioned just right to enjoy matcha’s unique flavor.
So, my All You Can Eat Dim Sum score is pretty pathetic. I was defeated after one round. I could only stomach one dumpling from the second round before throwing in the towel. Priced at AED195, this deal can be anything from a belly-busting feast to a light tapas-style dinner.