Saturday, December 17, 2011

Oriental Teahouse - Melbourne

378 Little Collins St,
VIC 3000

Oriental Teahouse has an easily spotable sign hanging outside, but you could mistake it for a tea retailer when looking in from the street.

Inside behind the selection of teas and paraphernalia are plenty of tables. It was reasonably busy when we arrived on a warm Friday. The blue stone walls remain, the rest of the design features combine modern and oriental themes.

We tried a wide range of dishes between 4 of us, from the menu which included an array of interesting dumplings  and other Chinese dishes. The Peking Duck rolls were a little light on the duck and sauce.

The seafood san choi bow nicely combined the chopped veggies and seafood.

The salt and spicy soy bean tofu were certainly salty on the outside, with a crunchy casing and soft tofu inside, they were like a savoury profiterole!

The sizzling pork dumplings, enclosed minced pork and chives in a crispy casing and were reminiscent of gyoza.

The specials on offer included a steamed snow fish dumpling contained tender pieces of the fish apparently also known (according to the 'net) as sablefish or black cod, wrapped in a skin infused with coriander and topped with fish roe. These looked and tasted great.

The mushroom rolls contained finely sliced shimeji and oyster mushrooms and mint fried in a flower based skin and provided a good contrast to the dumplings.

The baby pea leaf dumplings also contained prawn which worked beautifully together.

The vegetable dumplings were spherical, had an overly thick skin, and didn't live up to the high bar of Shanghai Village Dumpling.

The king prawn dumplings looked spectacular with the open topped minced filling topped with the king prawn, the main flavour really came through, no mixing with pork here!

The service was friendly and efficient, it was even suggested we could get four of serves of 4 dumplings rather than the usual 3 with each dish, fantastic for sharing with our group. It is certainly a more relaxed dining experience than the somewhat frenetic service at the budget end of the market, and more suited to catching up or celebrating with friends rather than a quick bite. There was also a greater range of flavours and options to pick from. The price also reflects this, the food bill for 4 of us came to around $110. I'd go back for more if the occasion arose.

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