Deep-fried lobster dumplings… golden and crispy on the outside and loaded with juicy prawns. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

The lobster dumplings were SO good we couldn’t resist the temptation and ordered a second lot,” says dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON.

THE deep-fried lobster dumplings were the star of the show at a weekend visit to The Scholar yum cha and Chinese seafood restaurant in Dickson.

Wendy Johnson.

They were scrumptious. Golden and crispy on the outside and loaded with juicy prawns on the inside (four pieces, $8.80). They were SO good we couldn’t resist the temptation and ordered a second lot. 

The Scholar is hugely popular, and on our visit hungry customers lined up along the steep staircase patiently waiting to get a table. Yum cha is served seven days a week (off the menu during the weekend and trolley service also on Saturdays and Sundays). 

We ordered a couple of items from trollies whipping by, including steamed prawn dumplings (four pieces, $8.80) which were a bit gluggy, and a duck dish, which wasn’t our fave (even though we’re duck worshippers). The duck was super bony and lacked taste. Those dishes confirmed it was best to concentrate on ordering from the extensive menu.

A highlight from the main menu was the fish fillet with ginger and shallots ($20.80). It was cooked to perfection… super moist and the ginger made a statement. 

Chinese broccoli in oyster sauce… beautifully steamed, the broccoli had great crunch. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

For our veggie hit we selected the Chinese broccoli in oyster sauce ($18.80). Beautifully steamed, the broccoli had great crunch and was presented with just enough oyster sauce to add interest but not overwhelm the vegetable itself.

On a couple of occasions, we spotted staff serving BBQ pork rice noodles. These wide noodles are filled with pork and then folded to form a roll (two for $6.80). Appearance was more impressive than the dish itself. Our slippery noodles hardly had any pork in them and disappointed our palates.

Kung pao chicken… lacked the spice component and was slightly too sweet for our liking. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

We looked forward to the chicken fillet with “spicy” Kung Pao sauce ($20.80). It lacked the spice component, however, and was slightly too sweet for our liking.

The lineup of live seafood in the massive tanks at the entrance of the restaurant includes abalone, lobster, parrot fish, king crab, morong, mud crab and barramundi (market prices set daily). 

The signature dishes section of the menu is intriguing. We wouldn’t mind giving the steamed tofu in egg white with seafood a go ($23.80), or the fillet steak in “typhoon shelter” style (cumin, onion and shallots, $22.80). Traditional dishes feature sliced pigs’ trotters ($10.80), and hot rock salted duck tongue ($29.80).

Wines aren’t at all expensive at The Scholar. Local, regional and national wines feature, including from Hunter Valley, Margaret River, Mornington Peninsula and Barossa.

The Scholar is manic on weekends, and the atmosphere can be chaotic (not unusual for yum cha). However, our patience was tested more than once. Loads of staff were on deck but it was challenging to get anyone’s attention to order. And while we get that staff can be stressed when the place is so busy, it wasn’t exactly service with a smile. 

Who can be trusted?

In a world of spin and confusion, there’s never been a more important time to support independent journalism in Canberra.

If you trust our work online and want to enforce the power of independent voices, I invite you to make a small contribution.

Every dollar of support is invested back into our journalism to help keep strong and free.

Become a supporter

Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor