A note: Top Cafe has new owners, a different menu and a new address on Cross Street. We’ll review it in due course.
[Photographs: David Straight]
A couple of years ago, we reviewed what was then known as the Ti Xiang Dumpling House, in a tiny storefront on a blustery stretch of Upper Queen Street. Then, it closed for a year – much to our dismay. Now, it’s re-opened, only it calls itself Top Cafe.
Nothing has changed, apart from the name. It’s deadly plain: fluorescent lights, plastic chairs. The service is brusque, occasionally terse. You might have to ask a few times for tea, and if you go for lunch you’ll wait a while because the woman who takes the orders goes out the back to cook, one order at a time.
But you’re here for dumplings, handmade fresh each day and for sale at ridiculous prices – 20 dumplings cost $9.80. They’re big and slightly lumpy, and they’re best boiled; we like the pork and fennel, loaded with fennel fronds and pork. And we’re fond of the soup buns too ($10.80 for 12) bready and filled with a bit of stock. It’s nothing flash, but it’s bloody good. SFG
HOURS 11am to 11pm, seven days.
ADDRESS 7/30 Upper Queen Street, Newton, ph 309 3863.
IMPORTANT DETAILS Sides come slathered with salt and are best avoided. You won’t have room, anyway.