Shark Fin House – 131 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

It was a nice Saturday Morning, we all woke up late and took our time, the womnders of being on a holiday and not having to think to much, or worry or lose my temper though it has happened a few times too many I might add.

So off we went to Little Bourke Street in Chinatown in the city for Yum Cha with one of my best friend Frances, her husband Saxon and it would also be the first time that I would meet their little daughters Havana and Sade.

We reached there and there was already a line outside the lift. Shark Fin House operates on two time schedules a day.  So we were in the second time slot which was 1.30 to well I am not too sure. We entered the restaurant that was three stories high and it was full to the brim. Being the not too small person that I am it was a chose getting through without knocking other customers.  This was my first put off. Because everyone felt the same way.  Now in a few minutes time Saxon and Frances would come too and with their stroller, it was next to impossible to go thorough as well.  I was just imagining if somethign went wrong in the kitchen and how we might be able to escape.

So we started to eat as trolleys of Dim Sum appeared from time to time For a start, I found the Dim Sum to be rather big, and not as dainty as it should be. I have eaten Dim Sum many a time in Australia and was rather shocked to see the size of it.  First was the baked Char Siu which was encased in pastry, and it filling that I thought was rather dry and too sweet.  Nothing dainty or tasty about the first Dim Sum.  Then we got s dim sum which had a base of capsicum, topped with fish paste and a scallop steamed and then topped with cheese and then grilled.  Now to me Dim Sum should be something that can be eaten with two bites. One sometimes if you have a big mouth like me. But this one took me four bites. It was huge and while taste wise it was nice, but daintiness scale an absolute zero!

Vegetarian Dumplings was next on the list, more so on the trolley that came with a lot of things we did not like, now this is the first time I have vegetarian dumplings that had a curry puff fold and again the skin was think and it was too big.  Maybe the bigness was because this was Australia, but looking around the restaurant, there were hardly anyone non Asian except my table and a few other mixed tables. We quite liked this dumpling though, but for the price we paid which was between $7.50 to $8.50, this was something you would find in a not too fine Chinese Take Away.  Still though, the restaurant was full so I guess I was the only one complaining.

We had another prawn based Dim Sum, this too was big, and not very attractive and if you notice, almost every plate had an uplift, which was Cabbage Leaves.  I did not taste this because by now I was losing interest.  The Prawns Stuffed Mushrooms were next, again no attempt to neaten then prawn meat onto the mushroom, it was plonked on with a teaspoon., topped with salted egg yolk and steamed.

Squid tentacles was next and this was a cost saving dim sum as usually squid meat was used to make the various Dim Sum dishes but often enough the tentacles would not be used, so they spiced the tentacles and deep fried it.  Little Sade who was teething enjoyed it thoroughly.

Char Siew Pao, hmmm…. Well you cannot go wrong with this but again BIG… We ordered two baskets and it took a lot of time to finish it.  I found the meat too porky for my liking and the meat was too big. Loh Pak Koh served here was too sticky for my liking and it did not really go down well with the Australians on my table.  It was not even finished.  The others thought it was not cooked. 

The Char Siew was also horrible, to the extent of insulting.  Big pieces of meat on a plate firstly was not appetizing, and did not even taste nice.  By the way we ordered Har Gau when we started ordering the in the beginning of the meal and it still did not come after asking for it twice.   The Prawn Cheong Fun was fair, the Pork Cheong Fun, now I have eaten better Pork Cheong Fun, in small stalls in Malaysia.  This was big pieces of char siew steamed together with rice noodles. 

Dessert  was fruits. No one can go wrong with fruits. Almond Jelly was served with canned mixed fruit, and we also had rock melon sago which looked as bad as it tasted.  The saviour of the day to me was the custard tart and the Coconut Tart. 

Finally the Har Gau came, it was so so, we were full and not interested anymore.  Verdict for Sharkfin Dim Sum… don’t bother.  It was a waste of time because I am sure there exists much better restaurants serving these glorious morsels in a more dignified way.  I personally feel the this place is short of staff and the few staff they have No Spik the English well. The good thing was I was with friends I had not seen for a while.  That really made my day.

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2 responses to “Shark Fin House – 131 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

  1. Do you think maybe you didn’t enjoy Shark Fin’s Dim Sum because you were too intent on comparing to other Dim Sum you’ve sampled in Australia? I hope you realise that Dim Sum is not actually Australian, but came from Asia – and your comment that there were hardly any non-Asians around actually sounds to me like you had an authentic Dim Sum dining experience. Just not one that was palatable to you.

    • Hello,
      Gosh this was two years ago, but I didn’t forget the sharks fin dim sum simply because it was just big and looked like it would coverthe whole plate if it was placed on one. The whole dim sum experience was shocking that day and trust me I have eaten dim sum in different parts of Australia. I am from Malaysia by the way so I know my Dim Sum…sadly it was suppose to be the best but it was rather shocking. no finesse for some reason. But still the place was packed..

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