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When I heard that the owner of Zilver, Henry Tang, had opened a new restaurant, The Eight, I just had to get there and check it out. The Eight is on the top floor of Market City (on the site which once held Kam Fook). It’s large, holding about 750 people.

We got there to The Eight about 11:30am on a Sunday, and managed to walk right in, and sit down at a table right away. By the time we left there were people queuing up outside.

The size amplifies the hubbub of activity always surrounding yum cha, with a constant stream of carts passing by.

Please forgive me if I don’t use all of the correct names of the dishes (gwei-lo!). We started with the scallop siu mai. Gorgeous.

Followed by vegetable dumplings, with mushroom and corn inside:

Spinach and prawn dumplings:

The char siu bau and other dishes:

The char siu bau was particularly tasty, with a touch of ginger.

Towards the end of the meal, one of the ? managers ? came around, making sure that we had eaten all we wanted, and to tell us about the parking. Most helpful. And that seemed to be unusual in a yum cha place, where the service is usually brusque.

The dumplings which had been fried. Full of flavour.

After we had finished eating, we saw this grill at the side of the room on the way out. Apparently the taro, turnip and chestnut cakes, and the other things here have to be ordered specifically, either by asking a waiter or coming here to order it, rather than choose it from a roving cart:

So I’m still figuring out how it all works. I’ve also heard of some ordering additional dishes from menus with pictures, which would be helpful, but maybe that referred to the evening meal instead of yum cha.

Apparently parking between 11am and 2pm (on a weekend at least), you can pay The Eight $1, and they’ll stamp your parking ticket from the car park downstairs, so you only pay $3 there, making the parking $4 for that whole time. That’s a good deal.

The food we tried in yum cha at The Eight was fresh and delicious, with some new spins to some of the dishes, and good-sized serves. I’ll certainly be back to try it again, especially as I know now about how ordering dishes like the taro cakes separately (i.e. not waiting for a cart to drop by).


Here are the details about The Eight at time of posting. Please check their web site for more current details.

Web site
Address Level 3, Market City, 9 Hay St, Haymarket, NSW, 2000
Phone (02) 9282 9988
Open Mon-Fri 10am-3:30pm, 5:30pm-11pm
Sat-Sun 9am-4pm, 5:30pm-11pm
Menu Chinese: yum cha for lunch, a la carte for dinner ($25-35 mains)
The Eight Modern Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Where do you like to go for yum cha?

Istana, Thornleigh

March 21, 2011 — 6 Comments

We called and made a reservation for dinner at Istana on a Saturday night, and we were very glad when we arrived that we had done that, with people queuing at the door, and a full restaurant. Istana is ordinary decor-wise, with table-cloths and decor looking a bit dated.

We had planned to order the Hainanese chicken, a curry prawns dish and a curry eggplant, wanting a few spicy things. The fellow taking our order said that the Shangtung chicken, with chicken rice, would be better. All a bit funny the way that happened, but we were willing to give it a try.

Here are the prawns we started with, cut in half lengthwise, still in their shells:

They were tasty, tasting of chili and a fish-sauce mix. Maybe it’s just my background, but I didn’t so much enjoy the prawn shells still being on, extracting the prawns from the shells. Seemed a bit fiddly.

The eggplant tasted just how it looks in the photo, not like what we expected, which was for it to be in a curry sauce.

The dishes so far were so-so, in my view. It was the next dishes that I loved. The chicken rice was so full of flavour I would be happy to just eat that and nothing else. This is not a good photo, but I have included it because it does show the glistening of the rice:

The flavour was full of chicken, edged with lemongrass. Oh so good.

The photo at the top shows the Shantung chicken, deliciously tender, but with the skin crispy. Served with a sauce which was a little sweet, and vinegary, with some chili. Also very good.

In summary, then, some elements of the experience were ordinary, but I’d go back for the Shangtung chicken and the chicken rice. Maybe some of others would also be as good.


Here are the details about Istana at time of publishing this post. Call them for current details.

Web site Istana doesn’t have a web site yet.
Address Shop 15a, 230-238 Pennant Hills Rd, Thornleigh, NSW 2120
Phone (02) 9481 8855
Menu Malaysian Chinese, mains $20-35
Istana on Urbanspoon

So, where is your favourite Malaysian restaurant?