When I travel to Christchurch for work, I try to spend an extra day with my parents where possible, and take the opportunity to see what new eateries have opened up. A lot of restaurants in the CBD have closed due to the earthquakes, and diners are now having to scramble for the remaining ones outside the Red Zone and affected areas.
Red Bowl Chinese Restaurant (57 Mandiville Street, Riccarton, Ph: 03-3483688) opened in 2010 and has quickly gathered a following, especially for yum cha. The yum cha dishes range in price from $3.40 – $4.50 each, and are served on order; there are no yum cha trolleys here.
Ox tripe in bean sauce ($3.40) was nicely flavoured with chilli oil, but was too soft. Perfectly cooked tripe should still have a slight crunch to the bite.
The deep-fried eggplant ($4.50) in black bean sauce was delicious. The crunchy batter gave way to the soft eggplant blanketed with a savoury black bean sauce.
I always order chicken feet when I have yum cha (it’s just a novelty, as there is no way I would ever cook this at home, the mess, the effort). This was done in a bean sauce ($3.40), and was quite tasty even though the sauce was a bit thin.
I enjoyed the steam bean curd sheet roll ($3.40), the crunchy juliennes of carrot, wood ear fungus and water chestnuts melded beautifully against the chewy bean curd sheet.
Deep-fried squid ($4.00) was moorish, though a bit oily.
I enjoyed the shanghai pork dumplings ($4.00) and the fried chive dumplings ($4.00). The pork dumplings weren’t soupy, but was nicely savoury, and the chive dumplings were delicious.
I like to finish a yum cha feast with egg tarts ($3.40). These had the requisite melting layers of pastry, but the egg custard was a bit insipid in flavour.
In general, the dishes are above average and the presentation is a step above some of the other places in Christchurch. Most of the dishes would only need some tweaking to perfect.