Maxim’s Palace City Hall – Hong Kong Island (Hong Kong)

Hand’s down, Maxim’s Palace at City Hall (HK island) was the most memorable yum-cha experience of my life. A bold statement, even if I say so myself.  Never the less one that I feel describes my time perfectly. A combination of excellent dim-sum, attentive service, thriving atmosphere and a very reasonable bill at the end, all helped to create an amazing lunch and a perfect ending to my holiday.

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When lunch service begins sharply at 11:00am & concludes promptly at 3:00pm, you would be a straight out fool not to expect heavy traffic ahead of you when you arrive. A diverse range of locals, tourists and ex-pats fill this monster 7 days per week. Not to worry, the staff are highly capable of managing the masses, as you will quickly see, when you dine in this massive eating hall. This venue seats 100’s of people and the space is delightfully palatial (new word for me). White table cloths, chandeliers, fine china and view of the harbour. What an environment?

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Did I mention trolley service too? You must be sold! We began with the steamed beef dumplings ($40 HKD – $5 AUD). Moist, plush and delicious. Only problem is I had to keep asking for soy sauce throughout the meal. Must be a very Western addition to dim-sum.

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The only vegetarian dish of the lunch. Am I a bad person for eating animals? (probably). Steamed dumplings with assorted vegetables ($35 HKD – $4 AUD). These were fabulous and the skin did not fall to pieces either!

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Steamed prawn mince dumpling ($40 HKD – $5 AUD). This dumpling wins my vote for the unique wrapping style. The only remainders of this round were the soy stains in the table cloth.

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Shrimp rice noodle roll ($40HKD – $5 AUD). Must order. There were three optional fillings of prawn, beef or pork. Note: these easily cut in halves – wise to do so to avoid (more) mess.

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Char Siu – baked barbecue pork buns ($40 HKD – $5 AUD). These were very similar to the ones found at Tim Ho Wan. Sweet pastry on the outside complemented with sweet BBQ pork. Hard to go wrong here…

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Steamed pork dumplings with crab roe ($40 HKD – $5 AUD). A standard choice – above standard quality.

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We could not help but order more rolls of this type. Mainly so because I rarely find these in Melbourne. Barbeque pork rice noodle roll ($40 HKD – $5 AUD). Drool drool drool.

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Barbeque pork bun ($35 HKD – $4 AUD). Although we already had pork buns, we could not go past the original, the first, the champion of all pork buns.

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Steamed shrimp dumpling ($40 HKD – $5 AUD). I sometimes dream about these little pillows of heaven. One bite of delight!

9 courses for two people at approximately AU$25 per person. A very affordable experience and a TOTAL must go! All-in-all my yum-cha research paid off big time! Maxim’s, along with Tim Ho Wan, are both incredible experiences  for any die hard yum cha fan. Besides the high standard of food, they are two totally different adventures.

Travel well, order well, chom hard.

The Important Details…

Cuisine: Yum-Cha, Chinese

Noise: Not quiet by a long shot – them trolleys are noisy but easily maintained conversation

Bookings: Rock up, take a number and start drooling

Suitable for: Chommers of all ages

Dress: Smarter than usual – I looked like a bogan Aussie

Price: Approximately $200 HKD or alternatively $25 AUD (don’t forget we ate a sh*t load)

My View: Amazing experience, not to be missed – Did you see the chandelier?

Address: City Hall, Hong Kong Island – 5 Minutes from the Star Ferry by foot

Tim Ho Wan – Mongkok (Hong Kong)

Situated very unassumingly in the middle of the Mongkok area in Kowloon, Hong Kong, lies Tim Ho Wan. An internationally famous restaurant which carries the prestigious title as the ‘cheapest Michelin starred restaurant in the world’. After finding out this piece of information, it was with the utmost haste that I located an internet access point, obtained the address and recent reviews, which included the average cost of a meal, and headed in that direction.

My readings on Trip Advisor and other forums concluded that your total spend would be within a range of $5.00 – $10.00 AUD (60-160 HK) for a full meal of Yum Cha delicacies. My initial thought was, “That had to be total bullsh*t – no way Michelin would award a restaurant that cheap”. Turns out the reviews were spot on and the bill at my first Michelin experience was $20.00 for two.

