25 May 2010

Bamboo Dumpling Bar, Surry Hills (25 May 2010)

140 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010

Another Dumpling House

Ever since hearing about this newly opened dumpling place in Surry Hills I've been tempted to try it — because I love eating dumplings and the decor looked so cool. Residing in the Royal Albert Hotel this is the second restaurant to open after Potts Point and Balmain sounds like it will be their third with possibly Bondi after that. It's hard not to compare the Asian food offerings of this restaurant to all others tried before. I found the Pork and prawn shu mei ($8.50/5 pieces) were your pretty standard yum cha style and I still rate the Scallop and Prawn Siu Mai from Palace Chinese as my favourite variation. The Peking duck pancakes with hoi sin sauce ($12/3 pieces) are served in soft warm pancakes with a tasty duck meat filling but my fond memories of the larger and meatier BBQ King version in Haymarket complete with shallot and fresh chilli still reside supreme for me (they were 2 for $12 last time I visited).

Today's chef special of Chicken and prawn laksa ($10) is a nice blend of flavours using udon noodles instead of the traditional thin rice vermicelli noodles. It's a lot more milky coconut in flavour than the fuller tasting broth of Malay Chinese but I still enjoy it. Decent amounts of coriander on top give it a nice freshness with some kaffir lime as well I think in the broth. I've lost count on how many different styles of salt and pepper squid I've come across and their Salt and pepper squid with thai chilli ($15.50) is an enjoyable one. It has a tasty coating of spices without being overly indulgent in heat combined with a very tender squid inside. The coating reminds me of the version I've had at Arthouse Hotel but this one has a crispier coating more to my liking. Other variations I've enjoyed are at Golden Swallow, Pho 236 and Palace Chinese Restaurant. The thai chilli seems to be a bottled sweet and sour sauce with fresh pieces of coriander in it. Pork and chive dumplings ($8.50/5 pieces) are apparently one of their most popular choices along with the Prawn Har Gow. Simple and classic they provide decent flavour from the filling although you'll get more dumpling for your dollar at Sea Bay Dumplings but perhaps not as refined in presentation and ingredients.

When I visited today there were about 10 people dining during lunch time and service was especially fast with orders coming out in less than 5 minutes for most things. Apparently Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest when it gets packed so choose your timing well.

Other reviews:
Cherry Picked - 11 May 2010
He Needs Food - 8 May 2010

PROS: Fast and friendly service, Interesting decor, Lots of tempting choices on the menu
CONS: Can get expensive after ordering a few things, Smallish seating and tables, Can get very busy Fri and Sat nights, No free Chinese tea
MUST TRY: Salt & Pepper Squid
WORTH A TRY: Chicken & Prawn Laksa

Peking duck pancakes with hoi sin sauce $12 (3 pieces)

Pork and prawn shu mei $8.50 (5 pieces)

Tuesday Chef's special: Chicken and prawn laksa $10

Salt and pepper squid with thai chilli $15.50

Pork and chive dumplings $8.50 (5 pieces)


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Bamboo Dumpling Bar on Urbanspoon


Zina @ tastedbytwo said...

It was bound to happen! A pseudo dumpling bar popping up in the eastern suburbs. I'm a little cynical but some of the dishes do look tasty.

PIE-314 said...

That decor is beautiful! Especially the "everyone has nice dumplings" sign.
Modern Mao, hahaha, with the heart sign.

Jim said...

I love dumplings. I just have to try this place. Thanks for the tips.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

john@heneedsfood said...

Good to see you made it here. I loved the salt & pepper squid & duck pancakes

sugarpuffi said...

is it me or things just get smaller in portion and larger in price. $8.50 for 5 dumplings?! It better be the best damn dumplings around XD

Betty @ The Hungry Girl said...

I have to agree with you, their salt & pepper squid were delicious!

Simon Leong said...

hi zina, i know what you mean. i'm always cynical. it's more expensive than your cheap and cheerful dumpling place but it's also a lot nicer in decor and cleaner. so i guess you can justify the higher prices perhaps.

hi PIE-3.14, the decor certainly makes it a cheerful place to be in.

hi J Bar, there's just something about dumplings that's very comforting. and the cheaper and tastier the dumplings the better. quite a bit of competition around so will be interesting to see how they go.

hi john, i even saw that puffer fish in the cage but couldn't get close enough with my camera to take a nice photo. you'll have to try the BBQ King duck pancakes and let me know what you think to compare.

hi sugarpuffi, for this place you are right. you can get more for your dollar at sea bay, northern chinese dumpling house and shanghai nights etc but I think for bamboo you're paying for the decor as well. the dumplings were OK but it's hard to compete with other places which are really cheap and fill you up. seems to be a nice place for a small snack and a drink but you'll pay a lot more if you want to fill up on dumplings.

hi betty, i'd have their salt and pepper squid again for sure. looks like they cook it at the right temperature to achieve and good crispyness and plenty of flavour in the coating.

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