I have been wanting to try Bumplings for a while. This is the outlet run by Brendan Pang, an Australian Masterchef contestant known for his skills at making dumplings and noodles.
The outlet is situated in Sunshine Harvester Works, just opposite the Fremantle cruise passenger terminal on the corner of James Street and Beach Street. Open for just three days a week, we arrived early on a Saturday to make sure that we got fed before the supplies ran out. They open at 5pm, so we arrived at 5:20pm, using the large car park just along Beach Street, and already a long queue had formed.
We joined the end of the queue, and there was quite a lot of queue-jumping happening – people saving a place in the queue for 6 of their friends to arrive later and join them! So even though we joined the queue fairly early on, the number of people in front of us seemed to increase fairly often, and we didn’t get to the front of the van to be served until we had queued for an hour.
Getting seated was another mission. Bumplings is not the only outlet in this venue, and it seemed that several families had arrived early and grabbed all of the large tables. There is quite a lot of seating, but every seat was occupied and it was some time before a table became vacant.
The Bumplings menu is fairly brief, but what you would expect for a food truck. Small dishes are Smacked cucumber salad, pang pang chicken, and mauritian pork and prawn spring roll. Dumplings on offer are Sichuan chicken wontons, veg dumplings in mushroom broth, and crispy pork wontons. Noodle dishes consist of cold shiitake mushroom noodle salad, spicy pork dan dan noodles, and bbq pork spring onion noodles. They also had a ‘special’ of crispy pork crackling.
Although we would have preferred just veggie dishes, we chose to go omnivore for the night and try a variety of the dishes – after all, we’d come all this way to eat food cooked by the Masterchef dumpling master.
Once we had ordered and paid, we were told that it would be another 40 minutes before we received our food, which was a little disappointing, and we were glad that we had put 3 hours on our parking ticket.
Fifty minutes later, the first dish to arrive was spicy pork dan dan noodles. The flavour was great, nice and spicy, slightly al dente noodles, but it was just lukewarm and would have been better if it were hotter.
Next came the Mauritian pork and prawn spring roll which was really nice and hot, but very heavy on the pork, I couldn’t detect any prawn. The dipping sauce was really cold as if it had been refrigerated, whereas room temperature dip would have been fine. The filling was generous and this was probably the best value dish. The accompanying veg pickles were great.
Lastly we tried the veg dumplings in the mushroom broth. Excellent broth with a really nice depth of flavour, but the dumplings were a little disappointing. The pastry was quite thick and the filling didn’t deliver on flavour, also the whole dish was lukewarm.
Thinking about it, the warmth of the dishes is probably dependent on how long the waiter walks around looking for your table, and I did notice that some waiters walked around several large circuits before finding where to deliver the food.
So would I go back? Probably not. The whole venue could do with some better seating and queue organisation. It was great to experience Brendan’s food, but the 45 minute drive to get there, the hour in the queue and then the 50 minute wait for the food just made it all seem too hard. The food was good – the highlights were the mushroom broth and the chunky spring roll – but it wasn’t blow-me-away amazing, well, not enough to make me want to do it all again. I am pleased that Brendan’s business is booming – he was a great contestant and clearly loves making dumplings.
Last visit date – July 2020
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