Italian yum cha does not sound like a good combination. It’s like when you see places advertising “Japanese tapas”. So wrong. Despite my reservations I was just too curious so couldn’t resist an invitation to try out The Grand’s Italian yum cha event running for Good Food Month. What a relief then to discover that something which sounds so wrong was actually very right.
The Grand has made a name for as a pub which is serious about its food and has held a chef’s hat in The Good Food Guide for a number of years. Italian yum cha offered an opportunity to try out a range of different dishes from the menu. To add to the fun each dish was presented like a yum cha offering (complete with bamboo steamer) and ticked off on a docket straight from China town.
Just like at yum cha the meal started with a pot of tea. But this time Aperol spritz “ice tea” – provided complimentary to every table. It had that classic slightly bitter taste of Aperol but was very refreshing and a quirky start to the meal.
One of my favourite dishes was the capesante con spaghettini di zucchini ($10.50) – juicy, fat scallops seared and served in their shells with squid ink “spaghettini” made from zucchini. It was hard to go past the prettiness of the berry cured ocean trout ($10.5) which was super fresh and vibrant.
Given The Grand is an Italian restaurant the highlight was of course the pasta. Brown butter and sage gnocchi ($8.50) is a simple combination which always delivers. The Grand’s version had just the right amount of light, fluffy gnocchi, crisp sage and rich, nutty brown butter. My favourite pasta dish was the duck agnolotti ($10.50) with black cabbage, grapes and grappa. The duck was slow cooked to perfection and the pasta was served in a rich broth. Eating pasta in small serves like this has to be the perfect way to do it.
I was so full that I could only fit in one dessert but I was certainly glad I said yes to the bombolini ($10.50) – these sugary Italian donuts filled with custard were quite literally the bomb.
Hat’s off to The Grand for coming up with such a fun way to serve lunch with a twist. Sadly Italian yum cha has finished for Good Food Month but if this post hasn’t convinced you to go in and check out the full menu at The Grand, I don’t know what will.
Gourmet Chick was invited to review The Grand
Details: The Grand Hotel Dining Room, 333 Burnley Street, Richmond (Ph (03) 9429-2530)
Kids: Welcome. There were quite a few younger children dining on our visit. The Grand also has high chairs.