After this morning’s Easter Sunday church service, I had yum cha at Imperial Kingdom with le boyfriend and la famiglia. Now even though Imperial Kingdom isn’t the best yum cha restaurant in Melbourne, it is usually where we go for yum cha after church because it’s the closest yum cha joint to the church and as soon as the service is finished, we are usually famished and can’t be bothered going all the way to say, Doncaster for yum cha. Sure, Gold Leaf on Burwood Hwy is the closest yum cha joint to my church but everyone reckons that place is crap so we don’t even bother with it.
Anyway, I had booked a table at 1:15pm under the name TAN (because 1) it’s my mother’s Chinese maiden name and 2) fobs always get my name wrong when I book it either under my first name or surname). Adam and I rock up 10 minutes earlier to find a massive line outside the door. So like civilised human beings we queued up and finally got to the end of the line. Before all these rude bitches started cutting in and yelling at the reservations chicks, “TABLE FOR FIVE.” FFS, you are not in Hong Kong anymore, if you want something, you QUEUE. And serves you right for being told that there are no more tables as the place is FULLY BOOKED, arschelarches.
So we get to our table and had to wait 15 minutes for our tea to arrive. Actually, we had to yell to a waiter to fill up our tea which was ridiculous – the first thing you’re supposed to ask the diners is what tea they would like. Had we not said anything to the waiter, I don’t think we would have gotten our tea. Anyway, our chicken pies, taro balls and sui mai’s started coming so we thought that we’d finally get the show on the road. Except that things didn’t exactly get any better. Adam ordered a zha liang (Chinese fried donut wrapped in rice noodle rolls) and it took forever to come out. Finally, we saw a waiter bring out a plate of zha liang. But instead of bringing it to us, he just left it on the counter and that’s where it sat for about 15 minutes. Adam, who is usually so calm and reserved, suddenly lashed out on the waiter and asked him why the heck that dish was sitting there for so long. That got the poor waiter to quickly scurry back with the plate and fix up some sauces, which was kinda amusing to say the least but seriously, that should never had happened at all!
And then there was the matter of the har gows and chicken feet. Now, I love my har gows. They are the benchmark in which I judge yum cha restaurants. If they don’t do it right, then I won’t be happy – even if the rest of the dishes are decent. If they do it right, then I will rave on and on about the restaurant for ages to come. So you can imagine how I was feeling when they still had not brought out the har gows when they starting bringing out the dessert trolleys. To annoy us even further, the same waitresses kept going back and forths bringing out trolleys with fried prawn toasts about seven times. I mean, what’s the point? If we tell them that we don’t want any prawn toasts, what makes them think that we’d say yes to the prawn toasts the seventh time they came around?
We were about to leave but they managed to bring them out at the very last minute which wasn’t really good enough. Mum reckoned that they had run out of prawns in the earlier sitting but to me, that does not give them an excuse to slack around. Given that the place has been in business for a number of years, you’d think that the head chef would be quite competent at forecasting and buying ingredients accordingly. Given that the har gow is probably the most popular yum cha dish, you’d think that they’d buy enough prawns and then some to ensure that they would not be left short. Ugh.
Because that lunch gave me such a headache, I’m going to tell mum to have yum cha at Tai Pan in Doncaster East next time. Even though it gets really packed and cluttered during Sunday lunches, at least they’re reliable with their service and they certainly don’t leave dishes sitting in the counter for 15 minutes! The main reason why we don’t bother with Tai Pan after church is because it’ll take us a good 20-30 minutes to drive back to Doncaster. And add on another 30 minutes on top of that to account for ample talking/gossiping with the Indonesian community time at church too. So by the time we arrive at Tai Pan, our table would’ve already gone to some family waiting in the queue. At least Tai Pan, however, does not disappoint on the har gow .