New Royal Garden
562 High Street Road, Glen Waverley VIC
(03) 9886 1388
BYO: Yes, $1.50 corkage per person
Price (yum cha): $3.80 standard, $5.00 special, $5.50 deluxe, tea $1.50 per person
Parking: Free on-site car parking
Visited: April 2009
New Royal Garden is an eastern suburbs instituition for Asian families. My family has been coming here since I was a kid, but back then I ate whatever was put in front of me and my tastebuds didn’t know any better!
As I mentioned in a post before, my hubby was craving yum cha so this time we remembered to book our spot to avoid disappointment. I’m not sure that making a booking at weekend yum cha really does anything at New Royal Garden because you still end up waiting 20 – 25 mins for a table anyway.
It seemed like bad management and organisation was the cause of the wait because there were plenty of empty tables but no-one was being shown to them, and in the mean time, the waiting area continued to expand. I saw a table for two open up in the far away outside area and I was muttering under my breath, “Please don’t put us there, please don’t put us there, please don’t put us there.” The host must have heard me because guess where we ended up?
The outside area is a long narrow space next to the windows, put up as an afterthought to allow more customers. I knew as soon as I saw it while standing in the waiting area that we were not going to get served if we sat here. The outdoor area is not trolley friendly so you basically have to know what to order. There is also no way to signal the waiters, you have to wait until they come outside.
One of the worse things about sitting in the outside area is that you are right next to the windows, peering in hungrily at those inside, selecting the food from the trolleys that you will never get to see! Occasionally a waitress came outside with a tray of dishes, but it was a poor sample of what was actually available.
To prevent starvation, we ended up having to order our usual selection that we knew how to pronounce in Cantonese.
First up was the chicken pie. Hubby has just recently started liking yum cha chicken pie and I have to humour him by eating the other one! This chicken pie was room temperature and the crust was too thick and sweet.
Next came the salt & pepper squid. I will only order them if they are battered. These were good – the batter was light and crispy and the tentacles themselves weren’t too hard and chewy.
Next up, the har cheong (steamed rice rolls with prawn). There were actually 3 prawns in each roll which wasn’t too bad, but they were just ordinary.
Next was the beancurd prawn rolls. This was the tastiest dish we had, but they were dripping with oil. I used up a serviette just soaking the oil from one roll… very off-putting.
Next was the hum sui kok (deep fried crescent dumplings filled with pork). There was hardly any filling in these and the outer skin was too thick. They remained crispy though.
Next was the har gao (steamed prawn dumplings). They were quite large and the filling was nice.
Lastly came the siu mai (pork and prawn dumplings). I don’t think I tasted any prawn in this at all and the dumpling meat was a bit hard and dry like it had been overcooked.
While I was trying to find the right English word to describe hum sui kok, I came across this useful yum cha guide. Well, it’s not really a guide, it is a Sydney restaurant’s menu, but it is helpful to know what is what. I would highly recommend printing this out if you go to Hong Kong since a lot of authentic places have no trolleys or English menus!
One thing I don’t like about yum cha here is that you don’t know how much the dishes cost. Each dish is classified into one of 3 categories, usually along the lines of standard, special and deluxe, and each category has a fixed price. Even if you knew the fixed price, you wouldn’t know how each dish is classed until they stamp your “sheet”. I have heard of places being dodgy and stamping/marking extra when they think no-one is looking or calculating your bill incorrectly so it pays count the number of dishes and make sure they are charging you the right amount.
The bill was reasonable for 7 dishes but the quality was borderline and the experience was bad, so I wouldn’t go back when there are so many other yum cha places.
Over & Out, Rilsta xx