It’s no secret that J and I are fond of Tea House on Burke, the fine dining Cantonese restaurant in Camberwell. When we dine by ourselves, we order a la carte, which I have reviewed here. But when we go with friends we always do the banquet.
On this occasion we were dining with Nin and Andy. We had recently had dinner with Nin at Old Kingdom, and while there, talking about all things duck, she mentioned that her and Andy had not been to Tea House, but had heard good things about it.
I immediately said we should go, and we organised a date (in-between our respective husband’s work travel commitments!)
The night finally came and I was looking forward to some good Chinese food and of course, duck!
We ordered the first banquet (Tea House does two banquets), noting that I don’t eat seafood.
The first course for everyone but me was wasabi prawns.
Everyone enjoyed these, saying the prawns were fresh and the wasabi wasn’t overpowering.
I had five thin slices of pork, which were full of flavour and tender.
The second course was chicken sang choi bao.
I have always loved Tea House’s sang choi bao, but felt something was missing this time. It was still very good, but not as good as I have had previously. There is a lot of mixture in the lettuce cup so my advice would be to eat some with your chopsticks and then wrap the rest up in the lettuce and pick it up with your hands, this means less mixture to spill out everywhere.
The third course was spicy salt calamari for J, Nin and Andy, while I had a quail dish.
I was worried when I saw the quail as it looked like it hadn’t be deboned. But to my pleasant surprise it had, and was not only the dish of the night for me, but possibly one of the best quail dishes I have ever had. It was moist and full of flavour, and if I can figure out which dish it is on the menu I will be ordering it next time we go!
Next up was the Peking duck, which I had been looking forward to all day. We even ordered extra duck so we could have four pieces each, as two just isn’t enough. The duck pieces were presented on a platter and then whisked away to be made up into the pancakes.
One of the things that I like about Tea House is everything is done for you. The duck comes back all wrapped up and dressed. And the other pancakes and duck is kept warm, unlike places like Old Kingdom and Simon’s where everything is left on the table for you to do it yourself, and it all goes cold. I also like how there is a decent amount of flesh left on the skin.
However, on this occasion, the Peking duck was not up to scratch. The pancakes were too thick and floury, and there was way too much hoison sauce (one disadvantage of not making them yourself). I was quite disappointed. All my pieces had too much sauce, but one of Nin’s was dry, so there was inconsistency happening as well.
The second last savoury course was fish fillet in mandarin sauce for the others.
And another pork dish for me.
I wasn’t very happy when this was placed in front of me. I had already had a pork dish, which was much better than this one. I didn’t eat it all. I should have said I eat fish as I did try some of J’s and it was really good.
The final savoury course was eye filet in szechuan sauce served with special fried rice.
My rice was slightly different to the others as it didn’t have any shrimp in it. I always enjoy the beef at Tea House, though it is cooked rare so you might want to check if you don’ t like your meat too bloody.
Are you full yet?
J was and decided to decline dessert, which was banana fritter with ice-cream.
I ate the banana without the batter and I love the syrup sauce they use.
Last but not least, we had Chinese tea served with home made cookies.
The service was great as usual and I like how they always serve the ladies first.
I still love eating at Tea House but I felt the food wasn’t up to the usual standard on this occasion. Hopefully it was just an off night and all will back to normal next time.