Now, Tim Ho is no secret and by this I mean that plenty of people flock here. You would be wise to double-check, but I believe the opening hours are 10am – 10pm 7 days a week. From what I hear, the queues for brunch/lunch can be up to a two hour wait. On the fateful night I went, we arrived at 6:30pm and were seated instantly. To avoid the crowds it may be best for dinner (don’t quote me though).

This is an IN and OUT experience – the staff seem to hate people (or maybe just me). You come, stay for the food, certainly not for the service and leave feeling somewhat scarred emotionally, but very satisfied physically (in the tummy). You are provided with the menu (above) and order accordingly – only once! It was like pulling teeth with the agressive staff to allow us to order a second helping of pork buns.

The feast began with vermicelli roll stuffed with beef ($18 HKD – $2.20 AUD). The wrapping was gentle and thin but strong enough to hold the beef and vegetable pieces inside. Doused with a sweet soy sauce, I loved this dish. Awesome start. Only issue, all the food arrives as soon as it is ready – which is within minutes. Be prepared to chom quickly if you want to eat hot food.

The steamed fresh shrimp dumplings ($24 HKD – $3 AUD) were exceptional. No explanation necessary, but a must order.

These tasted tremendous, but unfortunately the wrapping exploded mid-chom process. The steamed dumpling in chiu chow style ($11 HKD – $1.5 AUD) are best to eat over your bowl. If you are like me, you can ask for soy sauce too – the staff may respond, they may not!

I was over the moon after I sampled a plate of pan fried turnip cakes ($14 HKD – $1.80 AUD). Call me pathetic, but I hadn’t tried these before. They were slightly crispy and lightly oiled, filled with nice shmooshy bites as you ploughed through each cake.

Unquestionably a high-light of the evening were the pan fried green pepper filled with mixed fish ($14 HKD – $1.80 AUD). Thin, fresh pieces of pepper hugged the tightly packed fish. Not only scrumptious, but also a unique offering that I had not come into contact with before. Thumbs up.

The steamed beef ball with bean curd skin ($16 HKD – $2 AUD) were not my favourite dish of the night, not because they weren’t delicious, simply that the other courses stood out more. I was not the biggest fan of the wet bean curd wrapping.

Steamed pork dumpling with shrimp ($24 HKD – $3 AUD) were another stock-standard favourite. Just as good as you will find in fine-dining establishments. Only difference, is that they wouldn’t be stuck together.

The baked buns with BBQ pork ($17 HKD – $2 AUD) were another new dish for me. I am well versed in the standard steamed BBQ buns but not with this alternate element of the frying/baking method. Boy were we happy to try these new treats, and happy enough to order a second helping :)

The wrapping was sweeter than usual pork buns and crumbled as you bit into the bun. Meanwhile the inside was filled with the typical BBQ goodness. Overall, these made for beautiful parcels of happiness and three each did the trick too.

All in all,  Tim Ho Wan is a must go for any foodie looking for a delicious and very cheap yum-cha experience. I mean, seriously $10 AUD per person for 9 courses of exceptional grub? You may be asked to wait in line for hours (but I am told you can put your name down, browse the Ladies Market, and return later to a table) and perhaps be treated with a little dignity. But I believe the pros far outweigh the cons. With 4 locations (or more) dispersed over Hong Kong island and Kowloon, the Tim Ho people have made Michelin standard dining all that more available. Enough typing, more chomming. Enjoy.

The Important Details…

Cuisine: Yum Cha /Chinese

Bookings: No

Price: $80 HKD / $10 AUD per head

Address: Click here

 

Firechief Pizzeria – Hawthorn East

Firechief. The simple title given to Paul Mathis’ pizza venture located on Camberwell Road on the east side of Hawthorn. The name has not escaped my memory for the last month or so. Who would think that a local pizza shop could leave such a long-lasting impression in my mind?

