Apres shopping at CostCo, we headed to nearby Star Circus for yum cha at Gold Leaf. I hadn't been to GL before - however, my family has been there several times in the past few years. I'm told that GL has a reputation of doing above average dumplings and that on weekends, it's not uncommon for a long queue of people waiting outside for a table.
GL is situated with views to the eyesore that is Melbourne's answer to London's The Eye. Beyond its wooden doors, it's moderately big inside, with an attempt at blingyness.
From (very) afar, you might mistake this for a genuinely classy place. But when you come a smidge closer, you can easily tell that the faux gold trimmings and mirrors and glass ornaments are painfully cheap. I could imagine the owners just importing a whole lot of wannabe nouvelle riche furniture and ornaments from China to fit out this place.
Despite being a sizeable space, the tables are a bit more packed in than you would expect from a real classy place. It's not too cramped, but while pouring some tea, I did bump my elbow right into a waiter's butt because there's that little space.
For a mid-week yum cha, I was surprised to see there were this many diners. It was about two thirds full, mostly with tables of 4-5 diners (families and also a sprinkling of business lunches) and a few larger tables. My surprise stemmed more from the fact that I've never seen any restaurant in the Docklands area being terribly busy.
So on to the food. This was a tres disappointment. They all sort of tasted the same. The negs were that there was lots of MSG (a big no no in my book) and the dumpling wrappers had an odd texture... it was gluggy and gelatinously lumpy.
I'll state upfront that I've forgotten the names of what most of these dumplings are....so here are the pics... :)
Scallop and prawn dumpling
BBQ pork buns
Ah, special mention is the steamed rice noodle wrapped around Chinese doughnut. This was especially bad. Incredibly oily and the rice noodle was particularly gelatinously lumpy - you can tell by the piece in the bottom left corner.
Food – 6.5
Ambience – 6.5
Service – 7
Price – 6.5
I've heard hype and I've read the positive reviews... I just can't reconcile with what I experienced. The dumplings were kinda average and laden with MSG. Given the price, I expected to be wowed. Service was average - not good, not bad. I just can't see what the fuss is about this place.
Level 1, Star Circus Harbour Town
Telephone: 9670 1128