Citi Zen Restaurant is a great place to enjoy yum cha, away from the crowds at Gouger Street. We were there on a Sunday, when waiters were meandering around the tables with the dishes. You get to take a look at the dishes and seek clarifications from the waiters before deciding whether to go for the dish. This is more fun than ordering them from a menu. When you decide to take a dish, the waiter will mark the 'plate size' on a slip of paper on your table. Each 'plate size' has a different unit price. The total bill is then derived by calculating the number of dishes that you have taken for the various 'plate size'.
Those that are feeling adventurous can choose to order some Chicken Feet. We were delighted that the skin was tender enough to make eating them off the bones a simple task, and there was enough sauce to impart a delectable savoury flavour. The sauce also included a bit of chilli to provide a bit of kick to the dish.
The meat filling in the Stuffed Eggplant was cooked just right and the eggplant still had a bit of bite to them. A drizzling of soy sauce subtly enhanced their flavour and a scattering of bonito flakes gave the dish an eye-catching appearance.
Stuffed Eggplant (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
The Durian Puffs served at Citi Zen were prepared somewhat differently from the ones at Eastern Garden Restaurant. They were in the shape of curry puffs rather than the typical small cylinder-shaped durian pastries. We liked that the filling had a good amount of the durian flavour we love and the crisp puff pastry provided a good contrast to the soft filling.
One of the dishes considered to be a benchmark of a good Yum Cha restaurant, the prawn fillings in the Prawn Dumplings had a delectable slightly sweet flavour. While tasty enough on its own, dipping it into the soy sauce or chilli sauce provided another layer of flavour.
Prawn Dumplings (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Another of the benchmark Yum Cha dishes, the filling of the Shu Mai was juicy. The size of the dumplings was also generous.
Shu Mai (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
The plain appearance of the Salted Egg Buns belied their salted egg custard filling, which had the runny texture we expected and the degree of salty flavour we desired. When eating these buns, it is advisable to do it slowly to reduce the risk of spilling the filling over yourself.
Salted Egg Buns (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
For something a bit different from Prawn Dumplings, there is their Chinese Chives Dumplings. There were enough Chinese chives to impart the filling with its characteristic flavour and the scallops were cooked just right. The skin of the dumplings also proved to be just as good as the one used in the Prawn Dumplings.
Chinese Chive Dumplings (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Dumplings were not the only dishes that could be chosen, there were also a few larger dishes that were perfect for sharing. One of them was Radish Cakes, which were soft and fried enough to give them a bit of crust. Bean sprouts provided a bit of crunch and enough chilli was used to make the dish yummy enough to enjoy without the addition of sauces.
Radish Cakes (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
For something lighter, there was their Prawn Rice Noodle Rolls. The prawns were cooked to perfection and the rice noodle rolls had that wonderful al dente texture. Helping to tie everything together was a soy sauce-based sauce to add a salty taste to the dish. A spoon was provided with the dish to simplify the task of dividing it into serving portions.
Prawn Rice Noodle Rolls (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
A dish commonly featured at Yum Cha restaurants in Adelaide, the custard filling of their Egg Tarts had a wonderful soft texture which was complemented nicely by the crisp and buttery puff pastry. Eating them slowly is advised to minimise the mess of the puff pastry scattering over the table.
Egg Tarts (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Diners that book a table in advance can request to have the pleasure of dining in a separate area with a quiet ambience, away from the hustle and bustle of the main dining room.