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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ay Oriental Tea House

I love the mango pudding that you get at yum cha - I think you can get instant mango pudding but I'm yet to try. Ay Oriental Tea House is what I would brand "posh yum cha" - not quite the loud food on a trolley experience in Chinatown or in Box Hill, and not so cheap that you roll out of the restaurant having only spent $15 a head.

Having opened a series of Ay tea shops and the Prahran restaurant David's, the owner opened Ay Oriental Tea House combining tea shop and restaurant in this "Shanghainese tea house". The tea list - for both purchase and consumption - is of course long and varied with recommendations for steamed and fried foods. The decor is "ye Shanghai" - think East meets West, art deco, red pillars, Shanghai in its hey day - and if you need dim sum at night, this is the place to go.

This photo was just at the start and how much food you get is dependent on how good the service is. Unfortunately this can vary depending on the number of diners and the number of staff on. You might be happy to order a la carte and I believe this was the original intention, but trays of food are brought out and I like seeing what the kitchen decides to send out - although inevitably, the one thing that you really wanted will be brought out at the end when you can't eat any more!

You'll get the usual choices but the food is good and there is a much smaller chance of getting a soggy dumpling or octopus swimming in oil (as you may in a restaurant churning out food for the masses). The Shanghainese fare like the dumplings were magnificent. Note that you do purchase tea by the cup (a big earthen mug); given "yum cha" means to drink tea you'd expect to get a refill, one mug just didn't do the trick.

Ay Oriental Tea House

455 Chapel Street,
South Yarra

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  • At 8/09/2006 11:29:00 PM, Blogger Lazy cow said…

    Me again. I love David's food - actually went twice last week (once to Prahran and once to the new-to-me store in the city). My sister and I ordered 2 serves of the crystal prawn dumplings and ginger prawn dumplings and the steamed broccoli. I've only tried the custard tarts (amazingly light, flaky pastry) for dessert.

  • At 8/10/2006 08:02:00 PM, Blogger Belinda said…

    Hi, LC! I've been to David's a couple of times and love the food there too. I was in the city store buying tea and they told me that they were going to start serving dim sum in that shop.

    Was it good? I don't think they have a kitchen there so I suppose you have to get there early before everything disappears!


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