269 Swanston St, Melbourne CBD
This is the story:
- In March, I ordered a dress from Melbourne's Manning Cartel and it didn't fit so I returned it for store credit
- Store credit for a store in Melbourne? Uh... I live in Brisbane
- There was a domestic flight sale so I convinced my bff Kat to come to Melb with me later in the year
- We christened the event our 10 year Frenaversary since, as you might guess, we've been friends since year 8 and we've been looking for an excuse to go on a holiday
Last Friday, we arrived in Melbourne and lugged our bags up to Little Bourke St, which is where we were staying. I have an old friend studying in Melbourne and he agreed to take us out to get a good feel of the city.
We originally wanted Italian on Lygon St but because it was so late, ended up closer by near Chinatown. He suggested Dumplings Plus and even from the outside, it looked very appealing to me.
The decor of this restaurant is just gorgeous. It's got elements of an authentic Shanghainese dumpling eatery but a bit more contemporary and youthful. There's an upstairs area too but I didn't go exploring.
The menu has loads of stuff (great for me) including handmade noodles, rice dishes, mains to share and lots of buns and pastries. As hungry as we were, we made an effort to optimize our order so that we could try the most things. Andrew ordered a bowl of noodles. Kat and I did the same (but only one bowl between us) and we also chose a selection of buns and dumplings to share.
The fried pork dumplings came out straight away. For those who haven't tried Shanghainese dumplings, they are a bit like Japanese gyoza - fried crisp on the bottom but the rest of the skin is left soft. They were hot, crunchy where they should be and had a nice flavor. The dumplings were rustic enough for me to believe they are hand made.
My criticism is that they didn't seem to have the 'soup' inside that Shanghainese people deem as the mark of a good dumpling/bun and they were also a bit too oily. We traditionally eat these with a light vinegar. Perfect compliment :D.
The same could be said for the other fried buns we ordered. Tasty but a bit dry on the inside whilst being excessively oily on the outside.
The noodles Andrew ordered looked pretty amazing. I didn't have a taste but the serving is large and he chose the thin type. He said it's the one he normally orders so I assume the flavors are good.
Our lamb noodles on the other hand weren't very memorable. The soup tasted kinda plain and same to the meat itself. I guess it's good if you're after something light and simple but I personally like strong flavors. We chose the thick noodles though and I thought they tasted great. Very chewy and chunky which is not everyone's cup of tea but I dig chunky noodles.
I really liked eating at Dumplings Plus. Although the food isn't on par to what I've tried in Shanghai, the experience as a whole was great. It was busy and noisy but not in an annoying 'club-scene' way and the prices were very affordable. Unlike a lot of Asian eateries, the service was also friendly.