Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Dainty Dumpling House - Miranda - Sydney, Australia

Dainty Dumplings 

With the makeover of Westfield Miranda in process, a number of new eateries have started to open or are due to open soon. Stage 1 of the renovation is now complete and it looks amazing. Westfield Miranda has been in need of a restoration for a long time as it has been a while since it was last re-done. I would imagine that the rent for shop or restaurant spaces would be exorbitant, hence the higher prices for the food that is charged to compensate for the rent.

Dainty Dumpling House is well, a Chinese dumpling restaurant. An unusual name I would probably associate with a tea house of some sort.  Located on the lower floor of the complex, this restaurant occupies a large corner space with an open kitchen and fresh dumplings prepared daily.

They also have items other on their menu such as handmade noodles and roti, but as they haven't been open for long, these are yet to be made available. There are a substantial number of items on the menu but they have been tagged 'coming soon' unfortunately.

From the outside, you could see the chefs busy preparing and cooking. Can you see those colourful dumplings? It's one of their speciality items.

On a Sunday morning, we arrive before 12pm and the restaurant is at full capacity. We join the queue and get a table shortly.

We notice that service is slow and disorganised as there are only two waiters to take the orders. I find myself having to go to the waitress to ask her if I could place my order as she is preoccupied with other things. The patrons on the tables next to us look frustrated as their orders haven't been taken, having arrived way before us. The main problem here is the restaurant is new and they are adjusting to the new environment, so do give them time.

I do like their cutlery.

We start off with 'Xiao Long Bao ($10.80)', described as steamed pork dumplings with soup. The dumplings are made in house so they are as fresh as they can be. Eight morsels of delicate, nicely pleated skins encloses a glorious soupy and juicy mince pork inside. We ordered two trays of this and it still wasn't enough.

'Shaomai stuffed with Abalone and Pork ($10.80)' sounds fancy doesn't it? It's the usual Shaomai you would find at Yum Cha restaurants with the addition of a thin slice of abalone on top of each. We found the prawn and pork mixture to be tough and dry.

'Fried Rice with Chinese Mushroom and Diced Chicken ($13.80)' is last to arrive. A mound of rice is stir-fried with Chinese mushroom, diced chicken, egg and shallots. We liked that it wasn't bland but we felt the rice was ultra soft and lacked that wok flavour one would usually associate with cooking fried rice.

The 'Xiao Long Bao' was delicious but the other items weren't as good in comparison. Service can be improved as a lot of diners were left angry at the slow and at times, non-existent service. It's not a cheap place to dine but for those living in the Shire, it saves having to travel to Hurstville or the City for a fix of dumplings. I can't wait till Din Tai Fung opens in Miranda, one of my favourite dumpling restaurants in Sydney. Do give Dainty Dumpling House a chance as I'm sure once they're open longer, service will pick up and more menu items will be available.

Shop 1012/600
Kingsway Miranda NSW 2228

Phone no: 02 9188 2589

Opening Hours
Contact restaurant for opening hours.


Dainty Dumpling House on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

The Sparrow's Mill - Sydney CBD - Sydney, Australia.

The Sparrow's Mill 

From the same owners as its sister restaurant 'Red Pepper' in Strathfield, The Sparrow's Mill is a fairly new Korean fried chicken restaurant. It is located in the Sydney CBD near World Square, the Korea town of Sydney.

We arrive just a bit after 6pm on a Friday night and there are already groups queueing up for a table. We put our name down on the sheet of paper and take a ticket, expecting to get a table within 15 minutes or so. However, time ticks away and by the time we get a table it approaches one hour. A very long wait considering we were a group of 4 and there were 5 groups of varying sizes before us. If we would have known it would have taken that long we might have given up waiting.

The inside is casual, modern and somewhat new as it hasn't been open for very long, less than half a year. Tables are squashed together and I find that the space between our table and the next table is narrow. I'm rather petite and find myself having to slide side ways to get in and out of the bench seats without hitting the table.

The waiter brings out the menus, cutlery and bowls. Shortly, she takes our orders. It has a similar menu to the restaurant in Strathfield, near exact to be precise. There are an adequate number of Korean dishes available but people come here for the fried chicken cooked in varying forms and sauces. All at very affordable prices if you are sharing with others.

Sides dishes also known as 'Banchan' are first to arrive to satisfy our starving stomachs. A good selection including fish cake slices, beansprouts, potato, kim chi and long beans. I find that these lack flavour in comparison to what I've had at the Strathfield branch.

The 'Seafood Pancake ($15.00)' is huge. It's thick and loaded with an abundance of toppings. Though, you might find yourself devouring loads of onions and leeks in stark comparison to the amount of seafood in there. It has been cooked to a perfect crisp exterior and the additional sauce on the side gives it that extra zest.

Ordering fried chicken is imperative here. What I like about these Korean restaurants is the option of choosing half or full portion sizes, and choosing half gives you more choice as you're able to try out different combinations.

The 'Original Fried Chicken ($17.00)' is freshly fried and it's steaming hot. Just magic. The original fried chicken has a similar taste to the branch in Strathfield but the coating is crispier and the texture is amazing. It retains the heat while and even though we take our time eating, it is still hot inside. There is just something that is different, possibly the oil that is used to fry the chicken.

'Sweet and Spicy Fried Chicken ($18.00)' appears to be a new item as I don't recall seeing this in Strathfield. It is coated with a sticky and sweet chilli sauce, yet there is also a hint of spiciness. It is nowhere near as spicy as the normal chilli one. This is good for those who aren't very tolerant to spicy foods. It has to be eaten fast as the sauce softens the crispy chicken.

'Ginseng Chicken Soup ($23.00)' is surprisingly really similar to the one I had in Korea. The rice is stuffed in a whole chicken with pieces of ginseng, jujubes and goji berries. The soup has been lightly seasoned and is still slightly bland, but the accompanying salt and pepper can be used to give it that kick.  It's refreshing and perfect to cleanse the palate from the fried chicken.

'Bimimbap ($15.00)' is topped with a plethora of ingredients. Steamed rice with beef and mixed vegetables on top of a sizzling stone bowl. Mix the ingredients together, allow the ingredients to be combined and let it rest for a half a minute which then leaves a crusty rice base. Delicious. You need to mix in the chilli sauce for seasoning.

Once again we over order and struggle to finish everything. The foodie inside of me thinks we didn't order enough but luckily my friend stopped me. A great meal with excellent company but whether we're willing to wait for an hour next time is questionable. The Sparrow's Mill is convenient and readily accessible to the masses given its central location so there's no excuse not to give their fried chicken a shot. The prices are affordable when shared among a group and the quantities are decent, but be prepared to wait on Friday and Saturday nights.

Shop 3, 116-120 Liverpool St
Sydney NSW 2000

Phone no: 02 9264 7109

Opening Hours
Monday - Saturday
11:00am - 12:00am
Closed Sunday


The Sparrow's Mill (참새방앗간) on Urbanspoon