From the same owners as Fortuna Court in Norwood comes Chef Dong, which is named after the owner himself. Located in a small shopping complex in the well-to-do suburb of St. Peters, Chef Dong offers a decent selection of Chinese dishes that are separated into hot pots, rice and noodle dishes, vegetarian options and all your individual proteins. On top of that, they do Yum Cha during the day.
A friend of mine recently told me about a Scoopon deal she bought where 4 people can have unlimited Yum Cha dishes for 90 minutes at Chef Dong. The dishes are ordered and served 4 at a time and there is a penalty for wastage. Being a fan of Yum Cha, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to see what they had to offer.
Not looking very big from the outside, Chef Dong is deceptively spacious. It consists of one big open plan dining area with a set of doors to one side that leads to a private function area. The decor is a good combination of traditional and modern with the standout furnishing being a table for 16 that has ornately carved timber chairs.
First up was the Stuffed Eggplant with Black Bean Sauce. I’m not a fan of eggplant in any form but this was alright. The exterior was firm and crispy and the inside was soft and well cooked through. The black bean sauce was lightly flavoured and complimented the eggplant well.
The Prawn Dumplings were cooked perfectly. The translucent dumpling skin was firm and not stuck to the grease paper underneath. The prawns inside the dumpling were well flavoured, juicy and succulent.
The Salt and Pepper Squid Tentacles were very good. The squid was tender and succulent, and fried in a lightly battered coating. I detected notes of cumin which gave the dish more depth.
The Pan Fried Pork Buns were lightly browned to one side. The texture of the buns were soft and fluffy, revealing a tasty pork filling.
The Prawn and Scallop Dumplings were just as good as the Prawn Dumplings. Again, the translucent skin wasn’t stuck to the grease paper. The filling consisted of juicy morsels of scallops and prawns where were an absolute delight to eat.
The BBQ Pork Pastry is one of my favourite Yum Cha dishes. The pastry skin was considerably thick and flaky, and the amount of filling was a bit on the conservative side. Having said that, the pork inside was lean and well flavoured, and the dish as a whole was tasty.
The BBQ Pork Rice Rolls are like a Chinese Cannelloni. Tender lean slices of BBQ Pork wrapped in silky sheets of rice that are swimming in a soy sauce. The inclusion of spring onions in this dish add plenty of depth.
The Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaves is something Mum makes at home. The flavours from the lotus leaves were well infused into the soft sticky rice. There was the odd slice of chicken and Chinese pork sausage but too little for my liking.
The Minced Beef Balls are just that; balls of marinated beef. The beef balls were juicy and succulent, but a little bland on their own. Combined with the chilli dipping sauce, these weren’t too bad.
The Taro Puffs had a light crunchy coating revealing a soft centre of taro and pork. It’s a bit of an acquired taste as to whether you like taro or not, but I don’t mind it.
The Savoury Pork Dumplings have a firm crispy shell that is chewy with a hint of sweetness. The inside is hollow with bits of marinated minced pork. You could almost classify this dish as a dessert.
The Custard Tarts had a dark golden brown hue which indicates they were in the oven for a bit too long. The pastry was thick and flaky with a conservative amount of subtly sweet custard filling.
The Coconut Jelly was firm and yet delicate. Not sweet at all, the flavours of coconut were quite prominent.
The Mango Pudding was firm and gelatinous with fleshy pieces of what appeared to be jackfruit. The natural sweetness of the fruit gave depth to an otherwise bland dessert.
The Malay Cake was a slice from a bigger piece and was soft and spongey. It had a subtle sweetness about it but was rather pedestrian.
The Egg Custard Buns had soft and fluffy exteriors that revealed sweet, smooth and delicate custard centres. It was well executed and delicious.
The staff were friendly but we thought the service was a bit slow. Getting the attention of staff required effort and at times, the food was slow to come out. The atmosphere was relaxed as there were only a trickle of customers that came in during our visit. For the deal that we had, the cost of the Yum Cha came to $17.50 per person which is slightly less than what I’d usually spend. We had a total of 16 dishes which is great in terms of variety.
The Yum Cha here is not the best I’ve had in Adelaide but it’s certainly up there.
WHERE: 103 Payneham Rd, St Peters