Trust me – the best yum cha in Melbourne is from Shark Fin House. Don’t get it confused with Shark Fin Inn, also on Little Bourke – they’re in the same group of restaurants, but House is superior. You’ll be able to work out which is which, as House always has a line of eager eaters waiting for the doors to open at 11am on a Sunday. They also have an inflexible rule where they will only hold your table for 15 minutes, and all diners must have arrived by then – and they will call you a couple of times during the week to confirm your booking.
Eating at Shark Fin House is an adrenalin sport. You have to be attentive to pounce on a trolley as it exits the kitchen, newly laden with steaming bamboo baskets (note that in my view there is no savoury-to-sweet order in yum cha – you eat what is fresh at the time, even if you start off on egg tarts). You have to catch the eye of the trolley lady to make sure she doesn’t take the path to the table of 12, who will inevitably haul every single steamer of roast pork buns. Be decisive, don’t ask too many questions about what stuff is and don’t be afraid to shout for attention or to stand over a trolley possessively to claim your dim sum. Basically, take me along or someone else who speaks Chinese!
Also, a word of warning – don’t ever get shunted up to the third floor. I didn’t even know a third floor existed and RM and I think we’ve worked out why – it’s because I’m Chinese. RM has been seated in the third floor before (along with all the other gweilo – just check out the people on the lift going down) and we have a sneaking suspicion that perhaps the third floor gets the leftovers, the least fresh food? Hmmm…..