No Men’s club here, just tasty buns (of the edible variety)……
**Reader beware- Post may contain adult themed word-play**
Earlier in the week my colleagues and I were just sitting around at lunch time chatting about food (like you do), and we were sharing hot-tips of our favourite go-to places in the city and my colleague hadn’t tried Bò 7 Món Thanh Tâm – my go-to Viet restaurant in the city; while her hot tip which we hadn’t tried was The Bun Gallery. “Hey? Come again?” My inner voice asked, but of course I didn’t ask that out aloud as we were in a work setting after all. But after Googling it, ok yeah, it was what I had thought she had said, and I had to stifle a giggle because I’m ‘oh so professional!’ Haaha. So our lunch-time conversation ended, by each of us agreeing to try each other’s hot-tip, so my wife and I tried The Bun Gallery this afternoon.
When I first suggested ‘The Bun Gallery’ to my wife, I allowed her to process the information and then asked her “What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear ‘The Bun Gallery’?” And she answered, “I’m getting a mental picture of an art gallery exhibiting full-colour pictures of human bottoms”. While the first thing which came to my mind wasn’t any better, images of neon lit signs above establishments with beefy bouncers standing outside them, came to mind……
But no, The Bun Gallery is only a Chinese restaurant on Quay St Haymarket (opposite the UTS library), serving steamed buns, dumplings and small snacks to share. Outside their store you can study their menu before deciding to go in or not, and you make your orders and payment, before finding yourselves some seats either downstairs or upstairs in the loft/gallery section.
For under 35 bucks, we ordered 4 of their signature pork buns ($2.60 each); a plate of steamed pork and chive dumplings ($10.00); my colleague’s hot-tip was the Salt & Pepper fried Tofu, so we had to get that ($7.00); and for drinks we ordered a bottle of Plum juice and a Soya milk drink ($4 each).
“So maybe the upstairs loft area was the inspiration for the restaurant’s name?”, we asked ourselves from the second floor; from up there you can look down onto the ground floor dining area- and the open space allowed us hear (but not see) the goings on in the kitchen. It was empty up in the loft when we arrived, so we had the choice of all the tables and we elected one which was pushed up against the floor to waist-high glass banister.
In no time our drinks arrived (we felt kind of slack, as the waitress had to climb all the way up to give us our drinks (Plum juice was out of a squat glass bottle – prune juice infused with ginseng, when the soya milk was just your stock standard affair).
And then our waitress had to climb the stairs a second time to serve us our steamed buns and dumplings. I’d read a less favourable Zomato review, where the reviewer had suggested that their buns/dumplings were frozen. And yeah, probably they were, as they seemed too perfectly shaped to be freshly hand-made – but they tasted fine, the bun was soft and bouncy all at the same time (how most people would like their buns to be…..); and the pork inside was tasty (no frozen scent here). And the dumplings were little things, one bite wonders- so checking left and right to see if anyone was watching- I picked up the little gems with fingers and popped it into my mouth. Ooo! What you’d do if you don’t think anyone is watching (as the correct etiquette would be to use my chopsticks of course).
And for the third and final time (on our bequest at least), our waitress had to high-step her way up to us again, this time with our fried dish (I was almost tempted to comment ‘Good exercise hey?’ but feared it might be lost in translation and it’d just be awkward). But thanks for the hot-tip Abbey! The tofu were as good as you had described them! Fried and seasoned with Salt & Pepper, just like a vego’s take on squid! And sprinkled over them were deep fried wonton chips. As the tofu were tiny cubes (no larger than a six sided dice), I elected again to use fingers and when another couple joined us on the gallery level I was beyond caring about social etiquette and continued popping them into my mouth with fingers like you’d do with peanuts at a pub – all the while the poor waitress had to climb up and down serving this new couple.
Our end verdict, 4.0 from 5.0 Stars! (2.5 from 3 for Food (as everything was tasty and just the right amount to comfortably satisfy); 0.5 from 0.5 for Service (as all staff were polite and friendly, and I would give extra points if I could for the waitress’ cardio fitness); 0.5 from 0.5 for Atmosphere (as the place had a really relaxed vibe to it, and they had a good Mando pop-playlist going); and 0.5 from 1 for Value for money) we reserve the full 1 point for places which are ridiculous in their cost-benefit proposition, and The BG was good, but not ridiculously so)).
I really do love finding out about unknown (to us at least) places first hand from friends, as you can never go wrong with recommendations from people you trust. Thanks again Abbey for the hot-tip!!! The only hot-tip which I have for other diners, is if you elect to sit where we sat today (the table which was pushed right up to the glass banister), don’t be sitting there if you were wearing a short skirt. As customers downstairs can easily see right up to the loft area from where they’re sitting. So The Bun Gallery wasn’t a “Bun Gallery” and sitting where we sat you’re not at any risk of giving other diners a ‘Bun show’, but you’d definitely be giving them a ‘Leg show’ though – that’s my hot-tip for today. *Slow wink*.
The Bun Gallery- Sunday 7 April (4.0 Stars)
PH: 0434 834 688
Shop 2, the Quay, 61-79 Quay Street, Haymarket
Mon-Fri 8.30am – 9pm
Sat-Sun 10am – 9pm