Yum Cha in Sydney
When I used to live in Sydney, I would go to Marigold and Kam Fook for Yum Cha. Are they still good or can anyone recommend better (or newer) places? I went to an awesome place on Castlereagh Street not in Chinatown, but I can't remember the name. Is the place at the Manly Wharf still good? My thinking about the one at Manly Wharf is that I'll have guests from O/S and combining a ferry trip and the location of that Yum Cha restaurant really makes it quite a special place, but then again I'm after quality.
After many years of taste testing yum cha across Sydney, Hong Kong and mainland China, my all time favourite is still Golden Harbour in Dixon Street, Sydney. Its right near the entrance to Chinatown and is not a huge, cavernous establishment, which in my view means the dim sum are always fresh and there is less risk of getting stuck in a far flung corner and everything being tired and cold by the time it reaches you. While I'd say that dim sum is super fresh and always well made with top ingredients, occasionally the diversity of new or interesting dim sum can vary. However I have never had a bad meal or poor service and so I've been a regular repeat customer here for over 15 years - perhaps the best recommendation of all!
I can report that marigold is not a great experience. The food is ok but had some at best indifferent and at worst downright rude service. I get that they are more or less slammed from 11 through to 2 on the weekends, but they should still make the effort to at least wait for a reply before moving off with the trolly.
I am pretty jaundiced in my view of Sydney yum cha and don't find it great. I wonder if the Castlereagh Street one is the Phoenix Sky Garden restaurant? It is upstairs on the top of the shopping centre. If so it is the same chain as the Manly Phoenix and that is still going. I haven't tried either of those branches but I did eat at the Rhodes Phoenix a couple of weeks ago, it was mid-week and doing pretty good business (lots of offices have moved out to the business park), however I felt the quality of dim sum was only average with lots of the dishes past their best by the time they had been paraded around the room.
I agree on the ferry strategy (get a ten trip ticket and use it for everyone - it is the cheapest way). My recommendation for Manly would be Hugo's, not Yum Cha but pretty funky, a good view, open air (which the Phoenix isn't), and OK food.