Saturday, September 3, 2011

Shark Fin House, Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

Shark Fin House is a long term survivor on the Melbourne yum cha scene. It must be well over 100 dog years old and it was the place where I had my very first introduction to yum cha. For a long time I absolutely loved it here but it;s pretty well the consensus view that the best of Melbourne yum cha is to be found in Melbourne's eastern suburbs these days and not in the city centre, and our first visit for two years or more reminded me of why we no longer went here for our dim sum fix.

If you want to try to yum cha here even on a weekday lunch you need to book ahead, get here early or be prepared to wait. Given yum cha was a last minute decision our only option was to wait. Fortunately our wait was only ten minutes or so compared to the thirty or more I remembered from previous visits. Our table was in some ways in a prime location, a bit near the door but also one of the first passed by the trolleys when moving around the room.

The choice of food was smaller than I expected, even given that it was a Wednesday lunch session. No steamed rice noodles but we sampled some of the usual dumpling suspects - ginger prawn dumplings, prawn dumplings, fried taro dumplings. All of these were pretty acceptable without being anything fantastic. The prawn dumpling skins were reasonably thin, the prawns not bad but could have been fresher, the ginger sauce slightly gluggy. I think we benefited by being at the front of the queue and the dumplings may have been a little below par by the time they reached the last tables.

Best and worst of the dishes were the chicken's feet and the steamed pork buns. The chicken's feet were still hot and tasty, so that when another trolley came past carrying them we ordered a second basket. I know they're not to everyone's fancy but I like the texture of these as much as anything and so am willing to put up with all the bones. However, in contrast the buns were a big disappointment. One of us felt the pork wasn't fresh. I didn't mind the pork but I thought the bun was soggy rather than light and fluffy. Given we had to specially order these and they took around 20 minutes to arrive they were a big letdown, particularly when we were given only the one basket rather than the two we'd ordered.

Which leads me on to the second problem here, the poor service. Appearing to be overrun by tour groups is one thing, but you can't let your service to the other customers suffer because of it. At the beginning it was unclear where or for how long we would need to wait for our table, and on several occasions we had to call over a trolley which was threatening to pass us by without stopping. And what's the story with waiting 20 minutes for steamed buns? The trolley staff did appear to be trying for which I'd normally cut them a lot of slack but it really was unacceptably disorganised.

The food is acceptable and I like the aquariums and brown wood decoration, but the food and price doesn't compensate for the service. It really is marginal whether I'd return.

Food - 7
Ambience - 7.5
Service - 5
Price - 6.5

131 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9663 1555

Shark Fin House on Urbanspoon


Christina said...

I agree.. the service at yum cha is very bad... and its even worse on the weekends especially if you're unlucky enough to be crammed into the 3rd floor. However, I have to say that Shark Fin House regular food is amazing -great variety and flavours. So go for dinner, and skip the yum cha!

restaurant deals melbourne said...

Nice blog i like it about melbourne restaurant deals thanks

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...