I have no fonder childhood memories than my family's Yum-Cha's. My family clued on pretty early that Yum-Cha's were a great way to entertain friends and family, and we were regulars on Little Bourke St.
Yet in between guzzling all those spring rolls, I noticed that there can be an atmosphere of restraint surrounding which meals to pick. The awkwardness seemed to stem from not wanting to make others pay for food that they might not want to eat. Inevitably I would come away from the Yum-Cha's wishing for more prawn toast or dumplings.
What makes this buffet enticing is that the range of food available is the same as at other Yum-Cha's. Dragon Boat hasn't streamlined their Yum-Cha into a small range of three or four meals, instead carts bustle past your table with nibbles ranging from ginger prawn dumplings to custard buns.
And the quality of the food is pretty good as well. The prawn toast and the pork spring rolls were my favourite meals of last week's brunch. The toast was well fried with a great crispy texture and the spring rolls had an excellent crunch with generous portions of pork inside.
For the price of $18.60 however, what you are not paying for is the service. If you see the spring rolls – and you think you might want to go for seconds – it pays to take as many trays as you want when you see it on the cart. There is no certainty that you will see that particular dish again.
Another draw back is that the level of English that the waiters possess ranges from okay to non-existent. Most of the waiters seem to speak very broken English and trying to communicate what dish you are after may, in retrospect, not seem worth the bother. Instead try to take this place as it is: this is a Yum-Cha about excess where it pays to have a carefree attitude.
Other reviews of this restaurant have tended to be unkind – probably because of the bad service. Granted, if good service is paramount to you, Dragon Boat might stress you out. But if you are looking for a decent, cheap, carefree Yum-Cha feed and are willing to go with the flow, then Dragon Boat is worth a visit.