Adam was really keen on seeing the Wolverine movie this weekend. Despite me asking him to “go with someone else” (I don’t do action movies), he managed to convince me to go (he only had to say “Hugh Jackman”). Besides, he has a whole bunch of free Village cinema tickets from Jen and the owner of his shop so I thought, as long as I didn’t fork out money to see a movie that I wasn’t really into then that’s fine with me! So after church this morning, we made our way to Doncaster Shoppo for an early before the movie started. We were originally going to settle for foodcourt food but on our way into the shopping centre (from the rooftop carpark), we saw that the Kam Fook yum cha restaurant that had been “under development” for as long as I could remember was, in fact, opened. Now, when I heard the news that the Kam Fook group, famous for their award-winning yum cha restaurants in Sydney, were opening up in Doncaster I was extremely stoked. Not that Doncaster/Templestowe is suffering from a lack of yum cha restaurants or anything but I liked the fact that the group chose to open up their Melbourne restaurant in here rather than in the city.
Adam was initially reluctant to have yum cha – I mean, we had it last Sunday and about 10 billion times in the last two months – but after glancing down at the foodcourt (which was directly below us) and seeing soggy potato cakes and aracini balls laying limp in bain maries, we decided to give Kam Fook a try. The restaurant was really quiet when we walked in with only a handful of tables full but keep in mind that this was just before 11am (it then got busy just after we left). We were shown to a table by the window that overlooked Doncaster Road. Not exactly like the awesome views you get when you’re having yum cha in Hong Kong but I’ll live with it.
The restaurant itself was an impressive piece of work. It’s a sunny, open atrium that opens out towards the rest of the top floor which houses Village cinemas, the top half of Borders and a handful of other restaurants and cafes. There are dozens of ornate pretty lights dangling from above the ceiling and the chairs are wooden, a nice change from the tacky steel/polyester cushioned ones at other suburban yum cha restaurants. They also went all pretty with the teapots and the soy sauce pot too. We were impressed.
We started off with the obligatory dumplings, a basket of har gow, some prawn and chive dumplings and some funny dumpling with corn, pork and bamboo shoots.
More dumplings! This time, a basket of shark fin dumplings (with real shreds of shark fin in them too!) and another basket of har gow (yep, I love my har gows).
I need to add here that I was more than impressed with how good the har gows were here. For one thing, they came in fours rather than threes which meant that we didn’t have to fight over the last one (though I understand that in this case, fighting would have been redundant as we did order two baskets after all ). Secondly, they were HUGE. Really huge. They were literally double the size of the piss-weak Malteser-sized har gows that we’ve been having at Shark Fin House. Finally, they actually contained a decent amount of prawns in it and all the ratios of everything else right, pork fat, bamboo shoots and all the other spices and sauces that make such a good har gow.
Our made-to-order zhaliang (fried Chinese donuts wrapped in rice noodle rolls, before being soaked with soy sauce). This was the first time I’ve seen the donuts come to us crispy rather than soft. Delish.
We only ordered a total of six dishes (five dumplings and a zhaliang) before we declared ourselves full. Now this was a shock to us because we would usually order a bunch of fried stuff as well some egg tarts or maybe a pudding for dessert. Did we have a big breakfast? Well, not really. A pie each from the bakery at 8:30am, that was it. So I’m sitting there confused while the waiter prepares our bill. And when we received it, we scratched our head even more. The total came to $43.40 for only six dishes, including the $3.20 charged for two teas. After checking the itemised bill, we found that the cheaper dumplings were $6.20 each while the more expensive ones (the zhaliang was also placed in this category) were $7.20. Pretty expensive for yum cha, and we didn’t even have dessert or fried thingimibobs.
Another thing I want to say about this place is the service. My goodness, it’s in the shitznicks. I knew something was fishy when I saw that the trolleys were coming around ever so slowly before they started to “not come at all.” It was later on did we realise that most of the waiters were just walking past with trays of fried food and trolleys full of dumplings, but they weren’t actually going around to EACH table to ASK WHETHER WE WOULD LIKE THEM. I even saw a table try to get the attention of one waiter carrying a tray of fried taro balls but the waiter continued on his merry way without stopping at that table. Adam said something about “the boss hiring mainlanders as waiters and waitresses” which, I realise, is a growing trend in many yum cha restaurants around Melbourne. Jury’s out on whether yum cha should only be left to the Cantonese or whether it really doesn’t matter that your waiter can only speak Mandarin…
In short, very good yum cha but the high price tag and the bad service would make me less inclined to return again unless I’m going to Shoppo for a movie and I am dying for yum cha (and can’t be bothered with Tai Pan).
Oh, and what did I think of X-Men Origins: Wolverine?
Well, I’m biased towards any movies with guns and things that blow up, so I wasn’t really in the right mindframe to see it in the first place. So I’m sitting there watching the previews, being Ms Sulky McSulk and muttering stuff like “this better be semi-decent” when the trailer for Angels and Demons popped up before the movie which made made me get excited as I really did enjoy the book for what it was worth. Suddenly all was a-okay (guess which movie I’m forcing Adam to see next?). While I thought the movie was watchable, there were some things that made me roll my eyes such as the unconvincing romance between Logan and that chick and cliched dialogue. And why the heck did they have to take a helicopter to the island when there was an effing bridge that connects it from the mainland, as we found out later on?! In saying all that, I didn’t fall asleep thanks to Liev Schreiber who kept the storyline going and the fact that I kept picturing Hugh Jackman to break out in song and dance halfway through the movie, thus keeping me semi-amused during the lull periods. I was even half-expecting that Gambit character to confess that he is The Crow because c’mon, don’t tell me he doesn’t look like Brandon Lee . I suppose if you like the X-Men series, you would enjoy it. It was a movie that I thought was okay only because we didn’t pay for it but if I had to shell out $18 of my own money, then I would probably have grumbled about it!