Name: The Scholar
Address: 23 Woolley St. Dickson
Ph: 02 6257 8323
Hours: Lunch and dinner daily
Sunday lunch is, for so many families around the country and the world, a time to eat together. While it may be less common than it used to be, it is still an opportunity for families or friends to get into groups and have a long, leisurely meal. It is the best way to spend the last day of the weekend. I usually opt for sleeping until the afternoon and having a very late breakfast instead.
The most common version, of course, is the home-cooked roast dinner, complete with gravy, vegies, and beautifully hot, buttered roast potatoes. But a second, also wonderful and considerably less labour-intensive Sunday lunch tradition is explained in two words.
Those two words conjure up a fantastic vision of a bustling room, with steaming baskets full of small morsels of food. You feel like there could be any sort of treasure in those little baskets, some secret little dumpling that you’ve never had but will blow your mind. There’s a sense of adventure, even though in reality you probably will just get the same things you always have.
At the Scholar in Dickson, bustle is exactly what you get. Open from 10:30am, by midday it is as busy a room as you can find in Canberra. It’s the first place I have seen in this town where people are willing to wait in line for a table, so for those of you who aren’t, get there early.
One of the real perks of yum cha is that, as soon as you sit down, you can get food. You enter straight into the point and hope style of ordering. We began simple with steamed dumplings, some prawn, some scallop. They were simple, but with a nice level of sweetness in a good, thin dumpling skin.
This is the thing with the food at The Scholar. Everything is exactly what you expect. Dumplings, steamed pork buns, sticky pork buns, fried calamari, soft shell crab and so on. Nothing is particularly different or exciting, but it is all done well.
There were a few standouts. Some prawns, wrapped crisp pastry with sesame seed, were plump and juicy. Fried lobster dumplings, a perennial favourite of mine, had that beautiful shellfish sweetness, with a soft, fatty pastry holding it all together.
And, of course, the only way to end a yum cha lunch, Chinese style custard tarts. They’re warm and almost unsettlingly slimy, but still undeniably rich and sexy. They are perfect way to finish off a big group meal, but one each is never enough.
With a bottomless pot of tea on the table, yum cha at The Scholar makes for a relaxed way to share food with your friends. You walk out with a full stomach (often overfull), a not unreasonable bill, and a relaxed group of friends around you.
You can almost forget that tomorrow’s Monday.