How great is dim sum? Seriously, call it that or yum cha, or whatever you really like but it’s just so damn good. It’s not that often that I can be bothered battling the crowds on a Sunday to go into Northbridge for dim sum, but on this weekend my heart was set.
However instead of the usual Northbridge joint, Jeremy and I went down to Serenade Palace underneath Warwick Cinemas – not too far away from us. I’ve been here a couple years ago and was surprised by how good the dim sum was, not just for a local place but in general. And I’m happy to say, this trip was no different.
Arriving just after 10.30am we get a table straight away which is great because half an hour later there’s a long line out the front filled with people awaiting a table. Perfect timing we say to one another as we dive straight into choosing dishes from the trolleys rolled past us.
In my natural fashion, the Soft Shell Crab catches my eye immediately. It’s a heaped pile of gloriously golden brown battered crab with slices of chilli and onion. The crab is moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside.
It’s actually quite meaty which is a pleasant surprise, with some great little crispy leg pieces to pick at too. I know I am favouring this dish wherever I see it, but I just can’t stop myself – it’s too delicious!
Next up I dive into my first of two bowls of Congee. There’s so many memories in this Chinese cuisine staple for me. It reminds me of every time I was sick as a child and my mother would cook me porridge to feel better. And so it’s something that I truly love.
The congee here at Serenade Palace is wonderful! The stock used is salty and flavoursome; the pork inside tender. The segments of century egg are the perfect taste companion to the meat, as is the sweet spring onion slices and the crispy wonton skins.
Jeremy chooses the Fried Sardines off the cart which is a nice change for us both – not something we would normally pick. They taste great though – crisp batter and soft, flaky fish inside. There’s a very uncomplicated dish and while most people would hesitate at the idea of eating the bones of a fish, these are pliable and go down without causing any irritation or getting stuck. And the batter itself, well that’s light and airy – really yummy.
The mince meat postickers have an incredibly glutinous outer which is a bit thick for my liking though they are seasoned perfectly. The meat inside is cooked just enough to make the meat sticky but succulent. I like the vinegar dipping sauce that comes with it.
Any dim sum meal is not complete without ordering steamed pork buns. And these are just as they should be. Fluffy clouds of dough that are soft and steamed to a tee. The pork filling is sugary sweet and meaty; without being cloying in the slightest.
Though we’re getting pretty full, we order a couple final dishes to finish us off. After all, who doesn’t love rolling themselves out of a restaurant!
The Chicken & Mushroom Pies make an appearance and I have to say I was a little hesitant but I like these. The pastry is sweet, just like what you’d find overseas in Asia. The filling inside is a great combination of chicken and mushroom, with the flavours balanced just right. I love how when I take a bite, the pastry crumbles all around and into my mouth.
Our final dish for the day is the Fried Prawn Dumplings with mayonnaise dipping sauce. Think crunchy outside, juicy inside and plump prawns that go hand in hand with that tangy egg mayonnaise. Another staple in my book when it comes to dim sum, and these are as good as ones I’ve eaten overseas in the likes of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. That pastry is sinfully good!
Going for this kind of food makes me feel great. I know it’s not the best for you, but I just can’t bring myself to care. It’s the best kind of brunch because like tapas, it’s a selection of all different dishes and flavours to share. And in my eyes, that’s the best kind of meal one can have.