06 January 2010

Emperor's Table: Yum Cha with a view, North Ryde RSL (3 Jan 2010)

33 Magdala Road, North Ryde NSW 2113

Good service for a yum cha spot

A door sign upon entering the Emperor's Table informs me that 'Yum Cha' in Cantonese literally means 'Drinking Tea' but usually for my family it means picking lots of food from the trolleys and quickly eating it, then drinking some tea to wash it all down. As I walk through the large dining area I get a sense that the service staff are much nicer and friendlier here than your usual yum cha service — OMG Chinese yum cha waiters can be helpful and nice and not surly and rude although there was about a 10 minute wait until we received our first pot of tea for some strange reason. One of the nicest things about this yum cha besides the decent service is the sweeping window view over the surrounding trees and parklands towards Chatswood although it's very dependent on where you get to sit as some spots have no view at all if you're seated down on the lower area.

I'm impressed the chilli sauce and soy sauce is promptly provided at the table without asking — I've lost count how many times I've had to flag down a surly waiter to ask for some while dining at other places. The yum cha range is pretty good and the Prawn Toasts are a standout for me, super crispy and pretty tasty — yet so bad for you. I also like the balance of cream and mango in the Mango Pancakes. After ordering the Chinese vegetables they came out very quickly — makes me wonder if they've been precooked as it usually takes about 10-15 minutes when I order them at Palace Chinese Restaurant. The Tofu Fa is only provided cold which disappoints my dad as he prefers it freshly sliced from a warm wooden serving bucket.

Another highlight is the large aviary at the club entrance where a fantastic variety of birds can be seen up close. It's funny to spot a large Torresian Pigeon spreading it's wing to receive water splashes from the waterfall and nearly falls while becoming unbalanced. The Blue and Gold Macaws are very impressive and the Bleeding-Heart Pidgeons made me mischievously ponder if they'd somehow escaped the kitchen chop block of becoming a yum cha item earlier in the day hehe :-)

PROS: View, Aviary, Service, Parking
CONS: Not getting a seat near window
MUST TRY: Prawn toasts, Mango pancake

Chilli and soy sauce

Steamed vegetable dumplings

Steamed seafood dumplings

Steamed scallop dumplings

Steamed BBQ Pork buns

Spring rolls

Sesame Prawn Rolls

Chinese vegetables in oyster sauce

Steamed dim sims with pork and prawn filling

Chicken Feet with Black Bean Sauce

Prawn toasts

Tofu fa

Mango pancake


Chinese tea $1.80 per person

Menu card


Blue and Gold Macaw

Bleeding-Heart Pigeon


Torresian Pigeon

Windows to the avery

Remember it's club rules to enter

View from window

Dining area


aptronym said...

An aviary is unusual!

I think that the Gai Lan are maybe cooked constantly, which is why it came out that quickly?

joey@FoodiePop said...

A bit too far out for me but everything looks quite good. The mango pancakes aren't that bright yellow either, which is good. Although yum cha with a view is tempting, I'd probably stick with Phoenix Manly for that. :)uncedled

Simon Food Favourites said...

hi aptronym, very unusual but very cool. i felt like i was visiting a zoo display. you might be right about the gai lan. the fastest i've ever received.

hi joey, nowhere should be too far for a real foodie hehe :-) i've yet to try phoenix manly but i imagine that would have a really nice view. i don't think my parents had a good experience there though and preferred the haymarket yum cha places. i've also had bad service at the sky phoenix one in the city a couple of times — long waits for food to come around and trying to flag down a waiter for tea refill and chilli was painful. perhaps they'll be better when the new Westfields opens.

angielivestoeat said...

This is apparantly a popular place for our work to come for team lunches. I came here about a month ago for a team lunch (plan A was lawn bowls but we got rained out). I am quiet suprised that the food is actually very decent, coming on a weekday/Monday it was quiet so we didn't have to wait at all for our food. The only con is that because it's an RSL club they6 have very strict rules regarding entry for guests.

Simon Food Favourites said...

hi angielivestoeat, it's quite surprising an RSL can do a pretty good yum cha although i've heard of others as well being fairly good.

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