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
Steamed dim sims with pork and prawn filling
SIMON FAVOURITE :-)
Chinese tea $1.80 per person
Blue and Gold Macaw
Windows to the avery