Happy New Year everyone! Sorry it's been so long but we have been overseas exploring the US. Keep posted as we are working to try and get our travel guide to you shortly! We hope you are as excited as we are!
The festive season has finally come to a close, well unless you are one of those lucky people who don't go back until next week! Let's take a moment to reflect upon this last festive season. This is the one time of the year where it is impossible to not visit the family. You just have to and under no circumstances would you be able to wiggle free. For many of us, family events are so few in the year so finding a place to hold such a function is critical to it's success! You want somewhere trendy, but not crowded, fancy but not overpriced.. and for crying out loud, a place where you can wear shorts!
Tim Ho Wan incorporates these requirements almost to a tee (minus the price). You see, it is a 3 Michelin star restaurant with the added luxury of being casual as well. Additionally you are able to enjoy Yum Cha without the constant clanking and whistling of the food carts as all dishes are prepared and brought to the table. Zomato invited a group of us to visit the recently opened George street restaurant and sample their signature dishes and monthly specials from their menu. Being famous for the BBQ Pork Bun, this is what we were waiting for!
Tom yum goong prawn dumpling (December special)
Tim Ho Wan offer monthly special dishes that are themed based on the month/season. Their monthly special are trials and if they receive good praise, they may include it to their menu. This item we hope to see back on the menu as the tom yum sauce was a treat. Flavoursome, thick and fragrant to the nose made it stand out from your regular dumpling.
Prawn filling wrapped with beetroot and wasabi tobiko topping (December special)
Fiery red dumplings with a cool hue of green wasabi tobiko. We love the presentation as it's something we hadn't seen before but to us, the dumplings were very average with the occasional salty burst from the tobiko topping.
Pandan puddings with red bean, cranberries and dried apricots (December special)
Mixed reviews around the table for this sweet. The pandan pudding was very subtle, Matt could taste it in his but Christie could not. The red bean was evident throughout but the cranberries and dried apricots were overshadowed.
When you think of BBQ pork buns, images of white, fluffy buns with a sweet red filling should come to mind. Tim Ho Wan took the original BBQ pork bun and transformed it into something special, in fact it is their most popular dish and it's quite clear why! The buns have been replaced with a fluffy, golden bun that has a gently yet crispy outer layer. The filling inside remains quite truthful to the original version. Each bun is served in smaller portions which might have you ordering a second or third plate! This is the only dish that is calling us back to Tim Ho Wan. We want more!
Steamed egg cake
The steamed egg cake came around to the table, and sort of remained there until it was cleared. The look of this dish is bland which is also the same for the taste. The cake itself was really fluffy, where it was falling apart just simply trying to pick up a piece, but it was overly sweet. Many unfortunately either left it on their plates, or didn't even attempt to tr it.
Many of the dishes you will start seeing from this point on are very similar to what you would find in many Yum Cha restaurants. This dish is one, however we found that there was less filling that what we are used to. There were often parts that had no filling, showing a bit of inconsistency with the preparation.
The standard pork dumplings. Not a whole lot of flavour, but is definitely made to be enjoyed with soy sauce and chilli. The texture of the dough would be the only talking point as it was delicate, but with a firm texture. Far different to what we are used to, where it almost feels like plastic.
Steamed mushrooms and capsicum dumplings
Woah did these dumplings have flavour or what! Capsicum is all you taste with this dumpling and the mushroom seems to go astray. If you even slightly dislike capsicum then this dish is not right for you.
Beancurd skin with pork and shrimp
The pork and shrimp is wrapped in a thick layer of beancurd. Now while this might not sound appealing (because it really isn't), the sauce makes a huge difference. It gets soaked into the beancurd and gives it a whole new flavour. Definitely worth trying if you aren't fussy!
Steamed scallop prawn dumpling
Scallops are a woman's best friend in the case of Christie. Honestly, a nicely cooked plate of scallops would be favoured over a paid for shopping spree with her. Prawn and scallop compliment each other very well, with the soft, creamy texture of the scallop and the firm structure of the prawn, it just works. When you add a perfectly cooked dumpling topped with the saltiness of roe, you find some dumplings that are worthy of being regarded as 3 Michelin quality.
Spinach dumpling with shrimp
We love how translucent the dumplings are, it gives it a very unique style so you can see exactly what you are eating. The green colour also makes for a very easy plating experience! This dumpling was well received all around the table.
Similar to the vermicelli beef, but with more fillings. The shrimp was bland, but the sauce made up for what the dish lacked. Not a great dish, but just your typical must order Yum Cha dish.
Vermicelli Sesame Sauce and Peanut
Seasame and Peanut sauce vermicelli is the first item ordered whenever we go to Yum Cha. We love it and that is why we couldn't get enough of it tonight. This would have been our second favourite, but we prefer the vermicelli to be pan fried for that little bit of texture.
The prawn dumplings were nice but no different that regular prawn dumplings. If you like to stick to simple food, then order this dumpling. However with the wide range and variety on Tim Ho Wan's menu, we recommend tasting something with a bit more edge.
Sesame Rice Ball
Second to the pork buns, the sesame rice balls were to die for. By this point in the meal we were bloated and unable to process any other food that was being served. This however was a different story. The smell of the sesame and the sweet fragrance of the salty egg yolk sauce that lies dormant inside were enough to have us all back up and eating. Matt ended up with two of these and wanted more to take home. They were the perfect balance of both sweet and savoury. Just be careful biting into them, the steam might burn you!
Osmanthus is widely used throughout Asia and is popular for its fragrant, but also the similarities to an apricot. This was a very light and elegant dessert, the jelly wobbles quite frantically when the plate is shaken. This dessert was well received, partially because it was so light and all the guests could actually fit it in the stomach. But also because it was sweet and had a pleasant aroma to end the night on.
While there were a number of dishes that were no different to your standard Yum Cha, please don't be discouraged visiting Tim Ho Wan. We highly encourage you to visit for the BBQ pork buns and the Sesame rice balls alone. 5 servings of each please! Thank you to both Zomato and Tim Ho Wan for letting us dine as guests at this food-tacular event!