Traditionally, yum cha is a brunch occasion of bite-sized plates of dim sum served with Chinese tea. But for one night only at Ricky & Pinky, Andrew McConnell’s Chinese restaurant inside The Builders Arms, the concept will be turned on its head.
Broadsheet and Sonos are taking over Ricky & Pinky for one night only and throwing a Playlist Potluck party. What’s Playlist Potluck? It’s a Sonos-inspired take on the traditional potluck concept, but instead of guests each bringing a dish to the communal table, they bring songs to playlist during the evening. With diners handling the soundtrack, the Ricky & Pinky team will serve up a one-off yum cha feast with paired drinks, for one competition winner and 15 of their closest friends. Shakira with shitake and spinach dumplings? Polish Club with pork ribs with black bean and chili? Drake with steamed runny custard buns? It’s all up for grabs.
Archan Chan, head chef at Ricky & Pinky, says yum cha is perfectly suited to this fun, potluck-style, meal. “Yum cha is exciting – you’ve got a lot of choices to try,” she says. “It might be something you’re into, or not. But you don’t know until you try.”
For the menu Chan has drawn directly from her own childhood experiences. “I ate yum cha a lot growing up in Hong Kong,” she says. “So the menu is a variety of personal and nostalgic dishes, with a few bigger, more substantial dishes suited to a night-time menu.”
These include a variety of dim sum plates including pan-fried squid and sweet-corn cake, barbeque pork ribs with black bean and chilli, and a handful of what Chan calls “lost dishes”.
“I’ve noticed a lot of the more complicated yum cha dishes disappearing from restaurants around Melbourne,” says Chan. “So for this dinner I wanted to take on a few of these lost dishes and, as I’m catering to a small group, it can be done really well.”
These include lap cheong, a dried Chinese sausage usually made from a combination of smoked porks, sweetened and seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices. Another is the wonton soup dish, and the shitake and spinach dumplings, which both use yellow chives Chan sourced from Sydney markets for the occasion. “It has a sweeter, softer flavour to garlic chives and is important in my quest to bring my traditional culture to the menu,” says Chan.
Chan predicts the evening’s favourite dish will be the house made egg tart dessert, while the honeycomb tripe with spicy sauce will be the most challenging. “The tripe itself actually doesn’t have much flavour, so it’s more about the unique texture,” says Chan. “It’s firm like tofu, but also spongy like king brown mushrooms.”
The Playlist Potluck dinner will be matched with a fun musical playlist curated by the evening’s guests. Chan sees it as a perfect pairing.
“I think the music for the night will be a reflection of the exciting and surprising nature of yum cha itself – a mix of chill out, fun, slow and probably something a little bit weird, too,” she says.
Mark Williamson, head wine and spirits buyer at Ricky & Pinky, agrees. “It’s the yum cha spirit to encourage dancing, singing and laughter,” says Williamson, who’s put together a collection of Ricky & Pinky’s finest drinks for the night.
“We’ll be rocking Tsing Tao long necks, some ripping wines – including a 2016 San Pietro pinot grigio and 2015 Bellvale pinot that pairs perfectly with the spicy Chinese food – and a variety of cocktails that complement the menu,” says Williamson. These include Heiwa Shuzo Yuzushu and soda; the Captain A, featuring Umeshu-spiced rum and bitters; and the Hidden Pinky, a mix of passionfruit, coconut rum and ginger beer.
“Like the dinner, I think all these cocktails are all really exciting and different,” says Williamson. “They all have a ‘firework’ moment.”
The Playlist Potluck party is a true one-off occasion. The competition winner will also take home a Sonos PLAY:1 speaker so they can take the party with them. To be in the draw to win, entrants need to simply select three songs they’d play at the dinner. Don’t miss out on your chance to host and toast. See below for entry details.
This competition is now closed. Broadsheet would like to thank everyone who entered and congratulate our lucky winner Lauren F
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Sonos. Find out more about Playlist Potluck.