New Shanghai

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of New Shanghai.
Serving up New Shanghai’s signature Chinese cuisine inspired by traditional delicacies found on the streets of Shanghai, the chain has earned great critical acclaim across Australia. 
The Melbourne restaurant has a relaxed ambience which exudes an atmosphere of authenticity, transporting diners straight to a 1930s Shanghai street. 
Vintage Chinese posters adorn the walls and plants wrapped around ornate metal screens and hand-laid cobblestone tiles create clever accents throughout the dining area. 
Diners can see the chefs in action via a live dumpling making theatre. 
Sheng Jian Bao – Pan Fried Pork Bun

While many Chinese restaurants in Melbourne serve the Sheng Jian Bao, New Shanghai’s variety are a cut above. The skin of the fried dumplings possessed the perfect thickness and signature crispy and fluffy texture without being overly doughy.  The Ground pork and chopped cabbage filling was well seasoned and each bun possessed a wonderfully golden, crispy bottom.  
New Shanghai Crab Meat Xiao Long Bao 

An absolute show stopper was New Shanghai’s delectable Crab Meat Xiao Long Bao. The gracefully delicate pastry skin was enveloped in alluring crab meat and rich pork-seasoned broth.  
Prawn wontons with chilli oil, peanut & sesame sauce

The prawn wontons were yet another highlight. We loved the velvety wonton pastry which was beautiful in texture and the accompanying sea of sweet soy, peanut sauce and dried chilli was pleasantly appetising. Cooked with the perfect amount of heat, these wontons tantalised our taste buds.
Fragrant & Crispy Half Duck with Steamed Buns

The dish of Fragrant & Crispy Duck with Steamed Bun had us fighting for the last morsel. The fluffy and moist buns were a lovely canvas for the velvety duck flesh and its perfectly crisp skin. 
New Shanghai is a gem of a place for casual dining. With its superb execution of Shanghainese cuisine and affordable pricing, there is no doubt that New Shanghai should be one of your "go to" restaurants.


Location: Third floor, Emporium centre 287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Phone: 02 9412 3358
Cuisine: Shanghainese, Xiao Long Bao, Pan-fried Pork Bun


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Red Emperor Restaurant @ Southgate

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Red Emperor.
Red Emperor is a stylish Chinese restaurant located within the Southgate precinct featuring authentic delectable Chinese gourmet dishes, an excellent wine list, great ambience and wonderful service. 
Each dish is carefully prepared by talented and professional chefs, using both traditional and modern methods of Chinese culinary art.
Our host for the evening was Red Emperor’s manager for over 20 years, Christine. Delightful, full of passion and a brilliant sense of humour, Christine made our visit to Red Emperor an absolute highlight.
Crispy pork belly, hargow (steamed prawn dumpling) and steamed prawn, coriander and water chestnut rolls

The guys at Red Emperor have truly mastered the art of pork roasting. The pork belly is succulently roasted to retain a porky juiciness, achieving a healthy layer of melt-in-the-mouth fat in the process. The feature item is the crackling which possesses the ultimate crunch and acts as the ideal partner for the tender pork meat. Coupled with beautifully made hargow and steamed prawn, coriander and water chestnut rolls, this starter was a true beauty. 
 Jumbo Queensland Prawns with XO Chilli Sauce served with egg noodles

One of our favourite dishes from our evening at the Red Emperor, the lusciousness of these prawns beggared belief. The dish was further highlighted by the noodles which retained the natural sweetness of the prawns and exhibited a pleasant firmness. Lightly flavoured by the aromatic garlic shoots and the deliciously spicy XO sauce, this dish boasted the characteristic charred flavour that normally accompanies wok-tossed items.
Sichuan smoked tea duck

It only takes one bite of Red Emperor’s Sichuan smoked tea duck to understand why it has become one of the restaurant’s signature dishes.  Simply put, the dish is all about the duck’s thin crispy skin – achieved through a rigorous process of pumping air into the duck’s body, then spreading boiling water over the skin before drying and roasting the duck. The tender duck meat, although delicious, plays an ancillary role in this affair with the moreish duck skin taking centre stage with its beautiful smoky tea flavour. Along with the hoisin sauce mixture and fluffy butterfly shaped steamed buns, this dish is sensational and a definite must try. 
Fresh lobster, dried scallops, egg white, massago and chinese broccoli in fried rice