Firechief’s big draw card for me was the availability of three different pizza types. You are truly spoilt here with the choice of: the traditional wood-fired oven, the Moretti double decker oven and finally the conveyor belt option. Each of these three ranges boast 8 different pizzas that are believed to best suit each cooking method. We sampled 6 different pizzas on this lovely occasion, which we believe was a great representation of all the offerings.

The space makes for a boisterous, yet comfortable eating hall. Accommodating for smaller groups (1-4) and larger groups on the long tables (shown above). Further eating quarters are located at Goldilock’s cafe (at rear, also part of Mathis’ group) which is used as an overflow on busy nights – from what I have heard, its used all the time. Don’t be put off by the plethora of followers here. The friendly staff take bookings 7 days a week for lunch and dinners so you will be  eating pizza before you know it.

Do with this next amount of info as you like, but pizzas are not the only thing available at Firechief. If you happen to fall into the category of not liking pizzas (freak) then you can chom on some calamari + tzatziki, char-grilled lamb skewers, roasted chicken breast or even prawn tagliatelle to name a few. I can’t vouch for the above-mentioned, but if they follow the same standard as pizza, then you will have a pleasant evening/day of eating.

We began with a pea and spinach salad with goat’s cheese, mint and croutons ($14.00 – above) to make ourselves feel fresh and healthy. A basic side salad that works if you need to see some green with every meal. Personally, I would just order more pizza :)

The warm green bean salad with toasted hazelnuts ($10.00) is more up my alley. I found a sense of comfort in these veggies which more often than not will accompany a fine piece of eye-fillet. These complemented the pizzas very well.

Obviously unnecessary but totally delicious shoestring fries with rosemary salt flakes ($7.50).

‘Ocean Trout’ with fior di latte, smoked ocean trout, taleggio cheese, fresh parsley and lemon ($24.90 – Moretti oven). A true success story. Note: trout toppings compete with the likes of other heroes i.e. ham, chicken and prosciutto. I need not go on about the pizza bases – they are all thin to mid sized and are perfectly cooked/fired depending on the respective method.

‘Funghi’ with fior di latte, wood-fired baked mushrooms, porcini, taleggio and fresh parsley ($21.90 – Moretti oven). A solid vegetarian option though chommed by carnivores across the table.

I have to give my full votes to this pizza cooked with the perfect amount of wood-fired char. The ‘Melanzane and Peperoni’ with san marzano tomato, fior di latte, wood-fired roasted capsicum and eggplant parmigiano and fresh basil ($22.00 – Wood-fired). Next time I will be ordering from this range, but throwing some protein on top.

‘Braised Lamb’ with Italian crushed tomatoes, 8 hour braised lamb, goat’s cheese, toasted almonds, fresh parsley and mint ($23.90 – Moretti oven).

‘Vegetarian’ with seasonal vegetables, pineapple, kalamata olives on crushed tomato and mozzarella ($16.90 – conveyor oven). Again, another vegetarian option enjoyed by all. Each pizza was sizeable, 8 slices per pizza (one standard size) and not to mention, very affordable for restaurant standards.

You don’t mess with this Australian classic – except  this time we replaced ham with chicken. The ‘Hawaiian’ with crushed tomato, mozzarella, shredded Virginia ham (chicken today) and pineapple ($16.90 – conveyor oven).

‘Firechief tiramisu’ with coffee jelly, genois sponge, vanilla bean custard, creamed ricotta, toasted almonds and kahlua ($14.00). A rich, tasty and easily divisible choice among 3 – 4 chommers. Mind the strong coffee jelly loitering at the base – not suitable for children and non-coffee lovers. Overall this was a great way to end a tremendous feast at this fine establishment.

Do not even sit there for one second and pretend that you don’t like pizza because you do. The Chommery knows the truth. Look no further if you desire delicious, family friendly and affordable dining. Why not make a night of it? Catch a screening at The Rivoli Cinemas located diagonally opposite. Pizza + Movie (+-) choc top = Good times.

