Tim Ho Wan, the Michelin-starred yum cha restaurant finally opened its doors to the public after various delays, and to say that Melbourne was excited is an understatement. The line that snaked outside restaurant meant that a wait is always expected, although it actually moves rather quickly.
I’ve visited several times now, and can confirm that the quality is very consistent, and on par with its restaurant across the ocean. The concept at Tim Ho Wan is similar to Hong Kong Dim Sum, where you’re given a sheet of paper to mark what you wish to order, plates of food will magically start appearing in front of you after you hand the paper to one of the waiters.
The chicken feet is a milder rendition of the classic dish. Instead of being fried and then steamed, the chicken feet were simply braised in abalone sauce, resulting in, well, a milder flavour profile.
Usually I would never order spring rolls, since it is such a pedestrian dish, but because we had a pescatarian amongst us, we had to take advantage of all the vegetarian and seafood options. It was a pleasant surprise though, the filling of egg white was very fluffy, and the spring roll was crunchy, but not overly oily as they tend to be.
The signature dish of Tim Ho Wan, literally every table had a plate (or two) of the buns, and I can definitely see why. The crunchy shell paired with the sweet BBQ pork filling, give me three of these and lunch is sorted.
I passed on these since they had carrots inside, but according to those who tried it, although pleasant, it was nothing out of the ordinary.
The prawn dumplings were perfect, the skin were translucent but not gluggy, and the filling had a nice ratio of prawn to bamboo shoots.
The bright green colour of the spinach dumplings made them so pleasing to look at, and they tasted just as delicious. Another surprise favourite.
I loved the fluffiness and delicate nature of this cake, however, one of my friend did find it too eggy.
The vermicelli roll, although not ground breaking, was executed well, the roll itself had integrity, and the filling, well, there was a lot of prawns.
Still confused about where exactly the salad is in this dish, but the crunchiness of the dumplings were delightful. I wish the wasabi mayo had more of a kick though.
Another member of the four heavenly kings, the filling of pig’s liver, although unusua, was actually a bit dry.
Besides looking extremely pretty, these slightly acidic cakes, with the floral aroma from the osmanthus, were a light but sweet end to the meal.
My pick for dessert though would be the mango sago pomelo, there was nothing to fault with this classic combination of flavours, and the thickness of it all made me think that they actually used a lot of real mangoes!
Overall, there’s not much to fault with Tim Ho Wan in terms of the quality of the food, however, its menu is quite limited compared to other yum cha places, and the price is definitely higher. With that in mind, I’d still return, even if it were just for the baked BBQ pork buns alone, yup, they’re that good.
How to get there:
Tim Ho Wan is located in Village Centre Arcade in Chinatown, a short 10 minutes walk from Melbourne Central.