because I can't cook
HuTong Dumpling Bar in Chinatown, Melbourne CBD.
|Address||14-16 Market Lane||
Lunch Mon-Sun 11.30am-3.00pm
Dinner Sun-Thurs 5.30pm-10.30pm
Fri & Sat 5.30pm-11.00pm
|Visited||11 June 2010|
HuTong Dumpling Bar were mostly packed; visited for the first time, my friend and I decided not to come in as there was a long queue in front of the restaurant, but managed to get some seats after having made a reservation 2 days in advance. Still, I would not say bookings are essential as that night there was no long queue and by 8.30pm there were some available tables.
Firstly, I was not impressed with the fact that despite the reservation, we were seated (literally) in the middle of the hallway where customers and staff walked back and forth in. I was pretty sure it was a breach of OH&S too as the manager himself tripped over one of my chair's legs, disturbing my peace. I know that they tried to fit as many customers as they could, but obviously the restaurant was only designed to fit (four) less people (upstairs). Plus it was not fair for us who had made a booking; those who had not made one but came half an hour later got much better seats than us. Another unimpressing factor was the way they cleaned the tables; staff vigorously and aggressively sprayed the table with really strong cleaning agent that made us cough, and it had to happen twice too as the customers next to us came after we did but left before us.
Considering their 'Dumpling Bar' title, we assumed that dumplings were their specialty and so we ordered 2 kinds of dumplings; the steamed pork dumplings and the steamed shrimp dumplings. They were good, but still in the same class of goodness with other good Chinese restaurants that has specialty in dumplings. My point is, they were nothing special that we did not fight to finish those dumplings when we were full. Better than the dumplings was the salt and pepper fried prawn. It was not fantastic nor memorable but I would not mind having it again for sure, taking into account prices were 'not offensive' (one of my friends' term for good prices ;)). Lastly, our dessert was supposedly pan-fried souffle with ice cream. With a fancy name like that, I could not resist not to order it. Sadly, despite its fantastic presentation, it turned out to be quite a disappointment; my friend and I thought the souffle was the banana fritter (they had banana fritter too on their dessert menu) and that they delivered the wrong order. But then the staff confirmed that it was definitely our souffle, which confused us and will confuse you too when you know that they defined souffle as 4 fried, flour-covered-banana balls, served with ice cream and chocolate sauce.
I would not not recommend you to dine at this restaurant (just mind and be picky on where you are seated). If you are not after something spectacular but rather some decent Chinese food at reasonable price with pretty swanky environment and atmosphere, HuTong Dumpling Bar is definitely worth visiting.