930 Whitehorse Rd
Box Hill VIC 3128
+61 3 9898 8787
For my final entry for 2011, I’ve decided to keep things cheap, nasty and simple: another review of yet another dumpling restaurant. Who would have thought?! This time, I’ll be writing about Original Taste of Northern China Cuisine in Box Hill (whew, what a name!).
On the Eve of Christmas Eve, my local Westfield Shoppingtown was trading until midnight to cater for those who decided to leave their Christmas shopping until the last minute. I’m certainly not one to start buying gifts two days before Christmas (why would I, when the last few years I’ve been giving my family members cash for Christmas?) so I had no need to take advantage of Westfield’s very generous extended trading hours. I did, however, want to walk around and take in the buzz and festive atmosphere of shoppers scrambling around for the perfect gift or two so I ended up making the trek to Shoppingtown. Knowing that such a trip would require lots of energy, however, I decided to make an early dinner stop at Box Hill for some dumplings.
According to the current edition of Cheap Eats, Original Taste opens at 5:00pm every evening so I timed my trip from the city to ensure that I arrived at around 5:15. When I got there, however, their door was shut, their floors were still being mopped and the chefs had not arrived. I asked a young man there (the son of the owner, apparently) if I should come later, he said that I was fine to come inside but that I can ONLY order dumplings as the mains could only be made by the ‘chefs’ who weren’t due to start until much later. This was somewhat misleading because it was like, why bother opening at 5pm if only a fraction of the menu was available?
Thankfully, however, I was only here for dumplings. I chose a plate of pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings which attracted a price of $7.80 for fifteen steamed ones, but for an extra $1 I went for fried ones. Given that it wasn’t busy (I was the only diner there – what a loner!) and given that dumplings shouldn’t take long to fry, I wondered why it took them 30 mins for my dumplings to reach the table. And to my disappointment, they were steamed and not fried. I told the waitress that I had asked for them fried and even told her that I had POINTED to the word ‘fried’ on the menu but she stubbornly retorted with, “No, you said steamed” and “You pointed to the word ‘steamed.” This annoyed me more than that Hussey dismissal at the Boxing Day test earlier this week for I am very much a fried dumplings person and never order them steamed if I’m dining on my own. Secondly, I pointed to the word ‘fried.’ I made sure of that. Hell, it’s not like I have fat fingers either so there’s no way my pointer finger would have accidentally landed on the word ‘steamed.’
Eventually, the waitress submitted and quickly said that she’ll get the kitchen to fry the dumplings. She apologised and said that it would take another 10 minutes, which was fine with me. See? That wasn’t so hard, wasn’t it? My fried dumplings eventually arrived and I attacked them with ferocity. Unfortunately, they didn’t have chilli oil at the restaurant so I had to make do with vinegar. The dumplings weren’t the best I’ve ever had – and they were certainly NOT worth the 40 minutes I had to wait for them. Sure, the filling was lovely – a beautiful mixture of pork mince, coriander, ginger and Chinese cabbage with a hint of sweetness. The skins, however, were a fail. They were too thick, too soggy and too gluggy with no crisp factor whatsoever.
I wanted to like this place but if I were to judge it on one dish alone (unfair, I guess, but such is the way things are), then I can’t say that I’ll be going back again. As a consolation though, the stash of sweet treats that I bought from Happy Lab at Shoppingtown later that evening did make up for such a stodgy dining experience. Squee! On that note, I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year. See you in 2012