I Love Dumplings, 311 Racecourse Road, Flemington. Phone: 9372 5218
The restaurant also known as Chinese Spicy and Barbie Kitchen appears to have bowed to the obvious and inevitable by embracing I Love Dumplings as its major name.
It’s also moved a few doors up the road – into what was once a bank building.
On the outside, it’s drab, box-like appearance still reeks of financial sector.
Inside, and after a no-doubt expensive and extensive makeover, it looks like, well, a Chinese restaurant.
With a happy, big mid–week lunch crowd in attendance and a vinegary tang in the air, it sounds and smells like one, too.
Team CTS is today two robust appetites and one not so much.
We order smartly and stick solely to dumplings – or almost – in celebration of the management’s embracing of the dumpling love mantra.
The lunch menu (see below), mind you, has a lot of very well priced and interesting non-dumpling dishes about the $10 mark that will make this a lunch hot spot for sure.
We spend about $10 per head and eat like kings.
Pan-fried chicken corn dumplings ($9.80 for 15) are extreme in terms of plainness but taste beaut, the lovely chicken meat having enough corn kernels to provide flavour and texture lifts.
Steamed pork and spring onion buns ($11.80 for six) are, we are assured, quite different from the regular BBQ pork buns.
We don’t find that to be the case, but they’re a hit anyway – quite delicate, and with enough moistness in the filling to offset the doughy exteriors.
Steamed vegetarian dumplings in Sichuan chili sauce ($9.80 for 15) are our best dish.
The soy-based, thin sauce has enough of a spice kick to make the already fab dumplings really sing.
The parcels are packed with all sorts of goodies that make the absence of any sort of animal protein an irrelevance.
Do dogs dig dumplings?
The guide dog trainers of two lovely labs that have been in the house for lunch-time assure us they would if they could!