I was handed a review for this joint from The NZ Herald. The idea of modern Chinese fusion definitely piqued my curiosity, then when I saw pork and black truffle soup Xiao Long Bao, I knew I had to try this place as soon as humanly possible. That was, say Tuesday, and now I find myself on the couch Thursday night with a belly full of their food.
We went mainly with the smaller options that mirrored what we’d usually get at Yum Char. Let me warn you, how you feel about the smaller dishes here will depend a lot on how you feel about Yum Char, and how you like your Yum Char. Let me start with the really good stuff. I can recommend that you go to The Blue Breeze Inn just for the Barbecued Pork Buns with pickled cucumbers and coriander. $8 buys you one. Do not share this, get one for yourself. For those of you who say no when you should say yes then want a bite when you’re jealous, you have no excuse now that I’ve given you a heads up. Get your own or expect to be forlorn when your dining companion snarls at any suggestion they part with a bite for your benefit.
These two pillow Pac-Man stunt doubles are even softer than they look. If they weren’t so delicious I could have laid my head on one and dreamt happily of Stay Puft Marshmallow Men building goose down cushion forts on bean bags made out of clouds. Instead I was kept awake and engaged by the ever so crispy pork, the sweet sticky hoisin and the fresh cucumber and coriander flavours. Seriously wow, this is not aunty’s Char Siu Bao.
From such a remarkable start, it was difficult to keep the game at such a height when recreating our Yum Char favourites much more faithfully. Unfortunately with the Xiao Long Bao the dumplings broke too easily, letting too much of the precious stock out before we could get them into our greedy gobs. So the result was nice enough, but all things considered I think Yum Char stalwarts would opt for three lots of Xiao Long Bao at their favourite establishment rather than one lot from here. The Siu Mai were also good (and huge!) without breaking new ground, and the spicy chicken dumplings, while giving us combination dumpling flashbacks, unfortunately didn’t give us any flashes of spice.
Dessert was similarly a story of contrasts. The Choc Pot of Peanut Butter, Chocolate, and More Chocolate definitely delivered. Around a dense peanut butter singularity is a chocolate dark matter casing that threatens to draw everything towards it, including light, until you are sucked into another dimension where Reese’s Pieces are legal tender and men save for months to propose to their lovers with a nugget of this on a platinum or gold band. On the other hand, the Cookies and Ice Cream was billed as coming with pie pieces and bourbon butterscotch. Mrs P and I were pretty convinced that the pie pieces were in fact cookie pieces, and we didn’t get much of a bourbon kick from the butterscotch. It was fine, but next time I’ll be opting for the Caramelised Egg and Ginger Custard Tart.
All in all pretty good, and early on a Thursday night, this place was bustling. I look forward to a return visit to try some of the more substantial items on the list, but do consider how strongly you favour traditional Yum Char flavours before choosing their updated for Kiwi palates versions here.