Dreary Dim Sum

KUBO DX (234 Bay, at King, in the Design Exchange, 416-368-5826) Perfunctory all-inclusive $10.


KUBO DX (234 Bay, at King, in the Design Exchange, 416-368-5826) Perfunctory all-inclusive $10 dim sum lunches featuring reheated steam-table dumplings sided with cold noodle salads. Good concept, uneven follow-through. Complete meals for $10 per person, including all taxes, tip and jasmine tea. Open Monday to Friday 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. Unlicensed. Access: barrier-free. Rating: NN

Rating: NN

though it’s a great spot for a classy cocktail or two, I’ve never been a fan of Kubo’s unconventional pan-Asian grub. But their second outlet in the Design Exchange has just started an all-inclusive $10 dim sum lunch, so I’m willing to give them another go.

Expecting to eat surrounded by Kubo DX’s minimalist modernism, I find instead the dim sum set up in the noisy mezzanine next to the swanky lounge. A few tables carry baskets of attractive pistachio-green chopsticks and bottles of Srirachi, the fiery ketchup of Thailand, and a steam table reheats stainless steel containers of stodgy store-bought-tasting stuff.

Today, the staff of four are clearly overwhelmed by us, three customers standing in line.

Pretty to look at on Chinese plates sitting in open bamboo steamer baskets, orders go missing or get mixed up. What does appear disappoints — steamed buns stuffed with a tablespoon of barbecued pork or diced daikon with frozen peas (a lotta dough for a lotta dough), a trio of rubbery shrimp har gow dumplings, a flavour-free salad of cellophane noodles joined by shredded napa cabbage ‘n’ carrot, and some ineptly assembled Shanghai noodles coated in oyster sauce and sesame seeds.

But the price-included jasmine tea makes a nice change from pop and, though on the somewhat small side, soya bean wraps stuffed with minced shrimp, pork and wood ears have a wonderful meaty quality. Is it worth 10 bucks, though? Not when there’s a Chinese bakery in the First Can selling similar things for much less.

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