Dragon Boat is something of a Melbourne Yum Cha institution, and one I can remember having dropped in on once every few years since I was about 5 years old. There are also a few other Dragon Boat’s around town, but I have the feeling their numbers have dwindled some what.
Nonetheless… I don’t hate this place, but I didn’t love it either. I thoroughly neutraled it. It has been a while since I’d been to Yum Cha so I was pretty excited, and realistically I don’t think I could have BEEN totally disappointed. However, there were definitely a few things lacking. The carts that did come around seemed to have the same dishes over and over. You could order other dishes but make sure you catch one of the floating waiters who are actually able to go to the kitchen, because if you ask one of the cart waiters, they will just nod, say it’s coming, and then nothing will ever happen as they just keep pushing their cart around in little circles. The Char Siu Bao were evidently home made but rather shoddy and rushed, and the flavour was a bit off what you would expect, but still fluffy and tasty. Too few options without prawns.
However, the most disappointing thing was that the hallowed dessert cart never eventuated. Well after we had finished with dumplings we sat, waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and the dessert cart never came around, so eventually we gave up and decided to just go somewhere else to buy our egg tarts, as there are certainly plenty of bakeries and dumpling outlets around Chinatown and the CBD that aren’t dim sum style. When we went to pay, we saw the dessert cart shoved unattended in a corner behind a bunch of other carts. Also, on the way out, I saw several tables with classic yum cha dishes that had never come around to our corner of the dining room.
The food wasn’t mind blowing but was nonetheless satisfying enough for a general dumpling experience, however the disappointing aspect came from the lack of variety making it’s way around the room. If you have been eating yum cha all your life you will always have a few favourites to look forward to, so it’s kind of a let down when those don’t eventuate.