Affectionately called “rich man’s fried rice”, this was perhaps the most indulgent fried rice we had ever eaten. Combining generous morsels of lobster and only using egg white, the fried rice was beautifully cooked with each grain of rice retaining its integrity and the individual flavours of the premium ingredients shining through. 
“Foong Sha” baked chicken

A classic Cantonese dish, the Red Emperor version of “Foong Sha” baked chicken consisted of a whole chicken that had been marinated overnight with smashed ginger, herbs and spices then baked and finally, served de-boned with lotus root chips and garlic sauce on the side. Continuing the trend for the evening, the chicken was beautiful. Of particular note was the tender chicken’s velvety texture and crisp skin.
Peking shredded beef fillet

The beef was beautifully battered and doused with liberal amounts of vinegar and plum sauce. It was, as expected, a rich combination of flavours and one which provided the requisite balance of sweet, salty and savoury notes to please the palate.
Stir-fried Snow pea shoots

Only the most tender and flavourful section of the shoots are hand plucked and sorted by the kitchen. We adored this vegetarian dish. The pea tips were immensely flavourful and possessed a taste reminiscent of snow peas themselves, but with a grassier, fresher flavour that is unique to the plant. This dish was further enhanced by the addition of goji berries.
Chinese pancakes filled with red bean paste and thinly sliced banana served with vanilla ice cream

A simple dessert that amalgamated the best aspects of banana fritters and red bean pancake, the pancakes were folded over delicately sliced banana and luxurious red bean paste. The pancake had a pleasant chewiness which contrasted nicely with the soft banana and its crispy exterior.  It was a simple but truly superb dessert.
Red Emperor offers fine Cantonese cuisine with dashes of flavour from Hong Kong and other mainland regions. With expertly prepared dishes that are presented to the highest possible standard, it is no wonder Red Emperor has long been considered one of Melbourne’s best Chinese restaurants. 

Location: Level 2, Southgate Precinct, 3 Southgate Ave  Southbank,
Phone: 03 9699 4170
Cuisine: Chinese, Asian, Yum Cha

Red Emperor on Urbanspoon

Italian Yum Cha @ The Grand

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of The Grand.
The Grand is celebrating The Age’s Good Food Month by bringing an Italian twist to the Chinese classic way of doing lunch - Italian Yum Cha.

Like all good Yum cha you just sit back, relax and wait for the food to come to you with the added bonus of being able to order off a delectable list of special dishes from their a la carte yum cha menu.
The award-winning dining room at The Grand serves up simple, authentic Italian food with an emphasis on both quality ingredients and value and their Yum Cha maintains that high standard. It is no surprise that they are currently one of only two AGFG chefs hatted Pub in Australia - an honour that has been bestowed upon The Grand 9 times now.
The Grand comprises distinct spaces. There is the elegant dining room, the chic lounge bar and three function rooms (each named after towns on the shores of Lake Como) which range from the Bellagio Room which sits up to 16 persons to the Como Room which accommodates up to 80 persons. 
Aperol Spritz "tea" with house-made bread, olives and white bean puree

One of our favourite dishes was the braised ox cheek with baked polenta (pictured above). An excellent homely dish, the braised ox cheek fell away easily with the weight of the forks. Coated with the earthy braising sauce, it was most enjoyable when eaten with the decadent and well-seasoned polenta. 
Crudo with egg yolk, pickled enoki mushroom and cress

The thick slices of very fresh crudo were served with pickled enoki mushroom and cress. The dish was notable for the quality of the fish and the interplay between the tartness of the pickled mushroom and the richness of the creamy egg yolk. It was a simple but well executed dish. 
Left: Spanner crab in bread crumb pasta parcels
Right: Wild boar lasagne

The spanner crab pasta was beautiful.  Within the layer of superbly cooked bread crumb pasta were soft shreds of sweet spanner crab.  The tomato and saffron provided fresh flavours to complement the delicious crab meat.

