“Color, Aroma and Taste” are the three essentials ingredients in Chinese cooking. Fantaxia (this is not a misspelling) Restaurant in North York offers all this in their Private Menu nine-course dinner. The Private Menu means that the dishes you order do not appear in the printed menu of the restaurant. Instead, you make your reservation at least a week in advance, and the restaurant recommends a menu put together for your party, depending on seasonal availability. The menu given to me is written in fancy Chinese calligraphy. It is customary for Chinese restaurants to have a handwritten customized menu, even in ink and brush, in some places. Fantaxia Restaurant is certainly following the tradition. They have also given each dish a poetic though cryptic name, which refletcs either the ingredients or the style of cooking. Part of the fun is to appreciate the name of the dish with the food in front of us. ( I have put in the fancy names in parentheses for your enjoyment.) 1. Winter Melon Soup (Aromatic Elixir from Heaven) Winter Melon is available only in the summer. The broth is steamed inside the winter melon with many delicious ingredients.Our soup contains lotus seeds, shredded dried scallop, fresh scallops, shrimps, mushrooms, crab meat (displayed first as garnish and then submerged into the soup before serving) and slices of melon. The presentation is stunning, and the soup smells and tastes as good as it is named. 2. Stir Fry Scallop and Conch (Lotus Fairy) This is a very colourful dish. The fresh scallop and conch slices are stir fried with enouki mushrooms and button mushrooms, and garnished with tomato and vegetables. 3. Prawns and Fried Garlic (Treasure Box) These are deep fried king prawns served with deep fried garlic. The aroma is enticing. The texture and the taste demonstrate the superb control of the chef in this preparation. If you love garlic (like I do), this is the dish for you. 4. Stir Fry Broccoli and Pork (Jade Flower and Meat) The broccoli is the jade flower. The pork is the meat at the neck of the pig and this is known for its firm bite–neither chewy nor crispy–which is determined by the temperature and amount of time it is stir fried. Once again, the chef did it with panache. 5. Crab with Spinach and Asparagus Sauce (Treasure in a Lotus Pond) You can sit there just to admire the presentation. This is a paste or thick soup with finely chopped spinach and asparatus, goji seeds, lotus seeds, crab meat, baby scallops and egg white. The hint of sweetness from the goji seeds is a delight. This is a rare and precious dish. 6. Mixed Vegetables (Bamboo Shadow on a Lattice) This is a delicious dish with an imaginative name.The base of the dish consists of baby bok choy, gai lan and oyster mushrooms, with a clear gravy. The “Bamboo shadow” in the name refers to bamboo shoots, and the lattice is the shreds of black fungi, which is thinner than angel hair and the Chinese call it “hair veggie”. 7. Deep Fried Stuffed Chicken (Pearl Chicken) The chicken has been deboned and stuffed with cooked glutinous rice and diced Chiense sausages before is is deep-fried. To appreciate the name, a cross-section can give you the answer. 8. Fried Rice The rice is fried with scallion and egg white and shredded dried scallop. A simple dish but appropriately seasoned. The rice is light and it is good to clean the palate in preparation for dessert. 9. Milk Custard Light and smooth and tasty. This is the house specialty and the dessert experience sums up an evening of memorable Chinese cuisine.
Fantaxia Restaurant is situated at Unit 5, 3555 Don Mills Road, Toronto, ON.