229 Exhibition St, Melbourne CBD
Phone: 9663 1888
I was excited when I first came across Dumpling Sisters. I was walking home after going to the gym, and upon seeing the cutesy logo, I was ruing the fact I’d already stopped off for dinner right after my workout. I started tweeting about the place, assuring @jeroxie that it actually existed, and wasn’t a mirage of oily goodness in the wilds of Exhibition St. Well I finally got around to visiting it post-gym last week.
While I’m all for simple and unassuming decor, I think I would really have enjoyed eating at Dumpling Sisters more if it weren’t for the unrelenting fluorescent lighting. Combined with freshly painted white walls, it’s confronting in the same way an industrial factory cafeteria would be, I imagine. Or the way eating in a 7-11 would be. The service, however, was attentive and exceedingly smiley. Such a far cry from the surly demeanour of the staff of the-dumpling-place-that-must-not-be-named. I’m not sure if there’s a self-service station I wasn’t aware of, but I had to ask for a bowl for my dipping sauce. It came with sincere apologies and mild embarrassment on the part of the waitress.
I’m thankful it was a post-gym visit, because then I didn’t feel quite so guilty about ordering the pan-fried pork dumplings (12 for $7.80).
They were pretty good, but not the best I’ve had – probably in the league of Chinatown Dumpling, but not quite Shanghai Village, Dumplings Plus or Hu Tong. And I have to say, for pan-fried dumplings, there certainly was someting of a deep-fried quality to these dumplings. Which made me feel a little guilty, so I ordered a side dish of celery and peanuts ($3).
These are cold, and the salt is offset by the sweetness of the celery and carrot. Don’t be scared by the chilli flakes; it’s really not spicy at all. It was quite moreish, actually.
I didn’t find my first visit to the Dumpling Sisters (and yes, I think the owners are two middle-aged Chinese sisters) all that stellar, but it’s not a bad place, if you can get past the lighting.