11 Bridge St Sydney, NSW 2000
|Opening hours||Daily noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm|
|Features||Business lunch, Accepts bookings, Licensed, Private dining, Vegetarian friendly, Yum cha|
|Prices||Expensive (mains over $40)|
|Payments||Diner's Club, eftpos, AMEX, Cash, Visa, Mastercard|
|Phone||02 9252 1888|
How much room do you have in your life for extravagant tea service? If you answered "a lot", you're about to have your day made, now Neil Perry has started his yum cha menu at Jade Temple.
It's here at Perry's new Cantonese palace at the old 11 Bridge site that you'll choose your tea from the menu (complete with sniffing boxes, so you know that oolong's pure, man), then choose your Chinese tea cup from a tray filled with a selection of different shapes, styles and colours. OTT, sure, but very sweet.
Tisanes aside, we're here for whatever's in those bamboo steamer baskets. We do this with wallets poised and credit cards at the ready, mind.
This is yum cha for folks with deep pockets, and it costs roughly around double what you'd spend a head at say, East Ocean, Sunny Harbour or Dynasty Chinese. That said, there's also a palpable difference when it comes to service, style and quality.
For one thing, you're looking at roolio troolio dumpling wizard Moon Cheng Ng (he prefers Dicky) folding your har gau (that's eight to 10 pleats in your steamed prawn dumpling – dim sum master territory).
It's Perry's senior staff running the floor, too, on hand with the wine list, though I'm prepared to offer a firm and enthusiastic high five to whoever abandons wearing the cheongsam first.
Anyway, stunning pastry work on the "lotus root", which resembles a folded paper lantern with minute, artful razor-sharp folds of crisp golden pastry holding holding a mix of melted cheese and white radish, bound tightly by thin strands of seaweed. Could I do without the truffle paste dolloped on top of the mushroom filled crystal dumplings? Yes. Easily.
But bible tripe, perfectly and delicately seasoned and fragrant with fresh white pepper, ginger and green onion, is unmissable.
As are textbook siu mai, the meaty pork and prawn filling captured in a perfectly folded wonton finished with lurid orange crab roe.
If your dirty little secret is a char siu bao well after you probably should have stopped eating, you've come to the right place.
These sweet barbecue pork buns aren't the massive fists of fluffy dough you might be used to. Rather, the dough mix is a little tighter and more glutinous, the bun's a fair bit smaller and the chopped up barbecue pork filling more natural-looking.
The broader picture is much more reminiscent of those super-fancy Hong Kong dim sum establishments than any of Sydney's usual joyfully rambunctious Saturday mid-morning haunts.
But to my mind, there's more than enough room in this town for both.
Bottom line siu mai ($12); barbecue pork bun ($12); tripe ($9).
Pro Tip: The full Jade Temple wine list is at your disposal, whether you're here for a round of xiao long bao, or a whole crisp-skinned duck.
Go-to Dish: Order both the baked and steamed char siu bao for the ultimate compare and contrast.