The wild boar lasagna was yet another highlight. Each layer of superbly cooked pasta was adorned with delicious cheese and tender meat. The tomato veloute provided fresh flavours while the cheese brought all the elements on the plate together in a cohesive fashion.
Ox tongue with frizze, capers and mustard fruit

The centrepiece ox tongue possessed a beautiful depth of flavour, with the salinity in the capers helping to alleviate the richness of the decadent tongue.
Left: Potato gnocchi with brown butter and sage
Right: Chargrilled marinated tuna skewers

The light gnocchi captivated with its delightfully pungent truffle aroma and its lingering rich brown butter flavour while the chargrilled marinated tuna skewers were perfectly cooked.
Seared scallops on squid ink zucchini spaghetti

A positive highlight, this dish showcased complex but well balanced flavours.  The scallops were perfectly seared and bursting with natural flavour, a flavour further enhanced by the subtle sweetness of the zucchini spaghetti. It was a magnificent dish.
Left: Italian doughnuts with crema pasticcera
Right: Cannoli
Noughart semifreddo

While all the desserts were beautiful, the Noughart semifreddo was a stand out. Possessing a lovely smooth texture, the right level of sweetness and crunch, the semifreddo was well made and bursting with flavour. 
Combining the 2 things we love: Italian food and Yum cha, this was always going to be a success story. It is clear that the chefs have been having a great time rethinking Italian food from a yum cha prospective and the results are simply delicious. 
When: The first four Saturday and Sunday lunches in November
Where: The Grand Dining Room, 333 Burnley Street, Richmond
Cost: Pay for what you eat
Bookings essential: 03 9429 2530

Grand Hotel Dining Room on Urbanspoon

Melbourne confirms their love for dumplings with a twist

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Charlie Dumpling.
Charlie Dumpling has had a full house for lunch and dinner ever since its inception at the end of January and it is easy to understand why.
The menu is, quite simply put, sensational. Led by Executive Chef, Dylan Roberts (formerly Claremont Tonic, Ezard, Cutler & Co), Charlie Dumpling delivers a modern twist on dumplings and a new standard in fast casual dining. 
Consistent with Charlie Dumpling’s casual theme, its dining room features bright orange tabletops and a backdrop of thatched walls which engender an “outdoor” feel with modern flair. The informal nature is further enforced by the structure of the menu – the dishes offered are designed to be shared by the table. 
Charlies Fried Chicken Ribs, five spice honey, kewpie 

We commenced our meal with a bar staple: fried chicken ribs.  The meaty chicken ribs, more substantial and less finicky than chicken wing pieces, were crusted with a flavoursome spice mix and then perfectly fried to achieve a moreish crunchy exterior and drizzled with luscious five spice honey.  
Snapper, chilli, lime and blackbean dumplings

The velvety dumpling pastry was beautiful in texture and the accompanying sea of sweet soy, lime and dried chilli was pleasantly appetising. An expertly judged amount of heat brought this dish to another level. Bursting with flavour, exquisite balance and complexity, these dumplings are a must-have.
Pearly chicken dumpling, crispy skin, black vinegar

Boasting a tender and succulent interior encased by pearly rice, these dumplings harmonised a perfect balance of spices and sweetness. The accompanying black vinegar dipping sauce was delicious. Combined with the amazingly crisp chicken skin, it was intoxicating.
Peking duck dumplings, aromatic broth, tofu, Asian mushrooms

The dumplings consisted of fragrant and flavoursome duck meat within soft pastry.  The accompanying broth was a perfect example of the traditional tofu and mushroom broth – combining a perfect balance of sweet and savoury elements with malleable tofu and wonderfully fragrant herbs and spices.

Sugar braised beef short rib, hot and sour salad with steamed buns

The sugar braised beef short rib was stunning - Tender, falling off the bone, juicy and packed with flavour. A memorable dish combining flawless texture with equally superlative flavours, it was particularly noteworthy for its fragrant and complex beefy flavours. The crunchy hot and sour salad was the perfect accompaniment featuring  pickled  carrot, cucumber, a sprinkle of fried shallots and mixed herbs - all finished with a generous helping of Vietnamese-style dressing. The fluffy steamed buns were an eager canvas for the delightful amalgamation of flavours.
An exemplary display of Charlie Dumpling’s versatility, the desserts are also highly recommended.
Steamed pear and ginger dumpling, walnut caramel, iced cinnamon 
Milk chocolate dumplings with raspberry-chilli sorbet 

The dumplings had a beautifully crisp exterior and were filled with luscious milk chocolate. The raspberry and chilli sorbet boasted vibrant flavours of fresh fruit and a delightful kick. The elements harmonised cohesively together producing both a decadently sweet and novel end to our dinner.  
In a market where casual dining is in vogue, Charlie Dumpling assimilates perfectly.  Fortunately, unlike some other restaurants which implement a casual approach to the detriment of the food that they produce, Charlie Dumpling adheres to a very high standard. One which epitomises Melbourne’s unique dining culture of gastronomical excellence presented in a casual and pretence-free environment.


