Campbell’s newest cafe, which opens this Friday, is all about taking things back to basics. …
While many restaurants come and go, Chinese Kitchen Dumpling House at Westfield Woden has been enticing customers back time and time again for four decades.
Westfield Woden has grown and evolved over the years, from back in its Woden Plaza days, through a number of upgrades, to the modern shopping precinct it is today. But there’s one tenant who has been there since the beginning and seen it all through: Chinese Kitchen Dumpling House.
In fact, when the restaurant first opened back in the 1970s it was one of Canberra’s very first Chinese restaurants, and the first to bring authentic Chinese barbecue to the south. The original owners were refugees who had fled China and moved to Australia. They settled in Canberra and opened Chinese Kitchen, serving up the authentic flavours from their former home.
Current owner Nick Wu is just the third owner of the restaurant. He came to Australia himself in 2001 to study, and worked in a number of Chinese restaurants, including Chinese Kitchen. When the previous owners were looking to sell in 2015 after decades at the helm, they offered Nick the opportunity to carry on the business, and he jumped at the chance.
Much has changed over the years around them, and the restaurant itself is now in its third location, sitting behind big red doors at Woden Dining, on Corinna Street at Westfield Woden.
But what keeps diners coming back is the consistency in flavours, and the knowledge that their favourite dish will be oh-so-satisfying on every single visit.
All of the staff in the kitchen team are from Asia, and all bring their own unique techniques and styles to add to the authentic taste that’s served up on the plate.
Just as it was way back when, traditional Chinese barbecue is still a specialty on the menu. Their barbecue chef is originally from Guangzhou, and has been perfecting the art of barbecue since he was in his teens.
“He is really a master chef of the barbecue, and his recipe is really old-style Asian,” says Nick.
“He does it in his way that he’s been doing for four decades since when he was 16 or 17. So he massages the duck, and he insists on using the old style of ovens so he keeps everything in his control.”
And then there are the dumplings. They were added to the menu in 2014, which is when Dumpling House was also added to the name. They’re all made in-house by the specialty dumpling chef who’s from Shanghai.
“They’re made in the Shanghai-style, so they’re not the massive ones. When I took over the restaurant, I asked the previous couple if we could keep using the same recipe, and they were very generous. So they’re still consistently the same,” says Nick.
While some of the dumplings pop with bright colours, like green and orange, all of the colouring used is natural and squeezed fresh from vegetables.
Elsewhere on the menu is plenty more, from stir-fries and hot pot to noodles, soups, and omelettes, and everything is made with fresh produce and premium cuts of meat.
A hot tip? Chinese Kitchen and Dumpling House’s laksa has been lovingly perfected by one of their chefs who is from Malaysia, and it’s just the ticket to take the edge of a Canberra winter day. Consider us sold.
What: Chinese Kitchen Dumpling House
Where: Woden Dining, Corinna Street, Westfield Woden
When: Open for lunch and dinner, seven days
Phone: (02) 6260 4888