1 McIlwrick Street, Windsor (map)
The advent of the silly season means that, blog-wise, I'm a little (um, actually a lot) behind, but I wanted to write about the yum cha we had the day after the election. Because planning the yum cha was left to the last minute it wasn't really a proper Yum Cha Posse, but the three of us that went had a fine time.
Feeling rather tender after the excitement of election night (I had been to three election parties; at the last one, F and friends had made beautifully decorated pinatas representing 16 of the most marginal seats, and each time one was declared, we'd bash the appropriate pinata to the strains of the "Keating! the Musical" soundtrack), I rocked up with R and H at Red Door.
Red Door is both a Chinese antiques/furniture store and a yum cha cafe, located just off Chapel St near Windsor station. Although the Orient Express in Victoria St Richmond was first in combining Chinese antiques/furniture store with cafe, Red Door is the first I've heard of in Melbourne to serve yum cha. It makes for a fun experience eating yum cha surrounded by carved beds and cabinets (if it had just been two of us, we totally would have sat in the little alcove in the top photo), but there are no yum cha trolleys.
As Elliot from the blog 1001 Dinners 1001 Nights wrote in his recent review of Oriental Tea House (another Chapel St yum cha restaurant eschewing trolleys during the week), having to order yum cha from a menu does not permit the instant gratification of seeing what you are getting and having it immediately, but it does ensure that whatever you do have has been cooked only a moment ago especially for you.
Personally, I'm a sucker for the trolley dollys and miss that spontaneity - plus at Red Door each dish took a noticeable interval before arriving, so we had to PLAN our meal a little more than I would have liked. That said, however, the food itself was delicious and I'm happy to forgo the trolley experience occasionally for something a bit different!
We started with Northern Chive dumplings, which came in a separate dish with their own special soy sauce. They were different to the chive dumplings I've tried at other yum cha establishments - slightly spicy.
Next was tofu skin rolls with prawns, very juicy and fresh, followed by meaty Shanghai dumplings.
Pork and peanut dumplings, with shards of peanut clearly visible through the translucent dumpling casings, only just managed to stay intact as we picked them up with our chopsticks, but were delicious. Also very good were the prawn and crab dumplings. We got seconds of these... :)
To finish off, there were three varieties of warmed sweet buns to choose from: custard, lotus and red bean. I went with custard, which turned out to be an excellent choice. If you feel like a yum cha that's a little out of the ordinary, head on down to Red Door!