Many a Sydneysider would consider yum cha a real crowd favourite for a daytime catch up and indulgent food fest. Usually it's all over by mid afternoon, but now another Sydney modern Chinese joint has added all day yum cha dining to its regular a la carte menu and we've got to say, it's rather good.
Hulu at King Street Wharf is a fairly recent addition to the upmarket King Street Wharf dining precinct, popular with out of towners and city workers. A multilevel dining space complete with outdoor tables and a lovely balcony area overlooking the water, it's understandably gaining its momentum as a venue for special occasions or just sunny Sydney days.
Hulu at King Street Wharf adds a modern spin to traditional Chinese flavours with elements of Japanese and French inspiration. The kitchen prides itself on an innovative take on Chinese culinary tradition, served in an attractive waterside venue with stunning views and attractive decor.
And now the venue has expanded its offerings with a comprehensive all day yum cha service. Oh yes.
While the regular menu adds elements of Australian and other modern fusion dining to Chinese dishes, and perhaps is geared to its more Westernised crowd given the venue's location, the yum cha menu is mostly full of classics. And they do them well.
Steamed prawn dumplings (har gow) are one such item and are a useful benchmark for comparing yum cha venues. Hulu's iteration passes with flying colours ($9.80 for 4). Big chunks of tasty prawn are enveloped in translucent, slightly chewy tapioca-based dumpling pastry and perfect dunked in soy and chili sauce on the way to your mouth.
Prawn rice rolls ($12.80 for a large serve) are another good seafood dish with a decent amount of prawn per serving and overall good quality flavours, The serving size was more generous than we expected too.
Hulu speciality "Nemo dumplings" is an adorable steamer basket dish of four pork and prawn dumplings cleverly fashioned into fish shapes ($16.80 for 4). Gimmick aside, these cute little dumplings actually also taste delicious and we are so happy to see flavour not being compromised for the aesthetic.
In the 'Baked and Fried' section is another fun Hulu invention of pear-shaped "Crispy & cheesy prawn dumplings" ($14.80 for 3). Tasting nothing like pear, these are decadent deep fried dumplings (with pastry texture similar to their football-shaped pork equivalent found on other dim sum menus) with an unexpectedly tasty filling of a few pieces on prawn in a light cheesy sauce. It's peculiar but it kind of works.
Crispy squid tentacles ($14.80 for a big bowl full) are served hot with a tasty chili oil for dunking, and a bowl of poached prawn wontons (6 for $9.8) has an interesting peppery dark soy flavour.
Also on the yum cha menu are siu mai (dim sims), various other steamed dumplings such as snow pea, scallop & prawn and vegetarian, xiao long bao soup dumplings, sticky rice, BBQ pork buns, chicken feet, several congees, greens, egg tarts, jelly and sweet soups.
On the regular menu are a host of meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes accompanied by a range of entrees, snacks and desserts.
Sweet and sour pork served on ice ($29.80) is a signature dish and is certainly something unique. As the plate sits you can experience the way the flavours change as the sweet crispy pork morsels go from piping hot and crunchy to cooler on the outside yet still warm on the inside, and almost chilled through if you leave the last few pieces long enough.
Mongolian beef served on a sizzling plate ($28.80) is served simply with onions, hearty chunks of beef and a tasty sauce.
Chinese broccoli done two ways ($22.80) is a creative plate of crispy fried shredded gai lan leaves on top of steamed pieces of broccoli, with a topping of pork floss and a scattering of crispy tiny dried anchovies.
While there are many more options on the a la carte menu to explore, in our eyes the yum cha dishes are the highlight here and now they are available all day. No trolleys though.
Hulu at King Street Wharf is open 7 days for lunch and dinner.
Find it at 19 Lime Street Sydney, in the King Street Wharf precinct.