So I decided to try out more items on the menu at the Dickson Dumpling House after having a dinner banquet here with work colleagues. I made a reservation for Saturday night and we showed up on time. When I told the waitress of my booking, she yelled out something in Chinese to a fellow waitress behind the counter. Then left without saying anything to us. We stood to the side wondering what was happening. A few minutes later, a different waitress came up to us to ask if we’d been served. I again mentioned I had a booking. The waitress behind the counter piped up again in Chinese to say something to the waitress in front of me. Similarly to the first waitress, she left us without saying anything. After waiting a little while longer, a table was finally ready for us. I’m assuming they had to clear some tables but a little bit of communication would’ve been nice.
There is a pretty long list of dumplings on offer. My partner and I decided on the boiled prawn and pumpkin ($10.80), boiled combination ($11.80), and pan fried tomato and egg dumplings ($10.80).
Again, this place was PACKED. There was a queue of people without reservations waiting to get a table. There were also several people coming in and out with takeaway. It was almost annoying, as being a cold Canberra Winter’s night, a gush of cold air would burst in every time the door opened.
The service is very quick here. Within less than 20 minutes of ordering, some of our dishes started to come out.
One of the reasons why I ordered the prawn and pumpkin dishes was because it’s so different. The prawn and pumpkin worked quite well together. The combination dumplings were okay but there was nothing really special about them.
|Back – combination, Front – prawn and pumpkin|
The pan fried tomato and egg dumplings were recommended by a work colleague. These are also quite unique so I was happy to try them out. Oddly enough, the tomato and egg worked well together and I enjoyed the slightly crispy dumplings.
|Pan fried tomato and egg dumplings|
We also ordered two main dishes. The pepper beef with hand-made noodles was our favourite of the night. The noodles were fresh and thick (almost like udon noodles). The slivers of beef were tasty and you could taste the fresh pepper.
The tea-smoked duck was a recommendation of another work colleague. It came out still sizzling on the hot plate. First thing I noticed was it was all meat. No bones! Quite unusual in a duck dish as most Asian restaurants tend to serve you more bones than meat. With the first bite, the smokiness really hits you. I thought it overpowered the dish too much. We then noticed that one of the ends was burnt to charcoal, completely black and inedible. Perhaps they had overcooked the dish resulting in the over-exaggerated smokiness. My partner did not like this dish and wouldn’t touch it after his first mouthful.
We also ordered fried rice (no photo) which came out soggy and slightly gluggy. They’d put too much water in the rice. There are some hit and miss dishes at the Dickson Dumpling House.
Hits: Shredded dry chilli beef, shantung lamb, pepper beef with hand-made noodles
Misses: Honey prawns, fried rice, soft shell crab
The dumplings are average. But considering it is probably one of two restaurants in Canberra that have a vast dumpling list (the other being Shanghai Dumpling Cafe in New Acton) it’s the best Canberran’s will get. Though for Costco members, I do recommend grabbing the frozen pack of 40 hargow (prawn dumplings) for under $14. They taste pretty damn good.
I highly recommend going to Sydney’s Din Tai Fung (at World Square) for their awesome dumplings packed with flavour. You can even watch the 20+ people in the kitchen, on hand specifically to churn out the dumplings for that day. In Melbourne, Hutong Dumpling Bar is also a great place for delicious dumplings.