The Important Details…

Cuisine: Italian – pizza focus

Noise: Most definitely

Bookings: Via phone and e-mail

Suitable for: Pizza lovers + very kid friendly

Dress: Relaxed

Price: $25 per head

My View: A superb eating hall

Address: 169 Camberwell Road, Hawthorn East (loads of parking at rear of building)

Phone: (03) 9831 1700

Website: http://www.firechiefpizzeria.com.au/

Firechief on Urbanspoon

Batch Espresso – Balaclava

Batch Espresso has been fuelling the good people of Balaclava with honest food and quality coffee way back before eating out was the cool thing to do. This small cafe, situated in the midst of cosmopolitan Carlisle Street, is worth visiting as part of anyone’s food journey.

Although I do love sitting inside and getting amongst the hustle and bustle that occurs inside Batch’s premises, you will not regret nabbing a spot  on Carlisle Street, weather permitting. It is truly a captivating experience to observe the eclectic crowds that flock to and fro.

Batch has created a space that is humble, warm and welcoming for all people, from whatever walk of life you hail from. Retro black and white floor tiles are the absolute bomb and a rare sight to behold. Meanwhile, you’re looking at only 25-30 cosy seats inside which packs out like you wouldn’t believe. Best is to head down early in the morning or just after the lunch rush if you want to avoid any queues. Today’s chom was for lunch and praise the good Lord, an abridged breakfast menu was available too.

Fresh seasonal fruit salad with lavender yoghurt and almond maple crunch ($9.50). One of the lighter dishes that Batch has on their menu. This plate has all your favourite fruity friends and while the crunch appears to be muesli – it is in-fact a more sugary topping. A light, but sweet choice.

Fried haloumi with roast vegetables, pesto, balsamic reduction and sourdough ($14.00). Could haloumi be the new goat’s cheese? It is soft and tasty but can be slightly chewy if you leave it for too long. If eaten with appropriate haste this cheese (and the dish) is so delicious!

Batch have made an awesome attempt at an old Eastern European dish, commonly known to many as ‘latkes’. These are potato pancakes with NZ smoked salmon, cornichons, chives and horseradish cream friache ($15.00). While these are not as thick as I remember Bubba used to make, they certainly are as delicious. Thin, oiled up potato treats perfectly matched with a cream and salmon topping. I love these – may not be for all.

Fried eggs with lemon, cumin, mint, baba ghanoush and rocket on taosted Turkish bread ($14.00). A generous layer of baba was spread onto one piece of Turkish bread all hiding under the double egg roof. A respectably sized breakfast option that I would recommend to anyone that is not starving. A  top combo of flavours.

Batch’s avocado and  feta mash on sourdough ($12.00). Don’t tell me you are over this dish. I see people order it everywhere. On the avo-feta spectrum, this one scores very highly for me. The portion size is monstrous, two pieces of toast is kind and you know the rest. Definitely big enough, although a side of salmon or a poached egg would look great.

Why not follow the Melb-Mex trend and order something hip and trendy? The quesadilla with truffled corn, mushrooms, guacamole and sour cream ($15.00) is magnifico. Have fun alternating between the two dipping sauces (double dipping essential). Only negative about this – trying to pronounce it.

There you have it, another happy chom. Batch Espresso was one of the first cafes I explored as I began my food conquest a few years back and it was love at first sight. As I am sure you can easily tell, my love is still burning as bright as ever. Give this place a shot and I am sure yours will too.

Once you have finished your meal, I could not recommend a stroll down Carlisle Street more highly. Be sure to collect a bunch of sesame and poppy seed bagels from Glick’s and seek out the new smash-hit self-serve yoghurt joint ‘Yo-Chi’ for dessert. Upon the successful completion of all three of these food-inspired adventures you are sure to be left in a blissful state.

The Important Details…

Cuisine: Tip-top cafe fare

Noise: Hustle bustle

Suitable for: The young and old

Dress: St Kilda cosmopolitan

Price: $15 – $20 per head

My View: A classic

Address: 320 Carlisle Street, Balaclava

Phone: (03) 9530 3550

Batch Espresso on Urbanspoon

Pei Modern – Melbourne

Pei Modern. The name of Australian restauranteur Mark Best’s newest venture in Melbourne’s CBD. Best is well known by many for his multiple award winning Marque Restaurant in Surry Hills, NSW. I have not been to Marque and assuming that the big wheels keep on turnin’ – I shall one day. I did visit Pei Modern for dinner in September 2012 and to be frankly honest – it was awesome.

