Tao Tao House

Tao Tao House

815 Glenferrie Rd
Hawthorn, VIC 3122
03 9818 0968
taotaohouse.com.au

Tao Tao House
I confess I can be a skeptical person sometimes. Good yum cha in Hawthorn… Really? Is that possible? That’s what crossed my mind when I heard Agnes and Allan talk (and blog) positively about this place. Hah! But I’m much more likely to trust a blogger’s taste over a critic’s review in the newspaper. So I finally organised a session here with friends on Boxing Day last year.
Tao Tao House
Tao Tao House

Never had yum cha inside such a serene and tranquil setting before. Maybe it’s a public holiday that’s why, but that session was really quiet, civilised and pleasant. Very nice to me, but for some of my companions, they found it unsettling because yum cha is supposed to be noisy and raucous. I’d take this quieter version any day when in Melbourne, and maybe opt for the noisy edition when visiting Hong Kong.

Tao Tao HouseTao Tao House
Scallop dumplings, Har Gao (Prawn Dumpling)
Tao Tao HouseTao Tao House
Chive & Prawn Dumplings, Xiao Long Bao (Shanghai Pork Dumpling)
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I’ve grouped what we had into semi-sensible lots. Starting with the dumplings, the offerings at Tao Tao were not too bad. The skins could be a little more delicate, but we generally liked what we had.  Damo and Bri enjoyed the chive & prawn dumplings, and Damo noted that the xiao long bao still had some juice in it. I personally found all the dumplings okay, liked how petite they were and I think they’re slightly better than what I’ve had at other places. Using the har gao as a general indicator of quality, I thought the prawns were okay-fresh but on the salty side.
Tao Tao House
Tao Tao HouseTao Tao House
We did not get carried away with the deep fried offerings. I like groups like that. The char siu sou (BBQ pork in pastry bun) had a yummy, buttery pastry but the char siu inside was again typically too sweet for my taste buds. I did, however, really enjoy the deep fried eggplant w fish paste. Eyeing the sticky sauce, I was almost certain it was going to be a hoi-sin fail, but that wasn’t the case! Ashley loved this dish.
Tao Tao House
In the background above, the pai kuat (steamed spare ribs with black beans) were nice that they were on-the-bone ribs with a lovely delicate taste. The braised ox tripe had good texture and consistency with a mild flavour, quite nice. And I was very smitten with the fung zhao (below right), nice marinade even if it was on the sweet side. I nearly fell off my chair when Damo stoically commented that the fung zhao was quite bony, I mean… it is the feet of a bird afterall! Hahaha!
Tao Tao HouseTao Tao House
Ox tripe, Fung Zhao (braised chicken feet)
Tao Tao House
Tao Tao HouseTao Tao House
Char Siew Bao, Lo Buo Gao
Tao Tao House
The char siew bao (steamed BBQ pork buns) were, once again, too sweet inside for me. I think I will stop ordering this in Melbourne. On the bright side, the luo bo gao (white radish cake) here was the best I’ve had in a long long time. Big chunks of daikon inside and a good amount of ingredients with nicely charred outsides. Very yummy! The ha cheong (steamed rice noodle rolls with prawns) was also very good. The rice roll was thin, soft and delicate, and the prawns inside were reasonably fresh, albeit salty. Also liked that they the drizzled sauce had a hint of Chinese vinegar in it. 
Tao Tao HouseTao Tao House
Our final savoury dish was the lo mai gai (steamed glutinous rice w chicken wrapped w lotus leaf). Again, a delight to eat! I liked how the rice wasn’t cooked until it was too sticky. One interesting thing about Tao Tao House was, when we asked for Wu Gok (taro dumpling), the waiter sort of indicated that they don’t do taro dishes here. Is that true? Is it a cultural thing specific to this place?
Tao Tao House
Tao Tao HouseTao Tao House
For sweets, the mango pudding befuddled me a little as I was expecting evaporated milk around it instead of more mango sauce. But it was actually quite good, not too sweet with chunks of fresh mango inside. The dan ta (egg custard tart) needed a 20 minute wait as they specially baked it for us. Loved the fresh-off-the-oven pastry, but wished the custard was less sweet and more eggy.
Tao Tao House
While some of the dishes could be a touch less sweet, I still agree with my blogger compatriots, Tao Tao House actually does offer good yum cha! Even Damo, who can be quite fussy with food, did declare that he thought the food was really good (although he added that it lacked that noisy ambience). Prices remained friendly despite the plusher atmosphere, the five of us spent $26 each.

I’m now less disillusioned about yum cha in Melbourne. Had a great feed here. And stay tuned, I will be blogging about another good yum cha place in the near future!
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Tao Tao House