I celebrated Chinese New Year the only way I know how to… by stuffing myself silly with lots of goodies (duh). My parents don’t usually celebrate CNY, saying that there is no point when we have no family living in Melbourne (though I suspect they just want an excuse not to hand out lucky money . Still, they usually would take us out to dinner to a local restaurant or something like that. Unfortunately, they decided that they would treat this weekend like they would any other weekend. That was okay with me though as I knew that Adam’s parents would be organising something.
They wanted Mainlander-style hot pot so I suggested Little Lamb on Russell Street as it’s very popular with Melbourne’s Chinese population. Adam’s mum’s brother, Phillip, also happened to be in town for the weekend so we invited him and his partner, Sue, to come eat with us too. I’m not a huge fan of hot pot (and after that shocker that was dinner at Golden House, who WOULD be?!) but they insisted on it so all Adam and I could do was tag along.
So basically, this place charges you $23 p/h and you can pick and choose as many items on the list provided on your table which encompasses a variety of raw seafood ingredients, vegetables, sliced raw meats and noodles. A small selection of hot and cold entree dishes are also included in the price, but there are extras such as dumplings and roast meats which attract an extra charge.
After ordering what we thought was enough food for the six of us, the food came almost immediately which is to be expected because most of the food does not require cooking (they are either fresh or thawed). As you can see in the photo, we decided to go half-half with the soup: a hot soup as well as a “normal” broth for us wimpy ones.
The tables were kinda squishy so any extra food had to be placed on the carts beside each table…
I loved how each lamb slice was rolled up into little cylinders. Too cute!
We ordered two servings of spring onion pancakes but they never came. We had to make another order and this time they came, but they still took forever. They were alright, nothing special though.
Given that we ordered quite a bit, I was worried that we weren’t able to finish it so I was surprised when I saw that all our plates were empty as the broth level was on par with Melbourne’s dam capacity. I would have been happy to call it quits but the rest of the table were keen to keep the party going so they ordered a waiter to fill the hot pot stove up again and order more dishes. Just as the waiter left our table, though, something funny happened.
THE POWER WENT OUT.
Yep, the LCD TV screen at the back of the restaurant switched off, the room was filled with complete darkness and the hot pot stoves turned off. Immediately, a team of waiters ran to the front of the restaurant where the power box was. I figured that they were going to attempt to get the power back on so I wasn’t too concerned. Initially, everyone seemed okay about the whole thing. After 20 minutes, however, people started to get antsy and the guys who were at the front just looked like they were standing around, doing nothing. It turns out that they WEREN’T trying to fix the power, but rather trying to prevent diners from doing a runner which I thought was pretty piss-poor *sigh* It didn’t look like they would have the power back on any time soon so we chose this moment to call it a night. Most of our party were not 100% full, they were satisfied so we left in good spirits. Not so for a bunch of fobs who had only JUST tucked into their meals before the power went out. They stormed out scowling, which was fair enough – I probably would have done the same.
Oh, what did I think of Little Lamb? Well, the service wasn’t the best as our hot dishes took forever to come out and some of the stuff we ordered did not even show up at all, plus their handling of the power failure could have been more efficient. Secondly, given my predisposition to hot pot, I can’t say that I would be in a hurry to go back there again (and certainly not if black outs like this are a regular occurrence). I guess the smell of those strong herbs would always get to me. Having said that, Little Lamb is a LOT better than the other hot pot restaurant I’ve tried in that the restaurant is cleaner and the soup tastes a little bit better than most (if you ignore the fact that it’s a tad too oily). Heck, I was afraid that Sue would find the whole dinner a bit too strange for her but she said it was delicious and gave it “a 20 out of 10.”
I was ready to go straight home and catch up on The Good Wife episodes after all that. I walked into my house at the very early time of 9:30 just as my parents and my sister were ready to go out. They were on their way to the Box Hill Chinese New Year festival so I thought, ‘Oh, why not?’ even though I was not planning to go in the first place. We weren’t there for a long time. We just wandered around for a while, looked at all the food stalls (most of which were selling either skewers of meat or non-Asian foods such as churros and burgers), bummed into a bunch of mum’s annoying friends, saw Kelly on stage for like, a fraction of a second and laughed at some fob singing “Eye Of The Tiger” on one of the smaller stages (hahaha oh man…) before going home. There were just too many people and not enough exciting things to see. Can you blame me for not showing much interest in these sorts of things? Yeah, I suck at being Chinese.
After church, Adam and i met up with his parents and his grandmother for yum cha at Master restaurant in Footscray. It wasn’t the best yum cha ever (I mean, this is Footscray) but it cannot compete with Dai Duong in terms of smell, skankiness and bogan patronage so I was adequately mellow.
The usual suspects. Foreground: plump shark fin dumplings.
A pretty soggy yet tasty zhaliang.
Oh and on that note, I should wish everyone a HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY. You’d think that Adam and I would have a lovely day planned but nope, that wasn’t the case. None of us are particularly into this day and no way would we be swayed by restaurants luring suckers by offering their “special Valentine’s Day menu” which is pretty much the same sort of stuff they dish out all year around – but double the price. We actually did think about just having Indian food for dinner or something (we did casual Thai last year just for the sake of wanting to eat out) but at the end of the day, both of us were pooped and would rather spend the rest of Sunday the 14th watching the football and scouting players to recruit for my Supercoach team. Yeah, I fail at being Chinese AND being a romantic girlfriend . Ha.