Posts Tagged ‘China Red’
The answer to that question, dinner table conversation which could have only come from thatjessho, was of course: no.
We were at China Red, otherwise known (temporarily) as “that new dumpling place in town”. China Red is, I suspect, the first touch-screen ordering Asian restaurant in Melbourne, a trend that’s going to take-off in a big way with the whole iPad thing. Pearl even has those now I think, and it’s kinda cool to browse the menu by pushing on an LCD screen. It certainly cuts out the issue of getting someone to the table take your order, and that’s half the battle in Melbourne’s dumpling houses.
It’s not an iPad, it’s a more serious wall mounted version (harder to steal), but you can order anything you want from the menu whenever you want. You can even summon your waiter with little more than a thumb movement – much better than straining for eye contact across a busy restaurant.
There’s a little picture and description of each dish and they’re all sectioned out in a logical manner. Tea, dumplings, noodle and rice dishes, beer (most important if your day was anything like the one I just had). There’s even a “Melbourne Classic Menu,” aka: stuff white people like. But hey, if it works… it works, and all our requested items came out quick smart.
The stock-standard-green-Asian-vegetable-side-dish (often the only green thing on the table) has been given ample attention here with a range of vegetable and sauce combinations. We chose Stir-fried water spinach and sliced pepper in pickled bean-curd sauce, $15.80, although Jess said it wasn’t water spinach, it was something else. But I couldn’t tell because I’m so anglo. I think $15.80 is pretty hefty, but the dish was huge, and delicious, so no complaints there.
First dumpling round – Won ton in spicy sauce, 6p $8.80. Always a favourite, these were hot, spicy and slippery.
Pan fried dumplings 8p, $10.80, were also excellent, as were the Shao-Long-Bao 8p, $10.80.
This picture of Noodles with shrimp in soup, $12.80, is deceptive. It was really quite huge, definitely falling into the value for money category here. The noodles are hand-made on site and feature in many dishes, including, Stir-fried eel with noodles and soup (I’d love to know if the eel was fresh, $12.80) and Noodles with fungus AND mushroom in soup (must be extra mushroomy, at $11.80).
Like Jeroxie said in her very recent post about China Red, our waiters were also a little eager with the plate clearing. Perhaps they have too much time on their hands without needing to take any one’s order, perhaps they’re a touch overstaffed because they’re such a new venue. But don’t try to take away my last mouthful of beer. They were friendly though, which is more than I can say for some waiters at other dumpling places around town.
It’s pricey, so lean towards soups, noodles and dumplings if you’re after a cheap feed. We spent just over $80 between the three of us, and we only had one beer each. Someone was too full to finish theirs *ahem*. The touch screens make it a little easy to over-order so be careful or you will overspend. The food comes out fairly quickly and you can always order more.
I liked the whole experience, but I reckon anyone with a serious dumpling obsession wouldn’t make too many return visits. There are just too many other options around, and so few meals in a day. The biggest draw card is going to be the novelty factor of the touch screen, I loved that part, but a novelty is only a novelty until it’s…um…not anymore.
It is pretty slick, I’ll give it that, with quality crockery and fittings, lots of space and seats…but some times the new, cool kid in town is just like the all the other kids but in more expensive clothes. Time will tell.
Shop 6, 206 Bourke Street (Where the old Village Cinemas used to be)www.china-red.com.au