Rundle Street has seen its share of recent closures. Max Brenner, Cocolat and Jock Zonfrillo’s short-lived Mallozzi have all shut their doors. But it’s not all doom and gloom for the strip – once the restaurant and cafe centre of Adelaide – with the opening of new dumpling and dim sum joint, Mum Cha.
The restaurant opens today in the space once occupied by Mallozzi and, before that, Spanish bar and restaurant Iberia.
“We love [Rundle Street], we want to get it back up to scratch,” says Mum Cha’s Patrick Madden. “We want to see Rundle Street come back to its former glory.”
If anyone can do it, it’s this crew. The Mum Cha team comprises players from east-end wine bar Mother Vine (Madden, Michael Andrewartha, Pablo Theodoros, Frank Hannon-Tan and executive chef Kwan, or Connie, Yi Ying). Their combined CV also includes East End Cellars, Amalfi and the Stanley Bridge Tavern.
Yi Ying, who is from Hong Kong, spent five years at yum cha institution Star House after arriving in Adelaide. After completing two degrees, she studied at Le Cordon Bleu, was named dux, and worked the pans of various restaurants before landing at Mother Vine four years ago.
It was at Mother Vine where the idea for Mum Cha originated, thanks to Yi Ying and Madden, the wine bar’s managers. The pair recognised that people had to travel across the city to the cluster of yum cha restaurants in and around Gouger and Grote streets to get their dim sum fix.
Their solution is Mum Cha: part dumpling bar, part yum cha restaurant where diners can order a selection of handmade dumplings and pan-Asian favourites while grabbing off-menu specialties from the dim sum carts racing around the narrow two-level venue.
Mum Cha’s interior isn’t dissimilar from the venue’s previous incarnation, Mallozzi (though the Italian flag colours have made way for an approachable, clean and bright look). But the food is a different matter, ranging from Mum Cha’s take on xiao long bao, Korean mandu and potsticker dumplings, to classic Chinatown dishes such as Hainanese chicken rice.
Then there are the yum cha-style trays. Yi Ying says Mum Cha “will try and do things differently” with their off-menu selections. Dishes served during the soft opening over the weekend included fried won tons, prawn toast and fried chicken.
Given the team’s wine credentials, it’s no surprise Mum Cha features a killer booze list. Expect plenty of light and fresh whites and reds alongside the quintessential dim sum beer match, Tsingtao, plus a selection of teas.
279 Rundle Street, Adelaide
Tue to Thu 11.30am–10pm
Fri and Sat 11.30am–12am