Address: 160 York Blvd. Richmond Hill, ON L4B 3J6
Phone: (905) 886 – 9592
Dayali does not sell the typical Guang Dong type of Chinese cuisine. Instead, they focus on the northwestern Chinese food, where more emphasis is put on meat, noodles, spices and crops that require less water to grow. A corporate restaurant originated from Beijing decided to branch out internationally and Toronto was their first city opened outside of China. There are two Dayali restaurants in Toronto, in Richmond Hill and in Markham. Please be aware, this post is strictly on Richmond Hill branch.
The restaurant has the grandeur of a typical Chinese restaurant, with hanging chandeliers and crystal ornaments, producing glistening effects on the walls and pillars. It has a happy tacky appearance. The white walls, beige faux wood porcelain tiles had a luminous effect on the space, while contrasting the shelves and chairs, making the outlook comfortable.
The brightness of the restaurant does not reflect the cleanliness nor service. Feels like there is oil slick on every surface that my shoes stick to the ground whenever I walk, making squeaky sound. The ventilation system is not strong enough, that I was inhaling the oils, air felt quite murky.
For twenty dollars, you can sign up for a VIP card to enjoy the cheaper prices on the menu, which is highlighted in red. If you do not eat there often, then this VIP status is not worth it. We did not get the VIP card, therefore, the prices reflect the original price, without discounts.
Steamed Lotus Root Stuffed with Sweet Sticky Rice ($6.99) 桂花糯米藕 is a warm appetizer that was sticky and sweet. Glutenous rice is a very starchy rice that gives a thick gluey texture. The rice was stuffed and filled the holes of the lotus root, thinly cut to give a moisturized chip thickness. I can only imagine this dish is tedious and time consuming to make. The lotus root was cooked until softened, then cooked briefly with the sauce. The flavour was nothing spectacular, a bit sweet and somewhat conflicting, had a mixture of lotus extract, sugar and cooking wine. The finished product was on the hard side.
Hand Made Noodle ($6.99) 金牌手工粉 is sweet potato glass noodles in broth. This was ordered because northern Chinese cuisine do not specialize in rice, since the environment is too dry and cold to cultivate rice, hence, they grow barley and crops to make noodles out of its extracts. The noodles were al dente and was served in a MSG soy sauce flavoured broth, which was really salty. The broth gave it a golden appearance, making the overall dish look appetizing. The goji berries and chives topping acted like as a finishing touch to a painting, but sadly enough, did not do anything to the noodles.
Sauteed Shelled Shrimp with Pear ($19.99) 梨球果仁虾 was a sweet and sour shrimp. This was an extremely disappointing dish because frying the shrimp took all fresh flavours and bouncy texture from the shrimp, destroying the main ingredient in general. In fact, deep frying the shrimps can disguise any lifelessness of the crustaceans. The shrimps had a soggy texture. The pears bits were also deep fried too, which tasted funny and weird, but the chefs hoped it can lock the sweetness. In reality, the pears had no taste. The sweet and sour sauce took over the whole dish’s flavour, lacking authenticity. I would probably admire it more, IF, the shrimps were marinated in the pear’s puree juices. How the dish was named did not justify what was served.
Stewed Beef Brisket and Potato ($11.99) 土豆牛腩 was really fat. The fat tissues were not properly skimmed off from the beef. There was a shiny layer of fatty oil resting on the surface of the liquid and wrapped the potatoes, quite disgusting. The beef was a low grade beef, as there was no meat flavour to it. The sauce was a combination of minced garlic, cooking wine, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, MSG and water. It was tasty overall, but really salty and thirst clinching. For the individuals who like the salt will thoroughly enjoy the dish. I can only say, I have had better.
Sauteed Home-Style Shredded Potato ($7.99) 家常土豆丝 was disappointing. Though, I did like how the potatoes were thinly cut, which were obviously done by a machine to keep the consistency, but soy sauce being the main condiment made the dish very bland and lifeless and lacked character. This is a dish that has many possibilities and yet, they chose a boring combination. The potatoes did not feel starchy, and was very crunchy.
Spicy Hot Pot ($11.99) 麻辣香锅 had a lot of ingredients – shrimp, fishball, luncheon meat, sausage, lotus root, potato, bean curd, cauliflower, black fungus. Basically, this is a randomly put together stir fry, where the food was sitting on a bed of oil, which was quite disgusting. We wanted a spice or chili challenge amongst one another, and it was highlighted with a lot of chilies on the menu. BUT, it was not spicy at all, that even the intolerable individuals were able to consume the dish. The dish was heavily spiced with garlic and dried chili. No other flavours were tasted, lacked dimension.
Peking Style Roast Duck ($31.88) 北京烤鸭 had to be ordered because this is what the restaurant was known for. The peking duck was the only thing that I thought tasted the best out of all that was ordered. The meat was tender and each slice was evenly cut, with a bit of fat under the crunchy skin. But, it was not worth the price. Peking Duck was the last to arrive. I had to remind the kitchen a few times that it was missing, and when they did serve it, they just brought a small dish of sliced duck to feed ten guests. The proportion of the peking duck did not match the group size. In general, there was no wow effect nor any bells and whistles to the dish.
Duck Bones in soup (+$2.88 to the cost of roasted peking duck) was poorly made. The soup was very salty and had no flavour. The carcass of the duck was visibly there, but did not provide any fresh meat taste to the soup. This was just a lazy water downed soup, where when the liquid runs low, pour in more water and vegetables to bring to a boil. Besides, I felt like we got the bottom leftovers of the pot, because the ingredients appear aged.
In general, I was quite disappointed with the quality and service of the restaurant. I definitely would not recommend the restaurant to anyone. It was just not worth it. There is better Chinese food around. Quite a shame, that this is a chain store from Beijing, but lacked quality control. I truly hope the restaurants in Beijing taste much better.