Every time I am catching a train at the Melbourne Central or shopping there, my eyes would drift towards the Oriental teahouse. The beautiful array of teas and teapots constantly beckon me inside and so one fine day, after watching a movie at the Central, we decided to put this place to the test.
Oriental Teahouse is one of the many restaurants owned by David Zhou, who also personally handcrafts all the signature tea blends served at the teahouses. There are several branches across Melbourne and this review is specific to the branch at Melbourne Central.
There is a distinct Chinese or Oriental feel to the ambience but it’s the huge display of teas, teapots, cups and accessories that makes it so inviting. Though I didn’t buy any this time, I am definitely going back to get a rather ‘pricey’ tea set and some copper tea tins that I have laid my eyes on. They stock plenty of affordable options too.
The service was warm and friendly right from the beginning and once we were seated, the waiter bought out the menus. We first decided to order some tea. There are other beverage options too including a well stocked bar but what’s the point of visiting a tea house if you aren’t sampling the tea!
While one of my friends went for the chamomile tea, I requested the help of the waiter who guided me to take the lemongrass tea with honey which he explained suited the time of day (we were having dinner) as it had great digestive properties and also went with the food. Since there are plenty of options, it would be a good idea to take advice and match the tea to your food and preferences.
The menu had a good number of options but we decided to go for their combo package or the Group Grub for 4 people. Priced at $120, this was a good deal with fairly good portions for four people, unless you are big eaters or really hungry. It also allows you to sample 9 dishes, which if you ordered individually, would end up costing much, much more. A good sharing platter for those who have like minded food choices.
There was calamari in the combo, which one of us didn’t eat, so we requested for something else in its place. The waiter tried to understand our taste preferences and suggested the roast pork belly in its place. And instead of steamed rice, we opted for the fried rice bowls. Appreciate this service by the waiter; most often, restaurants are very rigid when it comes to combos like this without accommodating the customer’s needs.
It did take a while for the tea to arrive as well as the food but we weren’t complaining. While the rest of the group was chatting, I continued to explore the teapots and accessories on display.
The teas finally arrived at the perfect temperature. I am more of a coffee gal, but I loved the lemongrass tea with honey. Just the right hint of lemongrass and some good quality honey to just sweeten it. Brilliant!
The food came out one after the other in rapid succession which was good; having to wait for each dish would have been a dampener especially when ordering a sharing platter like this one.
The first to arrive was the Peking duck; I was disappointed that it arrived rolled and ready to eat. I enjoy the process of making the rolls myself; it did taste good but not great flavours to write about.
The second dish was the Chilli Wagyu dumplings which is a star dish of the restaurant. Totally lived up to its name; delicious succulent dumplings with a flavourful beef filling and just the right amount of chilli oil soaking through. Totally recommend this one!
The Chicken dumpling quinoa salad was the next; very refreshing flavours and once again, delicious dumplings.
The fried rice was just average but it paired better with the whole meal than steamed rice.
Next was the Mixed Asian vegetables which was also delicious and flavoursome; the vegetables were steamed well yet crunchy and made the perfect accompaniment to the dumplings.
The next dish was the Sichuan pepper chicken. Again, a brilliant dish so full of flavour from the Sichuan peppercorns but without its numbing heat. Another delicious dish that I would recommend.
The last was the roast pork belly; the pork was just perfectly cooked, melt in your mouth and so full of flavour. Served with pickled veggies, this is another one you must try.
To summarize, a delicious and satisfying meal in a great ambience; I am definitely going back here.
My rating – 7.5/10
Ground floor, Shop 068/69
Melbourne Central Shopping Centre
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Phone: 03 9066 0207
Disclaimer – This is not a sponsored post; all the food and drinks were paid for by me.