Chinaman Dumpling

Laura Porter
1st Mar 2015

Neutral Bay and Cremorne are well known for their great Japanese restaurants, many of which have been around for what seems like forever. But, locals and visitors now have a good excuse to swap their regular Japanese fix for dumplings and other Chinese favourites - at Chinaman Dumpling.

Chinaman Dumpling is the latest venture from entrepreneur Kenny Lee. He has built a strong team that includes Head Chef Alex Lee (ex Mr Wong) and artisan dumpling maker "Gong".

You can't miss the restaurant’s bright red frontage just off Military Road. It's the first sign that shows how the fit-out at Chinaman has been given just as much love as the menu. The restaurant describes itself as having an edgy urban street atmosphere. You could also call it elegantly Asian - with hanging birdcages, top wine glasses and an open kitchen that showcases the talented chefs at work.

Dumplings have a long history that goes back 400 years - they are to the Chinese what pizza is to the Italians, being based around traditional formulas that shouldn't be messed with. So, when a restaurant boasts 'dumpling' in its name you expect the dumplings to be good. And when it comes to the dumplings at Chinaman you won't be disappointed.

The tempting and diverse dumpling section of the menu allows plenty of room for deliberation - dumplings come steamed, pan-fried and boiled. Let your taste buds guide you - try a couple of different options (prices start at a mere $7) and build the rest of your meal around them. Need a hot dumpling tip? Order the pan-fried pork and chives.

Moving on from dumplings it's hard to go wrong with the duck pancakes - juicy chunks of duck meat (with crispy skin) are served with cucumber, shallot and hoisin sauce. Order 4 pieces for $16 or 8 pieces for $30, and be prepared to debate who deserves the last one. Another dish not to be missed dish is the pork belly ($23). It could compete with the best that Chatswood and Haymarket have to offer. The pork is cooked to be tender, has a crunchy skin and is sliced in a way that makes it easy to share.

Vegetarian? Good news - it's not all pork, duck and chicken at Chinaman. Non-meat eaters are well catered for with plenty of seafood and vegetarian options, like salt and pepper prawns, vegetable fried rice and noodles, and of course spring rolls.

Squeeze in dessert and it's pretty much guaranteed that you'll be walking out with a doggy bag. That's not a bad thing - these are the kind of leftovers that will taste just as good the next day.

So the atmosphere is spot on, and the food hits the mark, what about the service? The team at Chinaman want to deliver 'impeccable' service in a casual setting. But, in the early days the service is a little hit and miss. At times you may feel like you need a buzzer on your table at attract attention. Overall it's not patchy enough to spoil the experience but something that they’ll need to work on to win over those Japanese loving locals.

Open Tuesday to Thursday dinner, Friday to Sunday lunch and dinner.

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Shop 3, 4 Rangers Road
+61 2 9953 7072