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NOT: Seamstress, 113 Lonsdale St, Melbourne

P1020631 682x1024 NOT: Seamstress, 113 Lonsdale St, Melbourne

Seamstress describes itself as ‘a contemporary, mid-price Cantonese eatery boasting two premier cocktail bars.’ I can’t vouch for the two cocktail bars (but the top bar was beautifully decorated with a rack of chinoiserie clothing running along the ceiling over the bar), but I can assure you that the restaurant was a NOT.

Firstly, it is definitely not mid-priced, unless mid-priced is $30-$38 for a main course. Secondly, the food was the sort of fancified Chinglish food which non-Asians seem to love and which no self-respecting Asian chef would serve. Four of us shared four dishes with steamed rice: medium sized swallowing clouds, medium steamed blue eye parcel, large cashew chicken and x-large (serves 2) malay curry.

P1020619 725x1024 NOT: Seamstress, 113 Lonsdale St, Melbourne

The poetic sounding swallowing clouds were poached pork wontons with seared scallops and bonito flakes. We all ate our dumplings silently before I braved a comment ‘do you think the filling is raw?’. The table sighed with relief – everyone had thought the filling tasted a bit funny and looked a bit pink, but were reluctant to say anything. The waiter was very gracious about it and replaced our dish with a free serving of spring onion pancakes with peking duck ($19 normally for four rolls!). Unfortunately they were equally unappetising, consisting of a thick doughy pancake encasing a tiny sliver of duck and mushrooms. Each mouthful tasted like raw sausage roll.

Our other dishes were not much better. The blue eye was a bland brick of very firm fish. The cashew chicken was described by RM as something likely to be produced by Red Rooster from their ‘Taste of the Orient’ (sic) range and the Malay curry had no kick whatsoever, just a thick lather of coconut cream.

P1020611 682x1024 NOT: Seamstress, 113 Lonsdale St, Melbourne

P1020627 682x1024 NOT: Seamstress, 113 Lonsdale St, Melbourne

The one redeeming feature was the lovely fitout. There was a consistent theme of cloth, thread and sewing throughout the building, with the ceiling swathed in lengths of fabric and bamboo stems seemingly floating in the air. The service was also good – they got us out in time for our movie and didn’t charge us for the raw dumplings. Nevertheless, I don’t think I will ever eat there again. So disappointing.

minilink NOT: Seamstress, 113 Lonsdale St, Melbourne

pixel NOT: Seamstress, 113 Lonsdale St, Melbourne

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Welcome to MEL: HOT OR NOT

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