21st January 2016
482 Springvale Rd
Forest Hill, VIC 3133
Third time lucky, or that’s the hope. After the unfortunate closure of our local favourite, The Treasure, it was even more unfortunately replaced by the god-awful Penang Laksa House. Thankfully the latter didn’t stick around for too long, and soon we saw banners for the Overseas Seafood Restaurant being nailed up. As it turns out, Overseas actually does hail from overseas; Malaysia to be precise, and pretty soon they were doing a roaring trade of yum cha and dinner banquets.
My parents aren’t too keen on Cantonese food, but they do make an exception for yum cha. When we showed up on New Year’s Day (with a booking), they were rather understaffed; the entire floor of the packed-out restaurant was run by just half a dozen or so waiters. It took a while for us to get their attention, and another few minutes for a table to be cleared.
As we settled down with cups of Chrysanthemum Tea ($2pp), trolleys upon trolleys whizzed by, laden with snacks and puffing steam. There was plenty of choice; all the classics were there, plus some variations and dishes I had never come across before. There were also a few things that weren’t available unless you specifically requested them, so if you don’t see a favourite of yours, be sure to ask – they likely have it hiding out the back!
Chicken Feet, or as the Chinese call it, Phoenix Talons are one of my most favourite things to eat, ever. And these were very well done indeed. The process of marination, deep frying, and steaming had rendered these morsels sticky and gelatinous, each bite full of rich soy flavour.
Following in the footsteps (HAH) of the chicken feet, the Beef Tripe (aka Hundred Beef Leaves according to the Chinese) were similarly fantastic. Each piece of tripe was steamed with a delicately aromatic combination of ginger, scallions, and chilli. The texture was spot-on too – a careful balancing act between tender and chewy.
I love pork ribs at yum cha, but I’ve never had Pork Ribs on Rice Noodles before. It turned out to be a fantastic idea, as it meant that the meaty juices of the braised pork ribs can be soaked into the slippery rice noodles for maximum enjoyment.
We also got a plate of Fried Whitebait. These had obviously been sitting on the trolley for a little while, as they tasted soggy and a bit oily. Still, the salt and pepper seasoning was on-point, and no one had any major complaints.
It’s just not yum cha without Prawn Dumplings, and these hit the mark quite nicely. The skin was light and smooth, though unfortunately the trade-off was that it split at the bottom when we tried to pick it up. Thankfully it was redeemed by the fresh, chunky filling of plump prawns.
The Century Egg Congee was something we had to specially request, and soon we had a couple of bowls topped with scallions and shards of wonton skin. I’ve had better congees and I’ve had worse, but you can’t argue with the way the rice is boiled down until it’s soupy, savoury, and comforting.
To end our savouries, we ordered a plate of Beef Tendons from the kitchen. Contrary to the intricately flavoured Phoenix Talons and Hundred Beef Leaves, these tasted a little one dimensional. Still, the sticky, collagen rich pieces of tendon were more than good enough to hold their own.
One of mum’s favourite things is the Glutinous Sesame Balls, so we asked the kitchen to cut up a plate for us. These erred a little on the tough side, as opposed to chewy and crispy like the really good ones are. Still, the mild sweetness and nutty sesame seeds combined to make these rather moreish anyway.
Water Chestnut Cakes aren’t something we usually have, but the waitress talked us into giving it a go, and they turned out surprisingly good. The wobbly, jelly-like cake heralded a mild sweetness and the crunch of water chestnut pieces. Despite being pan-fried, these were light and refreshing.
We finished off our meal with a bowl of Silken Tofu in Ginger Syrup. The tender tofu just begged to be sipped through the gaps of the teeth with the sweet, warm ginger syrup. And what’s the Chinese name for this you ask? Tofu Flowers.
Thank goodness Overseas Seafood Restaurant is as good as the multitude of cars parked outside led me to believe. Although it’s busier and less quaint than it was back in the days of The Treasure, hopefully this means that it won’t be closing down any time soon. I’m keen to come back to try some of their a la carte offerings; maybe I can convince mum and dad for Chinese New Year.
Oh and, in case you were wondering, our meal came to $77.6. Pretty decent for 11 dishes and tea for 4 if you ask me.
Rating: 14/20 – yummy cha.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.