Sunday, December 13, 2015

Block 7 Kitchen, Camberwell by Benny

As regular Eat and Be Merry readers will know, I am a sucker for a good yum cha. Add an introductory discount to the mix and there is a good chance that I’ll be there. So it is that Bilby and I find ourselves lunching at the recently opened, oddly named Block 7 Kitchen in the Middle Camberwell shopping strip. Occupying a corner position that has housed a series of eateries, you have to look closely to recognise that it is a Chinese restaurant. Given the odd name and the location (Middle Camberwell is not exactly famous for the quality of its Chinese restaurants), expectations were not particularly high – but the possibility of finding good yum cha is worth the effort.

Block 7, yum cha, Camberwell, vegetarian dumplings
Vegetarian dumplings

‘Block 7 Kitchen’ may conjure up expectations of an industrial cafeteria in a large high-rise housing estate, but such images are immediately banished as you walk through the door  into a well-appointed modern dining space, with a Japanese aesthetic in the table settings. A few other tables are occupied even this early at lunchtime, the diners clearly enjoying the experience, and forgive me for noticing ethnicity, but most are of East Asian appearance. For a Chinese restaurant this is encouraging. Expectations were instantly raised.

Block 7, yum cha, Camberwell, chickens feet
Chickens' feet

Yum cha comprises a selection of 31 mostly standard dishes to order a la carte rather than selected from roaming carts. The waiter encourages us to order the restaurant’s signature dish – deep fried bean curd with spicy salt – which we augment with scallop dumplings, vegetarian dumplings, spicy calamari, chicken feet and bean curd skin prawn roll. This is more than ample for lunch.

Block 7, yum cha, Camberwell, deep fried bean curd
Interestingly, we had been considering the Peking duck, but the waiter advised against it. The bean curd with spicy salt deserves its ‘signature’ status – smooth and creamy inside a thin brittle shell with a respectable hit of spicy salt and chilli, creatively presented in a wire basket on a bed of lettuce.

Block 7, yum cha, Camberwell, deep fried calamari
The similarly presented spicy calamari surprises by arriving inside a crisp coating of batter, but with the same spicy salt/chilli dressing as the bean curd, enclosing perfectly cooked pieces of squid it is a great dish.

Block 7, yum cha, Camberwell, bean curd skin prawn roll
A further surprise arrives with the bean curd skin prawn roll – we expected some steamed delicacies but got a deep fried dish. It is familiar and fine, but not what we thought we had ordered. Bilby considered the chicken feet to be the second-best dish – after the bean curd – but while I enjoyed them, they are a little too sweet for my taste as I am expecting a stronger hit of fermented black bean and chilli.

Block 7, yum cha, Camberwell, scallop dumplings
Scallop dumplings

The other dishes all achieve a comfortable pass mark, and we have already decided to return – a few days later we are back to sample noodle dishes. Some are on both the main and the yum cha menus and we are assured that the yum cha servings are the right size for lunch for one.

Block 7, yum cha, Camberwell, special fried noodles
Bilby’s Chef Special Fried Noodle is essentially Singapore Noodles with lup cheong, prawns and bok choy. She declares it an excellent rendition of this very traditional dish although with only a medium amount of chilli heat.

Block 7, yum cha, Camberwell, shredded duck fried noodles
My Shredded Duck Fried Noodle is pretty darned good – bite-sized pieces of succulent roast duck stir fried with bok choy on crispy deep fried noodles. The portions are, as promised, just right for lunch for one, and surprisingly inexpensive for the quality of the food, service and decor.

Block 7, yum cha, Camberwell

Block 7, yum cha, Camberwell


We loved it. We will be returning for dinner with extended family and friends.


Ignore the odd name. Block 7 Kitchen is a great-quality dining establishment that would hold its own in a trendy Asian foodie enclave.

Find it at

Block 7 Kitchen
726 Riversdale Road
Phone (03) 9880 7988

Block 7 Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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