Location: 184 High St  Prahran,
Phone: 03 9510 4213
Cuisine: Asian, dumplings


More Charlie on High! 
After just 7 months and an incredible welcome in its first restaurant location at 184 High Street Prahran, Charlie Dumpling is set to expand. 

With the high demand on the flagship restaurant, Charlie Dumpling has taken over premises a few doors away at 212 High Street, Prahran, which previously housed Vin Cellar.

The immediate upshot will be the launch of Charlie Dumpling Jr, a dedicated Take Away service, ensuring that Charlie’s range of dishes can be enjoyed any time. A Take Away app for online orders will be available in the coming weeks. The new locale will also be home to an exciting new bar and cellar concept along with additional function space – all under the one roof. 
Charlie Dumpling on Urbanspoon

New Shanghai opens its first Melbourne restaurant | Win free dumplings for a year!

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of New Shanghai.
Sydney’s favourite dumpling house has expanded its empire once again with a new restaurant in Melbourne’s lavish Emporium shopping centre.
Upper right: Drunken chicken
Bottom left: Garlic cucumber
Bottom right: Shanghainese sweet and sour pork rib

Serving up New Shanghai’s signature Chinese cuisine inspired by traditional delicacies found on the streets of Shanghai, the chain has earned great critical acclaim across Australia. 
The Melbourne restaurant has a relaxed ambience which exudes an atmosphere of authenticity, transporting diners straight to a 1930s Shanghai street. 
Vintage Chinese posters adorn the walls and plants wrapped around ornate metal screens and hand-laid cobblestone tiles create clever accents throughout the dining area. 
Diners can see the chefs in action via a live dumpling making theatre. 
Xiao Long Bao – Steamed Pork Dumpling

Highlights from our dinner at New Shanghai included New Shanghai’s famous dumplings, including the xiao long bao, a mini steamed pork bun with gingery-sweet broth and a juicy pocket of pork made using a secret family recipe; and the pan-fried pork bun, a New Shanghai delicacy made using a generations-old family technique.  
Upper left: Steamed Vegetarian Dumpling
Upper right: Rainbow Beef
Bottom left: Shanghainese Fried Noodle with Shredded Pork & Vegetable
Bottom right: Stir-fried String Bean with Dried Shrimps & Soy Sauce
Sheng Jian Bao – Pan Fried Pork Bun

While many Chinese restaurants in Melbourne serve the Sheng Jian Bao, New Shanghai’s variety are a cut above. The skin of the fried dumplings possessed the perfect thickness and signature crispy and fluffy texture without being overly doughy.  The Ground pork and chopped cabbage filling was well seasoned and each bun possessed a wonderfully golden, crispy bottom.  
Shepherd’s Purse & Pork Wonton with Red chilli Oil & Peanut Sauce

The Shepherd’s Purse & Pork Wonton was yet another highlight. We loved the velvety wonton pastry which was beautiful in texture and the accompanying sea of sweet soy, peanut sauce and dried chilli was pleasantly appetising. Cooked with the perfect amount of heat, these wontons tantalised our taste buds.
Salt & Peppered Soft Shell Crab

The Salt & Peppered Soft Shell Crab was amazing. The deep fried crustacean pieces were coated in a semi-thick crisp batter that encapsulated firm, sweet flesh. With a touch of fried garlic and a myriad of spices, it was simply superb.  
Upper left: Crispy Turnip Cake
Upper right: Shallot & Smoked Ham Sesame Puff
Bottom left: Braised Pork Belly with Sweet Soy Sauce
Bottom right: X.O. Sauce Fried Rice

The Braised Pork Belly with Sweet Soy Sauce was comfort food at its best. It was a well-conceived dish that took full advantage of the pork belly’s most notable characteristic – its supple fatty meat. The unctuous pieces of pork were creamy and melted in our mouths.
Fragrant & Crispy Duck with Steamed Bun

The dish of Fragrant & Crispy Duck with Steamed Bun had us fighting for the last morsel. The fluffy and moist buns were a lovely canvas for the velvety duck flesh and its perfectly crisp skin. 
Dessert - Shaved Ice with Seasonal Fresh Fruit
New Shanghai is a gem of a place for casual dining. With its superb execution of Shanghainese cuisine and affordable pricing, there is no doubt that New Shanghai will soon be a firmly entrenched Melbourne dining institution.


