If you like dumplings, you’ll love Drumplings, where those delicious little parcels are served with a twist
You know the struggle; you’re out in the city with some mates and you’re trying to decide what to eat. Someone wants burgers, another wants Mexican food, but you want dumplings. Enter Drumplings, where fusion cuisine is taken to the extreme with their anachronistic dumpling delights.
Dumplings aren’t exactly in short supply in Melbourne. Stand on any corner in the city, and you’re just a few steps away from a dumpling joint. Fast, cheap, and loud, Melbourne’s dumpling houses have become the backbone of the late night scene. But Drumplings stands out from the crowd with their surprising and sometimes wacky – but always wonderful – twists on the classic and their chic and cool dining environment.
A quick glance at their menu tells you you’re in for something a little bit different. Aussie staple flavours, like Fish ‘n’ Chips dumplings – perfect little parcels packed with blue grenadier, beer batter roasted chips, capers, cornichons, and vinegar – sit alongside imported faves like Chilli Con Carne dumplings full of beef chilli ragout, kidney beans, coriander and lime.
But the star of the show that’s making the most noise for Drumplings has to be their Cheeseburger dumpling. Yup, you read that right. That easy, take away must-have has now gotten even easier to eat. With a filling of beef patty, cheese, mustard and pickle all tucked up into a bright yellow little flavour bomb, topped with toasted sesame seeds (of course!), the Cheeseburger dumpling has become a favourite and is already popping up all over Instagram. See, I said there was something for everyone!
Drumplings founder, Deon St. Mor, is no stranger to beautiful things in stunning packaging. The creative powerhouse behind MOR Cosmetics and the Glamping Hotel at St. Jeromes, St. Mor has a passion for creating unique sensory experiences, and the cross-cultural flavour juxtapositions on Drumplings menu are no exception. Teaming up with culinary expert, Jeremy Raven, the pair have created a dining experience that is unique, delicious, and like nothing you’ve seen before.
I dropped in to sample some of the dishes Drumpling have to offer and I fell immediately in love with the venue. Spacious and vibrant, the neon pink lighting and tropical decor gives the restaurant a kawaii meets Hong Kong street cool vibe. Greeted by an army of auspicious felines at the front counter, diners make their way to small tables, or one of the large picnic style share tables. Dishes are served traditionally, inside bamboo steamers, but that’s where tradition ends.
My favourite dishes of the evening were the Beef Rendang dumplings – a richly flavoursome mix of braised beef and garlic, with ginger, galangal, and tamarind amping up this very iconic Southeast Asian flavour profile, topped with toasted coconut for a creamy finish – and the Truffle Mushroom dumpling. The latter, a vegan friendly dish, packed an awesome flavour punch with the full flavours of field mushrooms, black truffles, and truffle oil giving this a super umami hit. The addition of green peppercorns gave a freshness and complexity that made for one delicious, and perfectly pleated, flavour explosion.
For those who are looking for a more traditional experience, Drumplings also offers an extensive selection of traditional Chinese style dumplings and soups. Prawn and chive hargow, Xiao long bao, and a to-die-for vegan umami broth stick pretty closely to the traditional flavours, and offer a little respite for your less culinarily daring dining partners!
It would be criminal – villainous even! – if I didn’t let you in on my most amazing discovery of the night: dessert dumplings! Drumplings has three dessert offerings that will impress even the pickiest diner. The first – and our favourite – was the Nutella dumplings. A cheeky and sweet tumble of banana, Nutella, and walnut, ensconced in a perfectly steamed lolly style wrapped dumpling and served with warm custard and strawberry sauce, the Nutella dumplings are a must have. Heck, put ’em on your bucket list. Apple crumble dumplings with chunky mulled apple and candied ginger, served with creme fraiche and golden syrup will warm even the coldest heart, and caramelised pineapple spring rolls served with toasted coconut ice cream will finish off your dinner with a sweet crunch.
On the liquid front, Drumplings has a selection of local and imported wines and beers, as well as a variety of flavoured kombucha. I had the raspberry lemonade kombucha, and it was awesome. The tangy lightness made for a perfect pairing with the richness of the dumplings. A rotating cocktail menu keeps things interesting; we made the most of the cold Melbourne winter and finished off our night with a delicious glass of mulled wine.
If your mouth is watering just reading this, then head on down to Bourke Street and check out Drumplings. Keep an eye out for the giant illuminated pink dumpling, you can’t miss it!