A Shanghai woman in acceptable Chinese dress greets you on access to TuanTuan. She’s not a waitress, nor is she bar agents – she’s the beautifully hand-painted mural that adorns an contrarily accurate wall.
Painted by Big Bite Designs and beneath the administration of Bank Architects, the woman on the bank looks bottomward on the diners bushing this accepted Hong Kong-style eatery, but a affecting four-metre-wide awning timberline is the centrepiece. Pastel-coloured seating, broadcast abate plants and vertical balk panelling accomplish up the of the brilliant dining space. There are elements of French flair, too – from the plating to the service.
“We are aggravating to be a bit added stylish,” says co-owner and chef Dominic Li. “Compared to some Chinese or alike Hong Kong restaurants – they’re added traditional.”
Li and business accomplice Clarion Xie founded Chinatown’s Dessert Kitchen together, and exported the abstraction to New York, the Philippines, Thailand and Canada, afore aperture the aboriginal TuanTuan aloof alfresco of Manila.
“Filipinos’ aftertaste buds are sweeter,” says Li. “In Melbourne we’ve afflicted it a bit, to be added simple – we like to accompany the bloom of the capacity out.”
TuanTuan’s signature snow buns – pillow-soft buns with a sweet, cool band – are accessible in four flavours: barbeque pork, pineapple, absolute egg custard and almond cream.
All card items – such as the Malay angle laksa with rice vermicelli, prawns, tofu and angle balls, and the befuddled craven back-scratch – are ordered via a anatomy at your table.
If you’re into affluent and ery congee it’s accessible nine ways, including pork meatball and liver, broken abalone with chicken, broken pork and aeon egg, and a sliced-beef option. Macanese dishes (baked angle with almonds, and the Macau-style Cajun craven on rice) are additionally on the menu.
A Hong Kong-style milk tea is alabaster and herbal. “We tend to mix several tea leaves together,” says Li. “We use the Carnation milk [unsweetened abridged milk] that we import. It’s [richer].”
Cantonese auto tea, Horlicks (a malted milk drink), Ovaltine and Ribena additionally accomplish the drinks list.
Li has affairs to advance a added melancholia menu, “to localise the recipes,” he says. “I don’t appetite [customers] to feel like it’s Chinese aliment in a acceptable Chinese way.”
TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie R1, 139–151 Queensberry Street, Carlton (03) 9995 5407
Hours: Mon 3pm–10pm Tue to Sun 12pm–3pm, 5pm–10pm
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