East Ocean took the brave step a while ago of dispensing with the trolleys and giving you the option of ticking what you want on a form, though there are some wait staff carrying around other dishes on trays. It makes for a much more sedate yum cha experience, and takes away the bustling and some of the fun. Its not quite the same if you can’t wave away a pushy trolly dolly, or peer eagerly into the steaming baskets to unearth the contents.
Overall it was a bit hit and miss – some dishes worked well others didn’t – it seems to be about knowing what to order here. I doubt I’ll be back - I’ll stick to my old favourites, Marigold and Palace.
On the menu:
Yum cha isn’t yum cha without a bit of salt and pepper. We started with salt and pepper calamari, the stalwart, and some salt and pepper whitebait. The first was as it should be – bit of punch and tender calamari. The whitebait was cold and we had to send it back, but even the replacement was lukewarm – it was very average and could have been fabulous if cooked well (and served hot!).
Next was the beans with mince pork. Dish of the day. I’ve had the Din Tai Fung version (excellent), the Mr Wong version, and the Lynn Shanghai Cuisine version (both a bit bland). This was flavoursome and with a nice hit of chilli.
The dumplings overall where a little ho hum - we had a scallop and seafood, the snow pea and seafood and the Shanghai style pork dumplings.
The fried rice also average, but the soy marinated chicken and bbq pork combo was tender and well flavoured. The bbq pork puffs had nice flaky pastry but needed more filling.
It is however a great Cheap Eat, you can do it for under $20 a person – but there are other better choices.
East Ocean, 421 – 429 Sussex St, Haymarket Ph (02) 9212 4918