Holding court in the red and gold dining room of the Palace Chinese Restaurant comes with great responsibility. If you are in the power seat by the trolley channel you need to be decisive when the the extra-juicy pink-hued roast pork rolls around, served in thin slices with the right fat-to-meat ratio.
Move quickly when the blistered greens beans come out of the kitchen, scalding hot, salted like the sea and dressed in garlic. Hold your ground when the dessert trolley arrives too early in proceedings – the tureen of mango pudding, tropical fruit-capped cakes and pancakes will be back. It’s worth checking every basket, because in addition to taut-skinned, tightly packed prawn and garlic chive dumplings there might be a sneaky serve of duck dumplings on the trolley.
Salt and pepper squid is crisp, with the right amount of chew and plenty of seasoning, and siu mai are slightly downsized, which means you can pop them in your mouth in one go. The biggest challenge here is resistance in the face of an onslaught of extremely fresh yum cha classics. Staying firm in the face of the pushy trolley ladies is no easy task, especially when the cheung fun and zhaliang (savoury fried dough sticks wrapped in slippery rice noodle) look so good. Maybe you should build up your resistance slowly, with many repeat visits to this official residence for Sydney’s best yum cha.