Early start number three saw us waking up to pack up our things. We had to vacate the spare room because more friends were coming to Melbourne from London and were going to be jetlagged.
We made for the city on the train with the intention of doing a little bit of shopping, and to see a few sites for the English addition to our party. We also intended to go to the original Movida for lunch, however when we arrived we were dismayed to find that it was closed for renovations! “Plan B” we thought would be to head to Chinatown and check out the hatted Hu Tong Dumpling Bar in Market Lane opposite The Flower Drum. Hatted dumplings we had to see!
Walking in we were greeted by a man with a large walkie-talkie who asked us to wait for a table, (there were 7 of us) the message came through the walkie and we were permitted upstairs to a large round table with a lazy susan in the centre.
The kitchen window
Walking through the restaurant you get a great view into the kitchen through a big window onto the dumpling station where they are all rolled and filled to order. Four chefs were working very hard due to the full dining room. We looked through the menu and Elysia took charge ordering a bunch of stuff for us all to share. We ordered six Tsingtao beers that were promptly brought to the table still in the six-pack holder - this was left nearby on the waiters’ station and later used to clear the bottles.
Xiao Long Bao! We had 5 of these baskets...
Food started to arrive as it was ready, and soon we had, xiao long, pork, prawn and vegetable dumplings, red pork, steamed bok choy, crispy whitebait, chicken and sweet corn soup and spring rolls spinning around in the centre of the table! Everything was excellent, however we do have to add that the xiao long bao at humble little Written On Tea in Sandy Bay are even better.
Vegetable dumplings in spinach skins
Pork with buk choi
More xiao long
Prawn dumplings in chilli
White bait with onions
Spring rolls with red sauce
Prawns in bean curd skin
Chicken and sweet corn soup
Far-too-much-food-for-everyone-later we staggered out and walked back through Chinatown to Koko Black in Royal Arcade for some chocolates!
The fabulous Koko Black. You aren't allowed to take pictures in side, but it is one of the most magical places in Melbourne.
We were staying at another friend’s house for the evening and went via the supermarket to pick up ingredients to cook dinner to say thanks for the bed. We decided to do a cauliflower soup with Parmesan croutons, roast chicken and a Streets Vinetta. There was a Parmesan company giving out samples at Flinders Street Station so we had to incorporate that somehow! Everything turned out pretty well; we ate so much chicken and crispy potatoes we didn’t even get to the ice cream. There were a couple of quick games of darts before an early night before a 5:30 start to catch a plane back home and straight in to work.
It was a great trip, although we can no longer look the credit card in the eye, and we can highly recommend any of the places we visited, however our favourites were Port Phillip Estate for food and the wonderful Campaspe House in Woodend for accommodation, particularly in winter!
Big thanks to the Piccalilly crew for being so relyable and letting us have the Saturday night off. Thanks to Morgan and Rachel, Chris and Andrea, Leigh and Angela, for the good times and accomodation. And Chris and Julie for feeding the starter while we were away and the constant updates reassuring Iain that the place hadn't burnt down.