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.
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.