Located at the base of the Sofitel Hotel on Collins Street, Pei has established itself as a premiere all-day dining venue offering a breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as a bar menu. Pei has recently been awarded the prestigious honour of ‘Best New Restaurant’ in Victoria for 2012, by the ever reliable Age Good Food Guide. Being awarded such a prestigious honor certainly pumped up my expectations (and appetite) before attending.

The cuisine is modern Australian incorporating gastronomic edge to many of the dishes. I was recommended by many to take advantage of the degustation dining experience. This consisted of 7 courses at, dare I say, a reasonable price of $90 per head (without tip or alcohol included) but I do think that it was quite reasonable for the callibre of the food. As such, we swooped in while we can still afford it. An a la carte option is available too.

Our palette was whet with freshly sliced sourdough, butter and salt – the key to this chommer’s heart. The simple combination of these three basic staples makes for a superb beginning to the feast. To cap it off, the hospitable staff replaced the full package as soon as we were done. Believe it or not – the upcoming feast was so large we only went through two rounds of bread!

The first course was the almond garzpachio with blue swimmer crab. This was a fabulous opening dish that was light but flavourfilled. Small pieces of fresh crab were hidden under a dressing that we felt tasted almost like hummus. Sweet red grapes were included too, which balanced the dish well.

We moved onto the cold smoked tuna with goat’s curd and mustard seeds. This dish was an artist’s piece and almost looked to good to chom. Almost! Possibly the finest tuna that has ever graced my lips. Add all that other craziness and liquid goat’s curd underneath – you have a delicious dish.

Just a little warning, don’t be a hater and just eat Peter – he tastes delicious. The rabbit meatballs with slow cooked carrot were to die for! Definitely in the top 7 dishes we had for the night. While these were not as visually appealing, they made up for it in sheer eating delight. Warm, soft and full of juice, lying in juice. The carrots were not the center of attention but were divine too and soft as butter.

From my understanding, this is quickly becoming Pei’s signature dish. This is Dutch cream potatoes with bone marrow, potatoe mousse and coffee grounds. While the name/description do not sound too desirable, I felt I was comfortably in safe hands. This was a massive serving of soft potatoes hiding beneath the super flavoursome creamy broth. Word’s cannot describe the flavours – a must try!

The fifth and final savoury course was the wood fire grilled hanger steak charred pablano pepper and harissa. A beautiful, rare piece of meat to take the centre stage with the harissa a ‘match made in heaven’ accompaniment. Truthfully, we were all full to the brim by this point. How did we manage dessert?

Dark chocolate sorbet with crushed chocolate and honeycomb. The photo does not depict this well, you may be able to make out the chocolate at the base of the cones. This is for dipping the ice cream into – need I say more? And, YES double dipping did occur – triple too!

The 7th course finally arrived – the one that we truly believed that our stomachs had no room for. It was white chocolate and yoghurt ganache with fresh mandarin and sorrel sorbet. I summoned to the almighty chomming gods for the strength to plough this dessert.

Pei Modern is truly something special. Save it for a special occasion or don’t – either way just make sure that you find the time to go down. Hands down I would recommend the degustation experience as an awesome way of trying a large portion of the menu. From what I am aware, the menu changes every day of the week but Sunday when Pei has a little rest. Open from 5:30pm all other days – Pei Modern is at your service.

The Important Details…

Cuisine: Modern Australian / Gastronimic

Noise: Nice hum

Bookings: Yes – Praise the lord

Suitable for: Adults inclined

Dress: Work wear appropriate

Price: $90 per head (excluding alcohol)

My View: An affordable and scrumptious degustation experience

Address: 45 Collins Street, Melbourne

Phone: (03) 9654 8545

Website: http://www.peimodern.com.au/contact

Pei Modern on Urbanspoon

Miss Jackson – St Kilda

Deep in the heart of Melbourne’s prized eating precinct of St Kilda you will find a small and friendly cafe that goes by the name of Miss Jackson (MJ).  The address of these premises is 2/19 Grey Street, although humans would be wise to enter from Jackson Street – if in doubt use a Google map application or the good ol’ fashioned Melways.

