Sometimes the best planned ideas go awry. I often talk about my insane love for egg tarts (I’ve even baked my own before!) and I had plans for an egg tart tasting. A group of egg tart lovers would buy an assortment of egg tarts, get together, and then we’d EAT THEM ALL. After some chatting back and forth, it was decided that we have lunch beforehand at Tao Tao House, thanks to an excellent suggestion made by Allan.
However, unexpectedly several people had to drop out, causing us to cancel the egg tart tasting. Boo hoo! At least we kept the plans to go to Tao Tao House for yum cha.
Tao Tao House opened early this year on Glenferrie Road and is run by a father and son team, Jason and Eric Au. Jason Au was once the head dim sum chef at Flower Drum for nearly 20 years, and more recently worked at Donnie’s Golden Dragon Palace for 5 years. Impressive resume!
We were there at the early session of 11AM on a Saturday, and it was about 80% full. We ate and ordered a lot, and stayed until it was nearly time for the 1PM session. Surprisingly none of the staff tried to hurry us along so they could clear the table – a bit unusual for a Saturday yum cha session!
On to the food. If there’s one dim sum that I heartily dislike, it’s the common sui mai. I never order it at yum cha because I find it so boring. However, Tao Tao House have a scallop and pork version, which I was surprised to enjoy – it had a well flavoured filling with a good “bouncy” texture.
The best dish was the beef tendon – it had been cooked until tender and gelatinous in a lightly spicy sauce. It was really, really good. We liked it so much we had another basket.
The rice noodles / cheong fun were slightly disappointing. We tried one shrimp, and one beef and enoki version. Sadly, while the shrimp inside the rice noodles were fine, the noodles themselves were too soft. And the beef and enoki version was – to be frank – bleurgh. I’m not an enoki fan at the best of times, and I thought they gave the cheong fun a very unpleasant flavour.
However, other dishes were much better. I really liked the har gao / prawn dumpling.
The fun of yum cha when someone else does all the ordering, is that you sometimes get something you can’t identify. This was some random dumpling!
There were a few things I didn’t eat (too busy stuffing myself with tendon), like these chive dumplings.
Nor did I eat the bean curd skin stuffed with chicken.
But I enjoyed the soft tofu topped with fish paste
As well as the chicken feet, that were nicely tender.
These weren’t something I would normally order, but the char siew sou / chinese roast pork in pastry was pretty good. I enjoyed the crumbly pastry.
Again, not something I would normally order, but it was interesting to try these rice paper wrapped prawns were interesting. They had been fried, so the wrapper was crispy, and they were served with mayo on the side.
And the last of the savoury – steamed pork buns are Alastair’s favourite yum cha dish, so we had to get a basket for him.
Normally at yum cha, I don’t eat dessert apart from an egg tart (which is a necessity). However, Dessert King Allan went ahead and ordered several desserts while we weren’t looking. I quite liked these mango pancakes, despite the radioactive looking sauce! The pancake was nicely fluffy, and I think they were filled with ice cream.
These mochi like rice balls were covered with coconut and filled with ice cream. They were great – so similar to mochi with that chewy outer.
The custard egg buns were also very good – the smooth yellow filling surrounded by a soft, fluffy bun. I liked that they weren’t too sweet or eggy.
And of course – we finished with a plate of egg tarts.
To be honest, I don’t expect much of yum cha when I’m in Melbourne but I was pleasantly surprised by Tao Tao House. I even thought that when mum and dad are back in town, I may take them there for yum cha. They are the most critical people regarding food that I know, and I think Tao Tao House might even pass their standard! For all that food, the bill came to $27 each for 6 people, which I think is reasonable considering how much we ate. I’ll definitely return again.
For more posts on Tao Tao House see:
As well as these fans:
[googleMap name="Tao Tao House" width="600" height="300" directions_to="false"]815 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn, VIC 3122 Australia[/googleMap]
Tao Tao House
815 Glenferrie Road
Phone: 03 9818 0968