Location: Third floor, Emporium centre 287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Phone: 02 9412 3358
Link: www.newshanghai.com.au
Cuisine: Shanghainese, Xiao Long Bao, Pan-fried Pork Bun


Win free dumplings for a year!

New Shanghai are currently running a competition through their Facebook page, which gives fans the chance to win free dumplings for a year at the Melbourne Emporium restaurant. Find out more here.

 New Shanghai on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Mr Huang Jin

Location: Ground Floor, Rialto Building, 525 Collins Street, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9077 7937 
Cuisine: Asian, Taiwanese, Yum Cha
Overall Impression: 8/10
With chefs from Din Tai Fung, the legendary Taipei-based global chain, it is not surprising that Mr Huang Jin has rapidly gained a cult following.

Casual sophistication is the name of the game, with the triple height ceiling paying homage to Mr Huang Jin's Rialto Towers location. 
The immaculately made xiao long bao are perfection. Showcasing the skill of the chefs, the xiao long bao skins are elastic, translucent, of consistent thickness and don't tear or unravel. In order to achieve such results, incredible discipline and extreme quality control are prerequisites. 
The pan-fried chicken dumplings, which we are told are the latest addition to the menu, were equally impressive. As were the potstickers, which had beautifully silky skins and perfectly crispy bases. The lemon grass chicken dumplings were also of note - bursting with a deliciously complex splash of lemon grass, they were an absolute delight. 

We also had some beautiful rice paper rolls. Once again, these were bursting with freshness and were finely assembled. 
The Taiwanese tapas were lovely with wine - and you definitely can't go wrong with Taiwanese fried chicken. A popular dish in Taiwanese cuisine and the mainstay of Taiwanese night markets, Taiwanese fried chicken is a very guilty but delicious pleasure. 
Mr Huang Jin’s rendition of the Taiwanese Fried Chicken is commendable - beautifully balanced from the use of soy sauce, sugar, garlic, rice wine and five-spice. 
Our dining experience at Mr Huang Jin ended with classic Taiwanese pan fried buns filled with brown sugar and walnuts. These are pillow-soft in places and crispy in others, and are filled with a sweet, warm, nutty filling. 
While many Chinese restaurants in Melbourne serve xiao long bao, Mr Huang Jin’s variety are a cut above. The fillings are lean, not fatty, and the technique used to produce them is impeccable. Aside from dumplings, Mr Huang Jin serves up a delicious mix of Taiwanese main courses and tapas offerings. Combined with the stylish location, excellent drinks menu and warm service, Mr Huang Jin is a compelling lunch and dinner time destination.

Mr Huang Jin on Urbanspoon

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Mr Huang Jin.

Restaurant Review: Oriental Tea House

Locations: 4 (see below for details)
Link: http://www.orientalteahouse.com.au/
Cuisine: Chinese, Tea, Yum Cha
Overall Impression: 7.5/10

Oriental Tea House is one of Melbourne's most highly regarded premier tea and yum cha destination.
Remaining loyal to traditional dumplings and tea, Oriental Tea House is one of J and I’s favourite Melbourne tea and yum cha haunts. 
It’s a great place to enjoy the simple pleasures of life - eating tiny delicious morsels of different foods while sipping some freshly brewed Chinese tea. 
Open 7 days a week, Oriental Tea House’s fresh, handmade dumplings and dim sum and wide selection of teas (which are sourced from high quality growers) are a delight!

Oriental Tea House on UrbanspoonOriental Tea House on Urbanspoon
Oriental Tea House on UrbanspoonOriental Tea House on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Man Tong Kitchen

Location: Southbank Crown Entertainment Complex, 8 Whiteman Street,  Southbank
Phone: 03 9686 9888
Link: http://www.mantongkitchen.com.au/
Cuisine: Chinese, Yum Cha, Dumplings
Overall Impression: 7.5/10
Sister restaurant of Hu Tong, Man Tong is a fabulous new addition to the Crown casino restaurants precinct. Meaning “full house” in Chinese, the restaurant celebrates the Chinese tradition of having a house full of family members and friends sharing in a feast together. 

Steamed Pork Dumplings (6 pieces) (North China) - $11.80 
Deep Fried Boneless Chicken with Dry Chilli (Chong Qing) - $29.80 
 Braised Enoki Mushroom, Gluten and Vegetables in Clay Pot - $28.00 
Diced Eye Fillets in Tea Flavour (Fujian) - $33.80
The food was authentic and featured popular dishes from the different cities in China. Every dish was executed well and used good quality ingredients. Man Tong certainly delivers and is a great way to explore Chinese cuisine.