MJ is a great neighborhood cafe run by a very friendly team that have been providing St Kilda with delicious cafe fare for some time now. From what I hear the menu has remained the same for a little while offering many customer favourites, in addition to 1-2 specials every day. All day breakfast with a handful of lunch options complemented with more-than drinkable coffee is really all you need to know. Sitting inside you may find your experience to be surprisingly comfortable, I must attribute this drawing card to the fact that MJ has been around before the ‘sit-on-top-of-each-other’ cafe model was introduced.

To kick off the festivities we shared a plate of crumbed polenta chips with harissa mayo ($7.50). One deliciously oily finger lathered in dipping sauce is all you need the edge off before each chommer’s individual dish arrives.

Spanish baked eggs with chorizo, char grilled capsicum and olives ($16.00). A classic combination that we all know and love. Also great to chom a large piece of toast with this dish.

Goat’s cheese omelette with fresh herbs and organic sourdough toast ($14.50). An egg variety that we all are fond of, made a trillion times better with the inclusion of the smash-hit ingredient of the decade, goat’s cheese – makes for yummy times. A wise chommer added a side of salty and juicy bacon to join in the fun – no complaints.

Scientists have reported that you need three things to live; water, shelter and schintzel. I’m not one to challenge scientific research and as such ordered the Panko schnitzel burger with radish and fennel slaw ($14.00). The MJ crew have gone down the thin+crunchy schnitty path, encased by the ever reliable Turkish roll and thrown some fresh slaw in the middle. A tasty burger that more than does the trick. You may want a side of mayo or tommy sauce to give it that extra booya! On another note, my near equal favourite reuben sanga is also available and will be sampled in the not-too-distant future.

A delicate and light option can be found in the breakfast crumble with apple, blackberry, pistachio granola and yoghurt ($9.00). Light on the lipids and the wallet, this is a nice muesli option complemented perfectly with the generous golf ball of yoghurt.

Corn fritters with bacon, avocado and roasted vine tomatoes with homemade chili jam ($15.00). A respectable serving of two soft, fluffy fritters carefully roofed by some crispy bacon and avocado slices. The spread-as-you like type of sauce allows you to sweeten these hot-cakes as much as you desire.

To finish this post on a heavy note, we went all out with the steak sandwich with caramelised onion, fresh tomato, rocket and fries ($15.50). Lightly toasted ciabatta coated nicely with a layer of mayo worked brilliantly to enclose the thick rare roast piece of protein inside. An excellent sandwich that I would be happy to recommend to all. Extra brownie points for top Maccas style fries.

If you can visualise yourself hoeing into some of this fine cafe grub after glancing over this here post then there is no need to hesitate. Opening hours are 7:00 – 4:00 every day bar Monday which should provide you with availability to enjoy. Although I did not take advantage of it this time, the space is fully licensed and as such a frothy or two could go down a treat upon the next visit.

The Important Details…

Cuisine: Cafe

Noise: Very light music

Suitable for: All

Dress: Yes please

Price: $15 – $20 per head

My View:

Address: 2/19 Grey Street, St Kilda

Phone: (03) 9534 8415

Website: http://www.missjackson.com.au/

Miss Jackson on Urbanspoon

Bamboo House – Melbourne

A range of different Chinese restaurants, take-away outlets and other oriental cuisine line the extended walkways that make up Chinatown in Melbourne. Often you find yourself  bewildered by the choice as you make your way down Little Bourke Street. Some of the premises are presumably serving totally inedible MSG, while others may delight your taste-buds all night long. With the external facades and  menus all of  a similar nature, it could prove to be a game of luck landing one of the better choices.

