I am a massive fan of dumplings – to put it bluntly, I can’t get enough of them!
Dumplings and buns in a word are YUM! So, when we were in Surry Hills I thought it would be rude to pass up the opportunity to go to Bamboo Dumpling Bar for a light snack to satisfy our rumbling tums at which point were demanding to be fed.
Located by the Royal Albert Hotel, I have been to Bamboo Dumpling Bar just once before when I first arrived in Sydney and I have been craving a repeat visit ever since.
Don’t let first impressions put you off though. The restaurant does look a little grimy and crumbling on the outside (and inside as well I suppose), but the food they cook is utterly delicious.
The first thing that strikes me upon entering the Bamboo Dumpling Bar is the hanging bird cages from the ceiling – this small restaurant definitely has a quirky appeal and sense of character and is full of long benches, I guess to get the most capacity as possible and is a common sight in many Asian restaurants.
You could probably fit around 50 – 70 people here, but when we arrived at around 2.30pm it was pretty empty with about 10 people. The floor is also uneven and on a slope which can make sitting a little wonky.
Every day there is a house special and today being Sunday was the turn of the Mixed Dumplings Plate which cost $10 for 6 dumplings which I decided to order. Other daily specials at the Bamboo Dumpling Bar throughout the week include Salt and Pepper Squid ($10), or Peking Duck with rice and greens ($15).
We also shared BBQ Pork Buns, Chilli Beef Buns, (both $12 for 3 pieces) and Peking duck pancakes with hoisin sauce ($14 for 3 pieces).
We didn’t have to wait long for our food and the dishes came out as soon as they were ready, which I love as it means I don’t immediately stuff myself silly with delicious food and let the other dishes go cold or get over-full.
It was advertised as three pieces on a plate, but they made them up to four pieces, probably because there were two of us and there would be equal amounts. I’m glad they did this as there might have been a fight for the third pancake or bun, which could have ended up nasty! I also noticed that we were not charged for these additional pieces which was really nice.
The first dish to come out were the Peking duck pancakes which looked fantastic and slightly crispy on the outside. There was plenty of hoisin sauce to dip the pancakes into and the duck was very tender and was accompanied by crunchy cucumber inside the pancake. This was my favourite dish out of the whole meal and I could so easily have eaten another plate full of these pancakes.
After this, the BBQ Pork Buns made an appearance along with the Chilli Beef Buns. I preferred the BBQ Pork Buns, but both were good. For me, it would have been great if the Chilli Beef Buns had an extra kick of heat from chilli to make the Beef Buns live up to the ‘’chilli’’ part in their name.
The last dish to come out was my Mixed Dumplings Plate which was served with hot chilli sauce. I loved the pork and chive dumplings and pork and prawn dumplings, but I was not such a fan of the vegetarian gow gee and mushroom gow gee. These dumplings are thicker and a bit chewier and were not bursting full of flavour as the other dumplings which was disappointing.
Overall, I had a very pleasant light meal. The service was attentive and friendly, although slightly on the pricey side if it had been the prices per three pieces, but as our dishes had four pieces it worked out reasonable, especially as we had an Entertainment Card which gave us an extra 25% off the bill.
Bamboo Dumpling Bar - I will definitely be back to try out some of your other dishes and return for those Peking Duck Pancakes and yummy dumplings!