Johor Kaki Travels for Food

johorkaki@gmail celebrates retirement in Singapore travels to Johor Malaysia & worldwide for food

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Artisan Plus 老碗 Hand Pulled Noodles @ Dundas West Toronto

For Saturday’s dinner, friends and I spoilt for choice near Toronto's Chinatown, decided on Artisan Plus 老碗 - it fits our 2 simple criteria: zero wait time for a table, and there was air-conditioning. On a sizzling Toronto summer day that felt like 40℃, you do not want to be baked outside a restaurant waiting for a table 🌞

The tiny restaurant is long and narrow, but we were lucky to have the one and only table big enough to fit all 6 of us. To make best use of the tiny space with high ceilings, the restaurant cleverly seated some of their guests on high chairs, with each chair having a compartment for our bags (in the wintertime, this would be handy for winter coats).

The menu is extensive but they are mostly known for their hand-pulled noodles, northwestern Chinese Sha'anxi style. From my observations, this means that dishes were mostly flavoured with vinegar and chili oil.

Artisan Plus 老碗 Hand Pulled Noodles @ Dundas West Toronto

We ordered 3 appetizers to share. 

Liang Pi, 凉皮 (literally cold skin) is a cold bowl of chewy noodles with cubes of gluten, blanched bean sprouts and shredded cucumber topped with chili sesame oil.

The textures in this dish were spongy from the gluten cubes, chewy from the noodles, and crispy crunch from the bean sprouts and cucumber. Flavour, however, was not as exciting as the chili sesame oil lacked heat. If you like mild flavours, this would be your dish.

Artisan Plus 老碗 Hand Pulled Noodles @ Dundas West Toronto

Our next cold appetizer was shredded potatoes. This is a classic side dish, and it was made just right. The potatoes were tender-crisp and bendable. The vinegar chili sauce that was drizzled on top gave the dish a tangy spicy lift. Very tasty.

Artisan Plus 老碗 Hand Pulled Noodles @ Dundas West Toronto

The third cold appetizer was bon bon chicken. Shredded chicken and bean sprouts with chili oil. I liked that they used shredded chicken thigh instead of the more common option of chicken breast. Thigh meat gave this dish more chickeny goodness which I liked. 

We had the choice between peanut, sesame or chili vinegar sauce. We chose the chili vinegar sauce, although it was still made with peanut butter, just more vinegary. My friends liked this dish more than I did. Something was lacking in their chili vinegar sauce for me. Perhaps more spice would have made it more interesting.

It’s time for the main dishes. 

Basically, Artisan Plus offer (many) different styles of hand-pulled noodles. Personally, I prefer wide noodles when it comes to hand-pulled, as it always reminds me of mee hoon kueh. The kind of homemade “noodles” that my mum would make with me when I was a little girl. These mummy-daughter playdates involved several hours of kitchen time. Work for mum, play for me. 

I would be enlisted to help season the dough, form small balls of dough, then flatten each ball into sheets before tossing them into boiling water. Side story aside, I love eating wide noodles mostly for nostalgic sake but also for its chewiness.

Artisan Plus 老碗 Hand Pulled Noodles @ Dundas West Toronto

So, I ordered their broadest noodle - vegan Kudai mian 裤带面, which translates into “belt noodles”, indicating that the noodles are as wide and flat as a belt. 

Perfect for me. A bed of wide hand-pulled wheat noodles, with a generous amount of roasted veggies – eggplants, zucchini, potato, carrots, wood-ear mushrooms, cauliflower, bead curd cubes and a dollop of chili oil. It comes dry (no soup) and you would have to mix all the ingredients together before eating. The veggies were nicely roasted, not much else to say about them.

Artisan Plus 老碗 Hand Pulled Noodles @ Dundas West Toronto

The wonder of this dish was the noodles. It didn’t disappoint. Nice chewiness yet softer in some parts with a “rustic” wavy shape. This tells me that it was handmade, as a machine would make uniform noodles. I finished half of the dish and my tummy was filled to the brim. Asked for a take-out box and our waitress promptly came with plastic containers and brown paper bags.

Artisan Plus 老碗 Hand Pulled Noodles @ Dundas West Toronto

My friends ordered their beef noodle soup and cold biang biang noodles. I got a taste of them all but didn’t think too much into those dishes. They tasted good at first bite.

Music playing in the foreground (yes, not background) was very loud and I could feel my heart pumping as if I were at the gym. But, I must praise the attentive and hardworking waitresses. It was a busy Saturday night that we visited the restaurant, yet we were served with much care and friendliness. Water jugs were always filled, requests for more sharing bowls and spoons were taken care of, and we were asked at least 3 times if everything was okay. This makes the whole dining experience a win.

What is Johor Kaki doing in Toronto? 👈 click

Restaurant nameArtisan Plus 老碗
Address122 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5G 1C3, Canada
GPS43°39'20.4"N 79°23'03.8"W 🌐 43.655659, -79.384376
Nearest TTC (subway): St. Patrick
Tel+1 416-599-3189
Hours: 11:00am - 10:30pm

Non Halal

Date visited: 20 Jul 2019

Johor Kaki Toronto Correspondent

By Johor Kaki's Toronto correspondent

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I share hoping that everyone will have a good time but your experience may differ from mine. I love to know how you enjoyed yourself or if you didn't. All comments with genuine identities are published.