What happens when you want the ubiquitous Sunday morning food – yum cha – on a Saturday evening? Do you sit around for 12 hours and wait patiently? Hardly, you pack up the kids and head to the Cambridge Forum International Food Court in Wembley. There, nestled in the corner amongst the Thai, Japanese, Indian and Malay is Wembley Dim Sim, a relative newcomer to the Forum.
Okay, it might not have the normal yum cha surroundings. There are no linen napkins on the table, or pots of tea, or enormous crabs with their claws tied staring forlornly out of a glass tank. However the Cambridge Forum does have a fish tank, and even better, there is an indoor play area for children, gated no less.
The Food Forum has been around forever and is a local institution. Typically food halls have a pretty terrible reputation but the Forum is a cut above. The quality of the food at all of the outlets is pretty good, you can bring your own alcohol (glasses and bottle openers are provided) and there are four large screen televisions for patrons. Large groups can book tables (and many do) and there are plenty of high chairs making it a very child-friendly destination.
Wembley Dim Sum offer over thirty dishes, all cooked fresh to order. This means that they do not necessarily all come out at the same time, but you get a constant supply of dishes. They range from $4.20 to $6.80 per plate, with most averaging around $4.80. All the usual suspects appear from steamed pork buns, salt and pepper squid, coriander and prawn dumplings, spring rolls and fried dumplings. Fans of chicken feet will be glad to know these tasty morsels also make an appearance.
Ordering is easy. There are pictures and descriptions of everything and you are given a sheet of paper with all the dishes listed. You simply tick the dishes you want to order or point to the pictures – whatever you prefer. You are provided with a number, take a seat and wait for your meal to start appearing.
On a Saturday night, before the crowds appeared, we waited no more than 10 minutes for the first of our dishes to appear. If you came later in the evening it would be reasonable to expect a longer wait.
The very curious deep fried squid cakes - very tofu-y
The taste and quality of the food is comparable to those dim sum houses in Northbridge. The pork buns are fluffy and full of sweet meat. The coriander and prawn dumplings are stuffed full with fresh herbs and fat prawns. The custard tarts melt in your mouth and can cause fights over who has the last one.