I'd walked by the Oriental Tea House on Chapel Street the day before and there seemed to be a nice vibe going on so suggested we try the Little Collins Street one.
I have been here once before with Karly one weekday but it was early on and I my memory of how good it was, was a bit vague plus I don't think I'd done yum cha in Melbourne then so had nothing to compare it too.
My expectations were that it would be non Asian friendly and wouldn't have the manicness of angry trolley ladies and the general busyness of the Chinatown places. I also wondered if the dumplings would be less authentic but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
It wasn't very busy when we arrived - a few tables dotted around; the odd family, courting couple, girls catching up etc. It was pretty quiet and the ambience was relaxing unlike Shark Fin House. All quite zen like. We were seated at a table against the wall in the middle of the dining area. Service wasn't particularly smiley or warm but it wasn't bad either.
There are a good choice of teas as well as some fun looking cocktails in teapots. I guess this all appeals to the Western market. No trollies, just order from the menu although on a busy lunchtime I believe the waitstaff bring out trays of dumplings for people to take.
- Sizzling Pork Dumplings - pan fried dumpling with minced pork and chives on a sizzling plate
- Calamari in light batter tossed with spicy salt
- Chilli Wagyu Beef Dumplings - Wagyu beef, finely chopped and marinated with kaffir lime leaves. Wrapped & steamed in a thin wonton wrap and served with specially prepared chilli sauce
- Baby Pea Leaf Dumplings - baby pea leaves & prawns in a distinctive triangular parcel
- Malaysian Style Satay Chicken served with traditional satay peanut dipping sauce
- Chive Dumplings chopped chives and prawn in a translucent rice flour wrapper
We also ordered spring rolls and sticky rice but I didn't take pictures. The spring rolls were above average with nice pork filling. Sticky rice was ok again but fairly bland.
Oriental Tea House is pricier than other places and the extra premium is not for better quality food. It's not quite a rip off as I can see the value in paying the extra. It'st for the nice ambience and environment. It's also a great way to introduce non Asian friends to the concept of dim sum. I can imagine people who have never done it before may feel a bit daunted by the crowds and trolleys and not knowing what things are without a written menu as would be the case in the other more traditional places.