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Secret Kitchen Chinatown

  • Restaurants
  • Melbourne
  • price 2 of 4
Secret Kitchen dumplings
Photograph: Supplied

Time Out says

China Bar knows how to put on a dim sum spread

Chinese cuisine, bonza location, and fluffy pork buns fashioned to look like little pigs are the cornerstones of Secret Kitchen’s appeal. This venue falls under the China Bar umbrella, and despite being on the tall end of Chinatown, can pull a crowd.

It’s as bustling on weekdays as it is weekends; stand too long beside your table and you’ll run the risk of being sideswiped by a trolley. Sit swiftly and get down to business.

You’ve probably seen the fish tank – it’s pretty hard to miss. Secret Kitchen claim it’s the biggest live seafood aquarium in all of Australia, and we have no reason to doubt it, given it’s a $700,000 investment that’s as long as three dinner tables end-to-end. Of all the reasons to eat yum cha here, seafood is the most compelling. They pride themselves on their soft shrimp tarrow, Hakka style salt and pepper baked fish and steamed crab.

Instead of baskets of pale, plump, packages, you get pink zha liang, black fungus wraps and gravy beef served with alarmingly big looking red chilis. Of course, all your old favourites are there: sticky har gow, soupy vegetarian dumplings, and pan-fried dumplings with lacey fried crunchy bits that will start turf wars at your table.

Dessert-wise, their steamed red bean sweet buns (decorated to look like orange-nosed piggies) are a little cutesy, but it’s hard to pass up those ridiculously sweet, sticky bread buns, so why try. Order a round and avert your eyes when you bite into those little animated piggy faces. 

This venue welcomes American Express

Rebecca Russo
Written by
Rebecca Russo


Exhibition St
Opening hours:
Mon-Sun 11am-3pm, 5.30pm-10.30pm
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