  Man Tong Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Fu Long

Location: 942 Whitehorse Road, Box Hill
Phone: 03 9890 7388
Cuisine: Chinese
Overall Impression: 5/10 
Fu Long continues to draw in the crowds because of its value for money proposition. The yumcha carts are filled with generous serves of dumplings and other deep-fried favourites that are all very well priced. 
Both the food and the service is of a relatively good standard. 
In their a la carte menu section, is their lobster noodles that are served with plump lobsters and more than enough noodles. Again, at lower than average Chinese restaurant prices.
So, if you feel like getting bang for your buck, Fu Long might just hit the spot!

Fu Long on Urbanspoon

Event Review: Taste of Melbourne

Taste of Melbourne is a food festival that celebrates Melbourne's culinary scene. This year, Taste of Melbourne was held in Albert Park for the first time at the beautiful lakeside location, Pelican Lawn. A number of Melbourne restaurants participated, offering tapas sized dishes for visitors to buy and try.

Albert Street Food & Wine “Minted Mermaid” – pea & mint soup, smoked salmon & apple $10

We started our Taste of Melbourne journey with a very creamy "Minted Mermaid" from Albert Street Food & Wine. The chilled soup was thick, decadent and had beautiful flavours.
Albert Street Food & Wine - Duck brik, peach and ginger chutney $12

Albert Street Food and Wine on Urbanspoon
 The Aylesbury - Dorper Lamb Ribs, Pea and Mint $6

One of our favourite dishes was the lamb ribs from The Aylesbury which had big Mediterranean flavours and were delectably juicy and tender, with a perfectly crisp layer of skin.
The Aylesbury on Urbanspoon
Movida - Pinchitos Morunos, Chargrilled Moorish Lamb skewers $8

Movida's lamb skewers were perfectly cooked - deliciously charred on the outside and perfectly pink on the inside. They were, as described, incredibly moorish. 
MoVida Next Door on Urbanspoon

Malaysian Kitchen cooking demonstration
The Atlantic - Tempura Soft Shell Crab with jalapeno and ponzu $10

Another highlight of our evening were these beautiful morsels of tempura soft shell crab from The Atlantic. The batter was light and not greasy. The crab tasted fresh and juicy!
The Atlantic on Urbanspoon
 Libertine - Smoked venison, beetroot & horseradish $12

The folks behind the Libertine stall were incredibly friendly - it was great to see that their high standard of customer service extended beyond the restaurant!
And the smoked venison did not disappoint. There was a lovely balance of flavours between the salty slices of smoked venison and the slight tartness of the beetroot. The horseradish brought a wasabi-like kick to the dish. It was lovely.

Libertine on Urbanspoon

Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar - Salt bush lamb shoulder, peas and mint $8

 Mr Hive's lamb shoulder was deliciously tender and tasty.
Mr. Hive Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon 
1 Cocktail + 2 tastes $8
The cocktails from Radii Restaurant & Bar (Park Hyatt) which were accompanied by moreish canapes were most impressive.
Radii Restaurant & Bar, Park Hyatt Melbourne on Urbanspoon
Gundowring ice cream $2 for 2 cones
And soon it was time for dessert.
The Botanical - Yuzu cloud, coconut pearl, guava sorbet $6

This was the best dessert we had at Taste of Melbourne. The luxurious coconut milk contrasted spectacularly with the tartness from the guava sorbet and the yuzu brought a lovely chewy textural element to the dish.
The Botanical on Urbanspoon
The Point - Baked organic quark cheesecake, hazelnut crumb and raspberry $6
Mahjong - Steamed BBQ pork buns $6 
We ended our time at Taste of Melbourne with a supper classic, Char Siu Bao from Mahjong. Unfortunately, the buns were slightly dry but thankfully the sweet and salty barbecued pork filling was enjoyable to eat.

Mahjong on Urbanspoon

Entry tickets courtesy of Nuffnang

All in all, Taste of Melbourne is an interesting experience. While I would not describe that experience as being one that could replace dining at one of the exhibiting restaurants, it can certainly give you an idea of what a restaurant has to offer and most importantly, can be a really fun day out with family and friends.

