David’s Restaurant has previously been voted one of Melbourne’s favourite yum cha destinations. They’ve recently revamped their interior design and menu to incorporate a more homely, country Shanghai style. That translates to a beautiful space awash with white and light (a modern interpretation of a Shanghaiese river cottage) accompanied by a menu of family favourites.
The relaxed ambience is reflected in their DIY approach to cutlery, crockery, drinking water, vinegar and soy (by the way, good to see that they use the brand of vinegar and soy that my mother stocks in her kitchen!).
I was invited to try their new weekend lunch offering – all-you-can-eat yum cha for $35 a head (children eat free). There are two sittings 11:30-1:30pm and 1:30pm – 3pm and the savoury food comes out as soon as you are seated, with desserts around 45 minutes before the end of the sitting. We arrived at 12pm and there was only one dish repeated during our time there, so there’s plenty of variety.
David’s is a bit different from your usual yum cha experience in that you’re likely to encounter non-traditional dim sum. In fact most of the dishes are not Cantonese in origin as they stem from the main menu of Shanghaiese dishes. Some definitely fall into the fusion category.
My top dish is the Peking Duck pancake – thin flour pancakes encasing a generous slab of meaty duck and traditional hoisin, spring onion and cucumber filling. Other unmissable items include pan-fried spring onion pancake, the small pots of sticky pork belly, the fluffy buns, glutinous rice (which includes prawn, unusually) and finger-lickin’ good fried chilli chicken.
As for dumplings I suggest going for those with the translucent skins such as the fresh scallop dumplings, as my sampling of the other type of dumplings such as the xiao long bao were that in the main they were too heavy for my taste.
The desserts are unusual and definitely not traditional, incorporating Western ingredients such as chocolate. If you have room try to squeeze in a serve of white chocolate glutinous rice balls.
The other way in which David’s differs from your usual yum cha experience is that the food is carried out on trays by friendly, helpful staff who are happy to explain ingredients, a far cry from the surly non-English-speaking trolley madam. It also means that for some dishes you don’t have to commit to a whole plate or a whole steamer – you can just have one morsel. It’s a good way to try new things, as if you don’t like it there’s not as much wastage.
Note that on weekends it’s a popular destination for families with young children so noise levels can be boisterous. I think it’s a winner for a multi-generational family lunch – a place where everyone can eat what they like, when they like. We’ll be back!
David’s Restaurant Weekend Yum Cha, 4 Cecil Place, Prahran +61 3 9529 5199
Mon-Wed 12pm-3pm & 6pm-10pm
Thu 12pm-3pm & 6pm-10.30pm
Sat 11.30am – 11pm
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