273 Swanston St, Melbourne(Ph) 9663 6663
Taiwan Cafe had been open for a few weeks, there was always a line outside, no matter what time of the day it was. One time we walked past at 4pm and there was no line so we decided to go in, but it was "Cash Only" here so we had to go to the ATM to get cash, and by the time we got out there was a line outside already =____=
We had heard mixed responses from this cafe - some people say it's not bad but others say it's too hyped up and not that great at all. Still we knew we had to try it at least once =)
V was in Melbourne for a few days, and we initially wanted to go to Hutong Dumpling Bar but they were booked out for the night and we wanted dumplings so we decided to see if we could get a table at Taiwan Cafe. And tada - we got a table on a weeknight at 6.30pm!
It looks like a very typical Swanston St Asian restaurant, tightly packed tables with 100% Asian students/young adults lol.
We decided to order the "awesome" dishes of the cafe - so all of the dishes below are "awesome", except for the Xiao Long Bao which I decided we had to order 'cause I just love XLBs =)
We started off with Chicken Drum - fried chicken drumettes with pepper seasoning, lightly coated in bread crumbs - 4 pieces for $5.90
KFC goodness lol =P The meat is cut off the bone so extra crunchy and extra oily =P Who calls these drumettes?! Aren't they drumLETS?? Actually I just looked it up and it can be called either lol.
P wanted the Taiwanese Style Pork Belly Burger - steam bun filled soya marinated pork belly, pickled bok choy, crushed peanuts and coriander $6.60 - we were reminiscing the delicious one tasted at The Booth! But they had run out for the night - boo =(
So instead, we ordered Beef Wrap - spring onion wrap with soya marinated beef slices garnished with spring onion and plum sauce $9.00
It's like an Asian souvlaki - but plum sauce instead of tzatziki, and beef slices instead of lamb =P The beef was marinated and not dry like the meat in a souvlaki - was yum!
V wanted Pan-fried Pork Dumplings - a house specialty - 12 for $9.50
|Pan-Fried Pork Dumplings|
Looks pretty good! I love it how they fry them all at once and the sauce leaks out and becomes a crunchy base! But it means there's less juice inside the dumplings but was still very moist and the skin was quite thin =)
I got my Xiao Long Bao - steamed juicy pork dumplings - 6 for $7.20
|Xiao Long Bao|
Which was actually a disappointment. I actually thought they'd be pretty good given they give vinegar with real ginger slices, as opposed to the XLB at Taste Gallery in Brisbane. But each XLB was broken before we even touched it..
So all the juice leaked out - it just tasted like a normal steamed dumpling, nothing special =(
P wanted a rice dish so he got the Black Pepper Pork Chop - grilled pork cutlet dressed with black pepper sauce with onion & seasonal vegetable with rice $9.50
|Black Pepper Pork Chop|
Looks a bit sad - there was only 2 very thin slices of pork chop and the "seasonal vegetables" was a few pieces of wombok - lame! P was quite disappointed, but I said it didn't look very nice in the picture anyway, though it was meant to be an "awesome" dish =/ Should have ordered the Three Cup Chicken Rice instead - that actually looked nice in the picture =P
6/10 - the pan-fried dumplings and the beef wrap were good, but the rest were not that great =/
2/5 - we tried to get their attention for ages to get some serviettes, which they didn't provide - they should really know given we use our hands to eat the chicken drumettes =___=
1/5 - very loud and very packed, but it's what you expect on a Swanston St Asian restaurant =P
Now that I've tried it not sure if I'll come back again... maybe when it's not so hyped up and there's actually room to breathe inside lol =P