Uninterestingly to you (and me), my work year for 2012 started off as busy, busy, busy. To make it worse, it was stinking hot and, once again, the trains were completely unreliable in taking me home after a long day. So making the most out of a bad situation, Ms W and I caught up for an apres work dinner.
Ms W suggested we go to Oriental Tea House. Big Fil and Snooze reviewed OTH back in June 2011, and they ordered a range of dim sum dishes. I hadn't been before - mainly because I thought OTH seemed like an over-priced and slightly contrived yum cha restaurant.
Ms W is a vegetarian. And because I lub Ms W SO much I let her have full control with ordering all our dishes. Letting someone else have full control with ordering food is a big deal for me - I'm one those people who study the menus before they turn up to the restaurant (I don't how I lived before the internet). It's a thoughtful and intellectual process - starting with prioritising the dishes that I must try (either at this meal or a subsequent meal) and eliminating those dishes that haven't piqued my interest.
So, Ms W ordered for us...
...vegetarian pan rolls. It had a range of mushrooms and finely sliced veggies inside. Nice al dente texture, and not too oily.
...steamed vegetarian buns. Light, fluffy buns with a savoury minced veggie filling.
...fried rice. Nice, separate grains of rice. Good wok hei and I liked the pieces of scrambled egg.
...and I think this was called the Buddha's treasure. A deep fried pastry shell, filled with stir fried tofu cubes, capsicum, cashews, mushrooms and carrot. This wasn't too oily - considering how oily it could have been. This was my favourite dish. As with all the other dishes, everything was perfectly al dente - so that it retained the vegetables' crispy texture.
To go with the food, Ms W ordered some Chinese tea blend and I went with this iced fruit tea, which had a real berry and vanilla flavour. My iced tea was very refreshing on this hot day.
Food - 7
Service - 7
Ambience - 7
Price - 7
The food at OTH was better than I had expected. The quality is above average, and they more dishes on the menu (ranging from yum cha dishes to main dishes) that I would have thought. Also, they have quite a large range of vegetarian options too.
Having said that, it's unlikely that I'd visit OTH again. Simply because OTH is, well, primarily a tea house. I agree with Big Fil and Snooze that the food at OTH is an accompaniment to the tea, rather than the other way around. In my mind, this is a place where you'd go for a light meal during the day or night. It doesn't quite seem to be the place to have a big feed.
Ground floor, shop 068/69
Melbourne Central Shopping Centre
Telephone: 9066 0207