My husband and I had wonderful memories of the excellent yum cha (dim sum) eaten in Melbourne when we lived there for a while. So after we checked into our hotel near Chinatown, we headed to Dragon Boat, based on the recommendation of a woman at reception. Alas, we failed to have the expected dining experience.
The clean, well-maintained restaurant itself was bright and cheery with typical Chinese decor. A huge street-side window brought much natural illumination into the dining room. The pleasant hostess seated us immediately in the half-full room. It was 2 p.m. and yum cha tends to attract diners from mid-morning to noon. Most of the customers appeared to be eating standard meals.
We ordered tea and the server set the tone for our lunch here. She immediately filled our cups from the teapot before the tea had time to steep. I sat there looking at my cup of hot water and poured it back in the pot. My husband followed suit and we waited for the tea to brew.
Trolleys came quickly because the place was uncrowded; but the first two were
crammed with fried offerings, and we avoid fried food. The servers seemed bored and failed to smile. Finally, steamed shrimp dumplings (our favorite) arrived and we ordered a basket. We quickly discovered that they had not been separated from each other and were in one big clump. The shrimp were rubbery and tasteless. Some of the other dumplings we ordered also lacked flavor. The only choice we made that we considered to be excellent was a pork and shrimp mixture, and the barbecued pork bun was above average.
We ordered a total of seven items and the bill came to $53 (AUS), a bit pricey for this kind of fare.
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