China Red, Melbourne CBD

China Red
Shop 6, 206 Bourke St
Melbourne, 3000
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I get really excited whenever there is a new Chinese restaurant. I can’t recall why I was in the city but I did happen to walk past China Red on its opening week. So excited that I immediately sms’ed a friend to tell her all about it. The front set up is very similar to Hutong – Cooks pulling noodles or crimping dumplings in a large aquarium like window.

Aquarium like kitchen

Aquarium like kitchen


The interesting thing about this place is the touch screen ordering technology that is installed on every table. Punters will look through the menu and then check off the items that they want to order. Once the order is sent, there is no turning back! That was what we were told and pre-warned at the start. It is a fun gimmick but I thought that the pictures looked quite unappetising on the touch screen. This seems to be really popular in Sydney and now it has finally landed in Melbourne. Just remember not to place a wrong order!

touch screen ordering system

touch screen ordering system

I order a pot of hot tea and Mister, an ice tea, that came served in some weird looking glass container on a bed of ice to keep it cool. Good idea! At least the tea is still cool and not be diluted by melting ice.

Must have dumplings! And I am a little obsessed and pedantic about how I like my dumplings. The skin isn’t too bad. Quite light and thin. But the pork filling was the big disappointment. Juicy but bland and still had remaining blood residue. I added quite a lot of chilli to give it some taste. I heard good and bad reviews of the xiao long bao (XLB) from different punters. So try it out yourself. Just my luck, perhaps.

Shanghai dumplings

Shanghai dumplings

Next came the noodles. We ordered the minced pork noodles with preserved vegetables. The noodles are a little on the pricey side but it is pretty good. Silky, bouncy noodles that is freshly made. YUM! The broth was light and tasty. If you do make it here, just order the noodles. Thumbs up!

The next dish was another disappointment. We ordered a Chef’s special pork dish. It is actually a slow cooked light soy sauce pork on a bed of crunchy bok choy. If pork is slow cooked, it is suppose to be tender and moist. It is not reflective in the dish that was served. Dry, bland and underwhelming. It was a tad on the pricey side… from memory, it’s in the high $20+? Not worth spending money on for sure.

Pork ribs

Pork ribs

Last but not least, is the vegetable dish. We ordered a string beans and minced pork with sichuan sauce. So I expect a spicy dish when it says sichuan sauce. But it was mild and the vegetables were overcooked. It’s like it has been cooked and then refrigerated and then chuck in the microwave and heated up. It was pretty bad. And price tag is at $16.80. Ouch.

String beans with sichuan sauce

String beans with sichuan sauce

I have to admit that I do love the hot chilli condiment. It has added sichuan peppers in it! Mouth numbing and so good! I added this to everything to make it taste better :)

hot chilli condiment

hot chilli condiment

We called for our bill by the touch screen technology. We paid and left but was chased down by the cashier claiming that we have not paid. It was a misunderstanding and when she found out that we paid, there was just a quick apology and ran off. And the other thing that I did not like about it is the speed of clearing plates! I was still eating and it just happened that there was a couple of string beans left on the plate and the wait staff wanted to clear it away. I had to stop him. What happened to asking if the plate was ready to be cleared? The restaurant was not super packed. No one was waiting for a seat. Why the rush?

Will we go back? Most likely not! Especially that I can make similar noodles at home and probably tastes better.

What is your take on this? Should I go back since some people had good experiences in this restaurant?

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