71 Glenferrie Rd
Malvern VIC 3143
+61 3 9509 9718
Don’t you just hate it when you go to an eatery with the intention to write about it (of course) later on… only to flip through your hard drive two months later to find random photos taken at said eatery that have not yet been culled (from fifty to six shots), resized, cropped and stamped before being placed on your blog? It happens to the best of us, and it has been happening to me a lot. The restaurant that I’m about to review certainly fits the bill. Adam and I had a late dinner here two months ago, on a cold, windy day in August. Yes, August. And here I am, two months later, writing this up. Go figure.
Gourmet Dumpling Restaurant in Malvern. Yet another food blogger writing about yet another dumpling restaurant. But shut up, they’re awesome, okay? (I’m referring to dumplings, not food bloggers – ha!). Spending an entire day attending classes and doing countless readings, we worked up a massive appetite and decided to reward ourselves with dumplings. After selecting four dishes from the menu and pouring ourselves some jasmine tea, our dishes arrived one after the other. Like Bette Davis famously said in All About Eve, “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!”
Fifteen pieces of fried pork dumplings ($8.50) arrived, each little crispy pocket bursting at the steams. The had hints of that lovely floury texture that the dumplings at Camy’s are famous for (when they’re good, that is) which I love. The pork filling was immensely juicy and slightly on the sweet side too. Bits of visible ginger strands and spring onions also gave the dumplings a pleasantly clean taste. Not long after, our fried vegetarian dumplings arrived. At $9 for eighteen pieces, they represented good value and were almost as big as the relatively inflated pork dumplings. They didn’t taste bad either. If you think that they look similar to the ones served at JG Dumplings, you may be right. Sources say that they’re owned by the same people.
Chilli oil flecked with bits of shrimp FTW.
Our xiaolongbaos arrived next, presented in a bamboo steamer with a limp bit of lettuce ($8.50 for eight pieces). As you can see here, their skins were as gluggy as Clag paste and as thick as Homer Simpson. To my surprise, I discovered that each dumpling was extremely tasty – the pork filling was beautifully sweet and the broth singing to the key of Springfield. Obviously they weren’t as beautiful as Hu Tong’s ones nor could they be considered ‘authentic’ by any means, but they were tasty enough for me to want to order them again.
Those dumplings were more than enough for the two of us but did we stop? No, we got so greedy that we ended up splitting a bowl of dan dan noodles too ($8.50). We were warned that these were incredibly spicy. ‘Spicy?’ Adam pffted, ‘Yeah, no worries!’ We shouldn’t have been cocky, they really WERE that spicy that it got to the point where we were ordering bottles of soy bean milk and wiping beads of sweat off our foreheads.
But man, they were good. Okay, so they weren’t authentic (actually, I don’t think any of the dishes are 100% authentic. Rather, they seemed to be catering to Western tastes). It wasn’t soupy at all, and they seemed to have substituted the sesame paste which gives this dish a lovely nuttiness to it by adding lashings of sesame oil in it. And call me sacrilegious or whatever, but I actually preferred this ‘gweilo-ised’ version than the original despite its spiciness. Yeah, yeah, what kind of a foodie am I? Also, would I be sacrilegious in saying that the above dish just screams out ‘Chinese spag bol?’ :p
There is nothing ‘gourmet’ about this Gourmet Dumplings, nor can it be considered authentic. But whatever, the folks of Malvern are blessed to not only have a restaurant that actually offers affordable food but one that has food that actually tastes good. Real good.