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. Located at Katherine Place in the ‘New York’ end of Flinders Lane, Mr Huang Jin seats 40 guests inside their new interior that has been modeled around the simplicity but strong heritage of the bamboo-steaming basket.
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, were equally impressive. These potstickers had beautifully silky skins and perfectly crispy bases. The lemon grass chicken dumplings were of particular note - bursting with a deliciously complex splash of lemon grass, they were an absolute delight.
We also had some beautiful roti rolls. Robust and fragrant chicken satay encased within freshly cooked roti bread, it was an addictive and comforting dish.
The prawn and pork 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 chilli was pleasantly appetising. Cooked with the perfect amount of heat, these wontons tantalised our taste buds.
Moving to the Taiwanese tapas served at dinner time, unusual but exciting combinations feature on the menu such as the twice cooked pork spare ribs that have been grilled and then served with house made chili oil and broad beans. 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.
The fresh, vividly white slices of butterfish were cooked to perfection. We enjoyed the meaty texture and the golden-brown charred bits of caramelised miso on the fish. It was a beautiful dish.
Our dining experience at Mr Huang Jin ended with classic Taiwanese red bean pancakes. A simple dessert that amalgamates the best aspects of a good fritter and gooey red bean, the pancakes were folded over luxurious red bean paste, deep fried and laced with homemade maple syrup. The pancake had a pleasant chewiness which contrasted nicely with its crispy exterior. It was a simple but truly superb dessert.
Having been an iconic Melbourne classic in their days at the Rialto Tower, Mr Huang Jin have moved but are better than ever at their new Archway location. 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 its excellent drinks menu and warm service, Mr Huang Jin is a compelling lunch and dinner time destination.
Location: The Archway
4-5 Katherine Place
517 Flinders Lane, Melbourne