Writer, theatre enthusiast and foodie. Proud Mum to Humphrey Bogart the Pug.
Published February 11th 2016
Get these dumplings in your tumtum
Hidden atop a darkened staircase off Newtown's King Street, squeezed between a take-away diner and massage parlour, you could easily miss Luyu & YumYum. But once you hit the top landing, you realise this is not your run-of-the-mill Newtown Asian eatery.
Decked out in wood panelling, with a soft golden light emanating from behind the carved screens, the restaurant floor is spacious and open. The windows look in on the kitchen, rather than the street below, so you can sneak a peek at the dumpling preparations.
The dumplings here are some of the best in Sydney, freshly filled with a variety of proteins and vegetables. More than just 'wrapping paper', special attention is given to pairing the dough with the filling, delivering combinations like the Flying Seafood Dumpling (scallop, fish-ball, asparagus and fish roe in rice dough) or the Mr Luyu Starbust Dumpling (chicken and Mr Luyu Homemade Soup in fruit-infused flour dough). As a sign of the care taken by the chefs, the soup-filled dumplings are cleverly served on a circle of carrot, so that they do not stick to the steamer basket and can burst deliciously in your mouth.
We sampled the Flying Seafood, Mr Luyu Herb, 'Kiss Me' and Mr Luyu 'Starburst' dumplings and found it difficult to pick a favourite. The chef is also regularly adding new options to keep the menu fresh. If you're after something more substantial, you can pick from an extensive collection of mains including lamb cutlets fried with mint and ginger, roasted duck and 5-spiced chicken thighs.
The wine selection is good, and the bar makes for a nice visual feature off to the side of the seating. But tea is the real hero here. With nearly 20 varietals to choose from you're sure to find a brew to suit your mood. Or if cocktails are more your thing, why not try a Kiss of the Dragon (gin and rose tea) or a Mr Yumyum Jasmine Tea (jasmine tea vodka, elderflower and lychee liqueur).
Even the logo looks delicious
The staff are attentive and friendly, but are also happy to leave you to your conversation. They're also ready with their own recommendations, from both the wine list and menu. Like most dumpling restaurants, service is quick, and no-one will judge you for returning to the menu to order more after your first serve.
There are definitely cheaper Asian options in Newtown, but for food of a comparable quality in the city you'd be looking at similar prices. Dumplings are around $11 for a serving of four, and mains range from $18-$26. Cocktails start at $16. This place has started to develop a bit of a following, so make sure you book if you want to go on a Friday or Saturday night.