I should start by saying that this will be an entirely biased review. I love the Dickson Dumpling House – I go there all the time. I actually drive 25 minutes to get take-away from the Dickson Dumpling House, ignoring the 15 other Chinese takeaways that are closer to me house, because I’m slightly obsessed.
I was first introduced to the Dumpling House about 5 years ago by two of my vegetarian friends and we used to go out there often for Saturday lunches. Sadly, both of those friends are no longer with us and as a result I like to go to Dickson Dumpling House to remind me of them. I still laugh looking at the shallot cakes on the menu, remembering how my friend used to eat 6 of them (plus all the other things he’d ordered).
The restaurant is located on the far end of Dickson, across the road from Sub-urban, and is easily accessible from the car park under the apartments on Challis Street. It is a fairly large restaurant with basic décor, and a cool open window behind the main counter, where you can watch your dumplings being made.
As is tradition, we went to Dickson Dumpling House to celebrate my brother’s birthday last week. I went there for my birthday last year too. And we went there for my sister’s too… well, you get the idea…
We made sure to book our table of four, as the restaurant is always packed with people, and it definitely was on this Sunday evening. One of the many staff escorted us to our table towards the back of the restaurant, and we tried to take our seats. I say ‘tried’ because the tables are so close together and on an awkward diamond layout – it makes it awkward to sit without hitting something behind you… and for me it was the tiny girl seated behind who was sat about 4 metres away from her table, with her handbag on her lap. RUDE! I hate people sometimes. Despite my efforts to alert her to the fact that she was being an inconsiderate b*tch, she didn’t budge and I ended up on an awkward side of the table, half out in the walkway, where I got banged in to by every person walking past for the rest of the night.
If I hadn’t have been to Dumpling House a hundred times and hadn’t have known that this was how it usually went down, I would have been pretty angry. But that’s the Dickson Dumpling House, it’s a fast paced eating experience – everyone is packed in and the staff are always running around like mad people. It’s fantastic fun.
Having been to Dumpling House quite a few times, it took us about 10 seconds to decide what we wanted to order… it then took us 10 minutes to flag down a staff member to take our order. This is pretty unusual for them, though. Normally they come over to take your order really quickly. I did notice a few new faces on that night, so I’ll put it down to newbie training (I went back the following Tuesday and they were quick again). Thankfully the person taking our order remembered to ask us whether we wanted our dumplings and entrees first – if they forget to ask, and you forget to ask, then you’ll end up with everything you’ve ordered on the table and no space to move.
After they took our order, I ran off to the condiments stand to get a bowl full of chilli paste, chilli sauce (a type of sriracha I think) and soy sauce. I call this “the concoction”. I put all three in the bottom of my bowl and dip my dumplings in – delicious.
The food comes out fast, fresh and fecking hot! I always have to leave my dumplings for a good 5-10 minutes before eating them, to save myself from burning off all my taste buds. As usual I got the Vegetable pan fried dumplings.
I love these dumplings – they are the closest thing I’ve ever had to true love. You get 10 dumplings on a plate, perfectly formed mouthfuls of bliss. Something about the flavours of the vegetable ones just work for me, which is funny because I’m not even sure what’s in there – I just know that they are perfect when dunked in “the concoction”. I always like to get the pan fried ones too, as this gives it a little extra crunch – but the boiled ones are delicious as well.
My brother is the complete opposite of me, he doesn’t like the vege dumplings, but loves the pork ones (which I am not overly keen on). I have also made my friends try the vege ones, but they preferred the pork as well – so it’s all about what you like.
My sister ordered the Chicken San Choy Bow for her entrée.
The San Choy Bow here is seriously good, lots of chicken, onion, garlic, vegies and tofu all cooked up and then places in handy little lettuce leaves. It’s really tasty – and you feel like you’re eating healthy! It is gluten free (unless you could the gluten in the soy sauce), and has nothing too bad in it, except maybe the fried tofu… okay, it’s not that healthy, but it’s yummy. And I think it’s even better with chilli sauce drizzled on top!
For main I ordered the Shan Tung Lamb.
I was actually quite disappointed with this dish. I usually get the Shan Tung Chicken or Duck, but decided to go something different and try the Lamb. I decided that Lamb doesn’t lend itself well to be coated and deep fried like that. It’s just too fatty a meat to start with, and I felt like I was just eating fat – fat with a delicious sauce. I love the sauce they use at Dumpling House for their Shan Tung dishes, so I would highly recommend the dish, just with a different meat.
Mum ordered the Satay Beef.
The satay beef is always consistent good here, a basic flavour done really well. The meat is tender and the sauce is full of good flavour – never do you feel like you’re eating something artificial.
A and his boyfriend, C, ordered the Chilli Basil Chicken with handmade noodle and the Singapore shredded dry chilli beef to share.
These two dishes are two of my other favourites at Dumpling House so I was pretty happy the boys ordered them, the shredded beef in particular. The shredded beef is suitable crunchy, without being impossible to eat, and the sauce is flavoursome and plentiful. The sauce can be a little sweet for some, but I love it. The chilli is quite subtle, which is good if you’re not great with spices.
The Chilli Basil Chicken with handmade noodle is A and C’s staple dish at Dumpling House. The noodles are deliciously fresh, and the chicken and sauce are tasty, but once again not too hot.
The service at Dumpling House is a bit average, but my general rule is that I never trust an Asian restaurant with good service. I have no idea why, but bad service usually equates to awesome food. They staff are always busy and get annoyed when you stop them to ask a question, but if you’re like us and you know what you want, you’ll get a no-nonsense experience – order, get food, pay for food. We have a few favourite staff members who know us, which is both a little bit sad and a little bit awesome.
In short, in case you couldn’t tell, I highly recommend the Dickson Dumpling House.