A local Dumpling Bar ridiculously popular with the locals, Auntie's doesn't have the same atmosphere that I like in some of the city dumpling bars but it has better dumplings to compensate. It also has the added bonus of being within walking distance from home.
As you can see from the photo, taken on a Sunday night, if you arrive at a prime eating time you can expect to wait outside until a table becomes free. This applies to weekday nights as well - I had to queue for a few minutes even when I visited on a Wednesday night.
Unsurprisingly, given the name, the prime attractions are the dumplings. They are amongst the best I have tried in Melbourne. The fried dumplings are crispy, tasty and less oily than most cheap dumpling bars, the boiled dumplings less gluggy and the quality seems far more consistent than places like Shanghai Dumpling in the city. I particularly liked the fried chicken and prawn dumplings, which somewhat unusually actually tasted of chicken and prawn meat. The variety of dumplings offered is also good, with some options I hadn't seen before (and want to go back to try).
The fried pumpkin cakes we ordered were ok, not as good as the dumplings. They were crispy on the outside, sweet and slightly chewy, but unlike the dumplings didn't seem to have been properly drained. When we were finished, a few drops of oil were noticeable on the bottom of the plate.
Other than dumplings, Auntie's also does a fairly good selection of dishes with noodles or rice. The Dan Dan Noodles are pretty good, with the lip tingling spice of the sauce nicely balanced by the cooling cucumber served with the dish.
The Beef Brisket on rice wasn't quite as good, with the meat adequately tender but a little dry. I also like a few pieces of tendon to come with the dish, but this variety was tendon free. Both the Dan Dan Noodles and Beef Brisket were fairly generous serves.
As a dumpling bar Auntie's Dumplings does its prime task of making cheap, tasty and plentiful dumplings well. My major concerns are with the service, which is a bit chaotic, and the feel of the place. Usually dumplings bars having issues with ambience feel dark, messy and unclean. Auntie's has the opposite issue. With its white walls and high lighting levels it felt to me more like a hospital cafeteria than a dumpling bar. I prefer my dumpling bars to have that real street food feel.
Ambience - 5.5
Service - 5.5
Food - 7
Price - 8
68 Koornang Road
Carnegie VIC 3163
Tel: (03) 9568 6641