The latest in this stable of sleek yum cha restaurants can be found above the newly minted East Village Shopping Centre in Zetland. It joins venues Rhodes, Parramatta and the CBD, because there is no limit to Sydney’s yum cha appetite. East Phoenix is so sharp it’s almost business-like.
There’s no kitschy decor here – they’re sticking to a classic black, white and red colour scheme, across the board – and a bank of floor to ceiling windows that look over to Kensington let in enough natural light to keep this place feeling open and extra spacious. Want to plan world domination like you’re a pledged member of the Stonecutters? Book a table in the private dining rooms shaded by dramatic red fringing.
The steamer trolley with all the greatest hits (prawn har gao, steamed buns, siu mai) appear with happy regularity if you don’t like to change the script, but if you are drawn to the tender fatty pork ribs in an unctuous garlic sauce, don’t fight it. Same goes for the sticky rice that has absorbed a lot of that fragrant lotus leaf flavour from the steamer wrapper. Prawn and scallop are the gold star dumpling, with tender skins that are easy to bite through and a little water chestnut for crunch, and they are not pulling their punches with the char siu barbecue pork clad in an extra sweet and sticky glaze. It’s only a short hop from there to a dessert of egg custard tarts that come in a pastry shell that’s so short it dissolves in your mouth faster than fairy floss.