Restaurant Review: Tai Pan

Location: 239 Blackburn Road, Doncaster
Phone: 03 9841 9977
Link: taipanrestaurant.com.au
Cuisine:  Chinese, Yum Cha
Overall Impression: 7/10

Tai Pan Restaurant is my favourite place for Yum Cha. They dish up a brilliant array of Hong Kong Stlye Yum Cha items including all-time favourites like Har Gow and Sieu Mai. Satisfying locals in the Eastern suburbs for almost 20 years, I'm glad to say that the quality of their offerings is as high as ever.
Their delicious dim sums are beautifully made and are always packed full of flavour, generous and fresh. 
While you certainly pay a slight premium on the Yum Cha items at Tai Pan, it is certainly worth the extra dollars. The service is of a consistently good standard and it is certainly serves a brilliant Yum Cha.

Tai Pan on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Shark Fin

Location: 52 and 131 Little Bourke St Melbourne
Phone: 03 9662 2681 (Shark Fin Inn), 03 9663 1555 (Shark Fin House)
Link: sharkfin.com.au
Cuisine: Chinese, Yum Cha
Overall Impression: 7/10

In terms of Yum Cha, the Shark Fin group certainly has it all down pat.
There is a brilliant variety of dishes and we were delighted to see that they were, in general, well executed. We ordered as much as we could physically eat and the bill came up to a very reasonable $30 per person. Shark Fin is certainly one of the better Yum Cha places in China Town.

Shark Fin Inn on Urbanspoon
Shark Fin House on Urbanspoon

Golden Dragon Palace

Location: 363 Manningham Rd, Lower Templestowe
Phone: 03 9852 4086
Link: goldendragonpalace.com.au
Cuisine: Chinese, Yum Cha
Overall Impression: 6/10

I have visited Golden Dragon Palace for dinner on several occasions and have always been impressed with the food. My all-time favourite dish is their chilli crab. 

Last weekend, we all decided to visit Golden Dragon Palace for a yum-cha brunch.
There was a very good variety of yum cha dishes on offer. Everything was of a good standard.
Desserts: Egg Tart and Tau Fu Fah
Overall, this was a pleasant yum cha experience.

Golden Dragon Palace on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Plume Chinese Restaurant

Location: 546 Doncaster Rd, Doncaster
Phone: (03) 9840 1122
Link: www.plume.com.au
Cuisine: Chinese
Overall Impression: 5/10

My mum loves yumcha. She loves being able to have a variety of little dishes to snack on over some Chinese tea. So she was thrilled that my sister decided to take us all out for a lazy Sunday brunch at Plume. Dinner at Plume is a much more formal affair. I have attended a Chinese wedding banquet at Plume and remember being very impressed at the quality of the dishes they had on offer, but I digress.
The yumcha experience (as is the case with most yumcha experiences) was fairly informal. The restaurant was bustling and packed with patrons. I found the dishes above average. The egg tart was especially good. But Plume does charge a premium for their service. The bill for the three of us came up to about $150. So, I'm not sure if the particularly good egg tart was worth it.
All in all, good but all things considered, pricey for what it offers.
Plume Chinese on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Dragon Boat

Location: Chinatown, Melbourne
Link: http://www.dragonboat.com.au/
Cuisine: Chinese

I've never really been a Yum Cha fan. And no, Dragon Boat hasn't changed my mind.
But everybody else in my family loves it so we decided to check out the newly refurbished Dragon Boat in Chinatown.
The service was quick. Given it was very busy, the waiters did very well.
Overall Impression: 5.5/10
Great variety and good service. Highly recommended if you want to get your 'Yum Cha' on.
Dragon Boat on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Dragon Boat Palace

Location: 149 Lonsdale St, Melbourne
Link: www.dragonboat.com.au
Cuisine: Chinese

For someone who doesn't enjoy Yum Cha, I sure do end up having it quite a lot. And this time, it was of the all-you-can-eat variety...

We went all out and ate til we had to unbuckle our belts!

Overall Impression: 5.3/10
I do apologize for the decimal place... but I liked Chinatown's Dragon Boat just a tad better. It just had a nicer ambience, I think. And the all-you-can-eat style yum cha at Dragon Boat Palace meant, everyone was engulfing everything pretty quickly so the waiters were under a lot more pressure. So, you end up being surrounded by really stressed people. And then you start feeling really stressed... So, maybe thats why I didn't think the ambience was as good.
Dragon Boat Palace on Urbanspoon