Restaurant Review: MIMI Chinese – A Flavourful Salute to China’s Gastronomic Heritage

RestaurantMIMI Chinese
Address265 Davenport Road
Instagram @mimichinese
Dinner for two with drinks$225

In the heart of Yorkville, MIMI Chinese is a destination of culinary craftsmanship and aesthetic opulence. From the moment one steps into its embrace, greeted by a maître d’ clothed in the elegance of a black bowtie, to the reflective pause in a gold foil bathroom mirror that seems to whisper, “Yes, you’re part of something exquisite tonight,” MIMI commands not just attention but admiration.

The dining room, an orchestra of contrasts with its deep black tones and bursts of passionate red, creates an ambiance that is both intimate and invigorating. Here, colour is not just decoration but a narrative element, setting the stage for a culinary performance that is as visually arresting as it is gastronomically daring. The red, pulsating through the space, acts not just as a hue but as a herald of the fiery Sichuan peppers waiting to dance on the diner’s palate. 

A seat at the bar is an interactive spectacle where the bartenders craft concoctions tailored to the individual’s palate. This is not just service—it’s a collaborative exploration of tastes and preferences where the guest’s desires are the muse to the bartender’s creativity. Spoiler alert: the results are invariably incredible. Each cocktail is not merely mixed but conjured with a flair that borders on the magical, allowing the bartenders to exercise their creative prowess to the fullest. The shareable Tea Ceremony cocktail, with its blend of vodka, green tea, wildflower honey, and citrus, is a communal experience, a ritual that binds the table in shared anticipation. And the Bet it All on Red, a sophisticated blend of tequila, ginseng bitters and red bean paste to add depth and complexity. There are also wines and sakes on offer.

Executive chef and co-owner David Schwartz, a maestro of his craft, along with his team, poured a couple years into MIMI’s creation. Every dish that emerges from the kitchen, observable through a cleverly placed one-way mirror, is a testament to their dedication, a celebration of China’s rich and varied culinary traditions reimagined with youthful vigour and creativity. The menu feels not just like a long list of dishes but a narrative of China’s southern culinary heritage, waiting to be explored.

The chef’s menu, priced at $120 per person, offers a journey through the culinary landscapes of China. Favourites like the crispy shrimp toast and caramelized house char siu are testament to the team’s ability to transform traditional dishes into modern classics. There are also several dishes a la carte, which enables patrons to explore other offerings.

The Shrimp Toast is a revelation in itself, encapsulating the essence of Guangdong cuisine with a modern twist. The combination of crispy fried bread, tangy red vinegar, and the kick of hot mustard mayo creates a symphony of flavours that is both unexpected and delightful, making it a standout worth returning for alone.

The Smacked Cucumber Salad, meanwhile, encapsulates the joy of unexpected pleasure with its refreshing crunch and zest. It’s akin to the delight of discovering it’s still the weekend when you thought it was Monday—a simple, pure joy that elevates the mundane to the extraordinary.

Continuing the journey through China’s culinary regions, the Hunan Chili Sea Bass showcases the kitchen’s prowess with its bold and balanced flavours. The house-fermented chili and Fujian wine lend a depth of flavour that is both complex and harmonious, while the flowering chive adds a fresh, aromatic touch, embodying the fiery spirit of Hunan cuisine. The Hidden Crispy Chicken takes culinary theatrics to a new level with its army of facing heaven chilies, a fiery guard to the succulent chicken waiting beneath.

The Four Foot Belt Noodle (yes, it’s that long…) offers a playful nod to Sichuan’s culinary traditions with its innovative combination of grass-fed beef, black sesame, and pink shrimp. While the concept is intriguing, the dish could benefit from a more pronounced balance of the bold and numbing Sichuan flavours.

The Charred Cabbage is a simple side dish—the smokiness of the charred cabbage, combined with the earthiness of cumin and the numbing sensation of Sichuan peppercorn complements the other dishes without overshadowing them.

Yet, in the midst of this culinary symphony, there are moments where the performance feels overly orchestrated, where the pursuit of drama might overshadow the simplicity at the heart of some dishes. The restaurant’s dedication to aesthetic and excellence is commendable, but one wonders if at times the balance between form and function, between presentation and taste, could be calibrated to allow the inherent beauty of simplicity to shine through.

MIMI Chinese is a vibrant testament to the ever-evolving narrative of Chinese cuisine, a narrative that Chef Schwartz and his team are writing with both reverence and boldness. And, you bet I’ll be coming back for that shrimp toast.


Mme. M.


La rubrique de Madame Marie

1 étoile – Run. Before you get the runs.
 étoiles – Mediocre, but nothing you couldn’t make at home.
 étoiles – C’est bon, with some standout qualities.
 étoiles – Many memorable qualities and excellent execution. Compliments to the chef.
 étoiles – Formidable! Michelin Star quality. Book a reservation immediately.