If I hadn't been in a car at the time, I would have jumped up and down with excitement when I heard that China Bar Signature had opened a restaurant in the city. Their better known location is on the corner of Springvale Road and Burwood Highway, which is too much of a journey for a city slicker like me.
As I'd promised a friend that we'd head out to a restaurant where we could fill ourselves to bursting for his birthday, we ended up here in the first week they opened. With plenty of seats, we got there early yet it was only half an hour or so before it became a bustling hive of activity. The range of food on offer is simply staggering, from seafood, to soups, to yum-cha, to Chinese and Japanese cuisine, a grill bar, fresh fruit, a chocolate fountain and a shelf full of desserts.
Yes, I mentioned a chocolate fountain.
It wouldn't do to have dessert before dinner (unless it's a very, very special occasion), so we'll progress in a somewhat more 'normal' manner.
I guess the most logical place to start would be with the seafood.
|Seafood: Oysters, Crab, Bugs, Salmon|
We eventually moved on from the seafood, but not very far it would seem. China Bar has a sushi bar that employs dedicated sashimi chefs who slice up the raw fish to order.
|Sushi & Sashimi|
The yum-cha selection is limited, however I did go back for two of the dishes: the wrapped Peking duck, and the sesame balls.
I have to note that there's plenty of dishes I didn't try, including the usual Chinese restaurant dishes; stir-fries, curries, rice, noodles etc. . They just didn't really inspire me and I didn't want to fill myself up with food that I didn't want. The ones I did sample though were pretty average.
On the much quieter second level, there's a grill bar that lets you select a piece of meat or seafood which the chefs will then grill to order.
I was getting pretty full by this stage, but there was still the fruit, desserts, cheese, and of course, the chocolate fountain to try.
|Cheese and Dried Fruit|
The dessert selection was enormous!
In any case, a buffet is there or provide variety (and to fill you up if you're a massive eater), so the quality isn't what you'd expect from a top-notch restaurant. The seafood is fresh, and for the most part, the food is decent (except the desserts which I will forever hate). Kids will love it though, but I think their dentists will disagree.
Another downside is that they don't make pricing easy; the seafood, sashimi, Peking duck and grill are only available for dinner (which are the best dishes in my opinion, so I wouldn't bother for lunch). This means that lunch is half price, and they provide a relatively cheap high tea sitting. The prices are cheaper on Monday-Thursday, but they add a surcharge on public holidays. Check their website if you want exact prices though - I'm probably just confusing you here.
China Bar Signature (CBD)
222 Exhibition Street, Melbourne