Little Red Dumpling is situated in a relatively busy shopping strip called Centro Pinelands, near Nandos and Coles. It had a rather small unassuming shopfront, we would not have noticed it except for the fact that we are intimately familiar with the area and noted that something looked different ┗(･ω･;)┛.
When I went there, they were in the middle of a grand opening promotion, where you like them on Facebook and you get prawn crackers and a drink for free.
The menu is quite short, with all offerings being covered on two pages.
The decor was very red, in line with their name.
Points for interesting furniture. Gives a funky vibe to the place.
The usual suspect - Soy Sauce. There is one on every table.
First came our drinks, iced coffee served in mason jars. A pretty contemporary kind of vibe compared to other Chinese restaurants. The coffee wasn't too sweet, but it could probably have been stronger.
Beef Rice came first, the beef was braised to be soft and has a 'melt in your mouth' type of feel a bit on the oily side though, but the flavour was really quite good, . The beef to rice ratio was also quite generous compared to other places which I have been to.
Courtesy Sprite was then provided for one of our companions for liking their facebook page. I liked how they had the extra slice of lemon.
The next thing that arrived was the Chicken and Prawn Dumplings, which came with special dumpling sauce. There was a slight hiccup in the execution of this dish. While the Xiao Long Bao was overcooked, these were significantly undercooked. We raised this with the waitress as soon as we realised it. She was profusely apologetic and rushed off to have it replaced with a new plate, which was definitely fully cooked.
In terms of texture, the fillings in the dumpling were very finely ground, in fact one of my companions said it was far too ground up that you were unable to distinctly separate the chicken and prawn pieces, it was just a light protein-y mass. The sauce on the other hand was quite pleasant, being not too salty and not too spicy, but just right.
Next up came my other companion's drink. She has a particular dislike for cold drinks but wanted to their coffee. Kudos to the waitress who was kind enough to offer to make an exception and warm up the coffee for her.
Braised beef noodles came next, in line with the beef rice, it was quite oily but again the flavours and textures were quite nice. I wouldnt have it often, but it was really quite enjoyable.
Next came the highlight of the meal. The pan fried dumplings were delicious! Crispy on the bottom, juicy and flavourful on the inside. I'd say its on par with one of the best pan fried dumplings I've had in Brisbane. With all the disappointment from the Xiao Long Bao and Steamd Dumplings, I would return to Little Red Dumpling purely for their Pan Fried Dumplings(∩˃o˂∩)♡.
We were also provided prawn crackers as part of their opening special, but interestingly it only arrived right at the end.
Additionally, when we were paying we realised there had been a miscommunication between the restaurant owners and its waitresses, who told us that the free drinks included in the opening special had included coffee, when it was only juice and soft drink. After clarifying who had given us this false information, they decided not to charge us for the coffee.
Overall, I'd say it was quite an interesting visit, whilst their Xiao Long Bao and Steamed Dumplings needed more work, the beef noodles and pan fried dumplings were more than enough to convince me to return. I'd also like to add that with all the confusion of starting a new restaurant, their staff were friendly and attentive. I know a lot of places which would have declined my friend's request to have her coffee heated, but the people at Little Red Dumpling complied with our request without complaint.
Essentially from the experiences I have had in going to a newly opened restaurant, you can either be blown away by their quality and then come back at a later time to be disappointed in the drop in quality (*cough cough Roll'd*) or you can go in whilst they are still experimenting with what's good and what's not, be disappointed when they haven't worked out their processes, and then come back at a latter date to be pleasantly surprised with the improvement. Hopefully this place will fall into the second category (*￣0￣)θ～♪.
Price Range: $10-15 per person
Taste: 5/10 (8/10 for the fried dumplings)