Mr Zhou’s Dumplings – Revisited
A visit to the renovated Mr Zhou’s Restaurant, May, 2015:
We have been overdue to visit the renovated Mr Zhou’s Dumplings restaurant.
I didn’t recognise the revamped layout from the original takeaways fit out. Instead of the big counter and only a couple of tables, there are now over 10 tables, nicely spaced, set with vinegar, soy sauce and chillis, ready for you to enjoy the food. And enjoy the food one lunchtime we certainly did.
What else but dumplings and homemade noodles? Well, maybe some vegetables. So my friend and I ordered the pork mince and fennel dumplings to be served fried ($13), combination fried noodles ($10) and stir-fried broccoli with prawns ($14). We sipped on our tea as we waited for our order. One loss from the renovation is that the food is now prepared in a kitchen at the back, so we no longer could watch the cooking action as we waited. A small price to pay. Speaking of prices, there has been a small increase in menu prices since our first visit.
What a feast we had ordered! The servings were all huge and could have easily served four people. First the noodles, with slices of beef, chicken and thin slices of sausage, along with shredded Chinese cabbage. The dish was a symphony in beige and looked bland, but the flavour was surprisingly full and the noodles cooked to perfection. The plate of 10 dumplings were nicely browned and crispy, and the filling had a liberal use of fresh fennel. I splashed these with soy sauce and vinegar. Heaven! The star dish of the day was the broccoli. A huge mound of just-cooked broccoli florets with several prawns, in a light flavourful sauce. Visually it was a beautiful bright green and it tasted even better than it looked. A perfect counterpoint to the rich dumplings and noodles.
We hardly made a dent in the generous servings of food that we ordered, so we asked for containers to take our leftovers home. That was dinner taken care of!
You can also buy Mr Zhou’s dumplings frozen, to take home and cook for yourself. I bought two bags to put in the freezer to steam for after-school snacks.
I am sure that you will enjoy eating in at Mr Zhou’s as much as we did!
News travels fast in the foodie world, and the opening of Mr Zhou’s Dumplings by the previous owners of New Flavour on Dominion Road, quickly spread amongst lovers of their delicious fare.
Mr Zhou’s is located in an anonymous strip of shops on busy Great North Road in New Lynn. Not a location that readily attracts a lot of passing trade. However the promise of fresh dumplings lured us from the central suburbs for a Saturday lunch.
It is located in a former takeaways joint and the only nod to the new cuisine is a large sign above the open kitchen. It really is suited to takeout – there are only four tables and a bench to wait for your order. On the Saturday lunchtime that we visited, we grabbed a recently vacated table, placed our order and waited.
We were hard-pressed to decide on which dumplings to order but finally agreed on the pork and coriander ($12 for 20), steamed rather than fried. I had read about the grated potato “salad” (entrée size $6) so decided we had to try that. Our last dish was green beans with pork belly ($16). More food than we needed for lunch (or so we thought) but we had visions of leftovers dancing in our heads.
We drank tea and water and watched one of the cooks prepare the fresh dumplings. Amazing to watch the large lump of dough be transformed into the thin and perfectly round dumpling pastries.
After what seemed like a considerable wait, our dumplings arrived, followed by the other food. The wait was worth it – the dumplings were filled with minced pork and lots of fresh coriander. We dipped them in the soy and chili sauces to give them more punch.
The stewed pork belly with green beans in a brown sauce was delicious. Soft morsels of pork belly and slightly crunchy green beans in a sauce that hinted of star anise.
The shredded potato salad was – well – different. The potato was raw or only very slightly cooked and shredded into long thin strands. They had been tossed with a tart vinegar/vinaigrette. Not what I had expected and to be honest, not to my liking. However my husband managed to eat most of it!
The food is served in plastic takeaways containers which supposedly makes it easier to take leftovers home. However we managed to clean everything up so no leftovers for us. We decided to purchase frozen dumplings to take home. The perfect quick lunch or afterschool snack. We have tried the pork and fennel dumplings and can report that they are excellent, full of freshly chopped green fennel fronds.
I wish that Mr Zhou’s had more table seating – I suspect that like us, people like to eat where this excellent food is prepared and order more if they desire. There is something lost in the experience when it is bundled up to eat at home – and if you are making a special trip to eat their food like we were, you want to enjoy it on the spot. I guess the main thing is that food is great and I would suggest all westies make tracks to Mr Zhou’s and enjoy it!