Either way, as a good-food navigator, I have a duty of care to my readers to send them in the direction of where I believe they will enjoy themselves. Today’s chom spot is Bamboo House, located at 47 Little Bourke Street, which is about half way between Exhibition and Spring Streets. This house began operations in 1984, offering a large variety of northern Chinese dishes in a comfortable setting. Trading successfully for over 25 years, there is much to love about Bamboo House and it’s excellent choice of Chinese fare. Most importantly, in all those years, the prices have remained reasonable.

There is nothing quite like the typical ‘Aussie-Chinese’ look that can be found at Bamboo House. Waiters are dressed  in slacks, white shirts and black vests. The tables are completed with white cloths and the floor is non-other than classic dark red carpet. Some may say ‘out dated, where is the exposed brick’? For me, I can’t stress how much I love it when venues keep their original look eg Pellegrini’s and France Soir.

To begin the feast we had the chicken san choy bau. How can I resist? The cool and crunchy lettuce leaf  compliments the chopped chook+veg+ nut mix so perfectly portioned inside. A favourite entree that I would recommend to all. Note: ask for extra plum sauce and drizzle all over, not because it needs extra flavour – it just tastes so damn good.

What an army of dumplings above? Soft, plush, juicy pan-fried beef and steamed pork dumpling. Excellent dumplings – no further elaboration required.

You almost need sunglasses to shade the shiny red glow that is glistening off this Peking duck. We requested the full duck and this is exactly what arrived. It’s so delicious I could demolish this little beauty all on my lonesome.

We were lucky enough that a duck master came out from the kitchen in order to prepare the individual parcels for my troops. This bloke was a lovely chap, cooked some ridiculous duck and likes playing tennis in his spare time.

The photo does not do justice to these two constructed Peking duck wraps. Deep inside, the delicate, warm wrap holds a thin, sweet layer of plum sauce and two strips of spring onion – not to forget a generous portion of duck! Eating perfection.

To help balance the stampede of main courses to follow we ate a plate of steamed Chinese greens with mushrooms. Nothing amazing here, just an attempt to try be slightly healthy.

The steamed Mongolian chicken with capsicum is a crowd pleaser. An above average version of a stock-standard Chinese dish. The chicken pieces are tender, the vegetables are fresh while the sauce is not too overpowering.

I have come to know and love this dish in my more recent chomming years. Sichuan dry fried beef has all too quickly become one of my favourite courses on an oriental night out. Ultra-thin pieces of beef, fried in the boiling hot depths of cooking oil and then drenched in a sickly-sweet dressing. Maybe the description does not sound the best – take it from me this is eating bliss. Each croft (crunchy + soft) bite into these mouthfuls is just ‘top-notch’.

Important to offer something for the fish eating vegetarians and the Omega 3 crowd. The steamed barramundi with ginger and spring onion is an excellent choice. The pre-cut, fluffy pieces of Barra are bathing so eloquently in a very light soy dressing. This dish is light and certainly Chommery approved.

As I am sitting here jibber-jabbering I can’t help but salivate. The Cantonese beef with snow peas was exactly what I was hoping for. Generously sized pillows of beef, meaty goodness, each one more lathered in the sweet Cantonese sauce than the next. The snow peas are only visually appealing, while the whole dish is worth it simply for the succulence of the beef.

We dined here as a group of 11 to celebrate a family members day of birth and the Bamboo staff looked after us considerately by perfectly portioning each dish to suit the numbers. Bamboo House is also great if you are a smaller group looking to get a quality Chinese fix when floating around the CBD. I will say that this is not the most economical option on Little Bourke and neither is my equal favourite venue of Longrain (diagonally opposite). Now, you have seen the photos and maybe read some of my dribble so you can make a more informed choice. Bamboo House is not a house, it’s a home and one worth living in even if only for one night (or day).

The Important Details…

Cuisine: Chinese

Noise: Mid-level chit chat

Bookings: Yes

Suitable for: All

Dress: More upmarket than usual

Price: $50 per person

My View: Tip top Chinese Fare

Address: 47 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Phone: (03) 9662 1565

Website: http://www.bamboohouse.com.au/

Bamboo House on Urbanspoon