Asian food has been in vogue for the last decade in New Zealand but has recently seen an explosion in both types and tastes of the genre. During Christchurch’s rebuild, there’s been more expansion into this form of cuisine and Pot Sticker Dumplings is jumping on that bandwagon. Pot Sticker started from humble beginnings as a small takeaway joint on Columbo Street and has now ventured into the different ballpark of a full-blown restaurant. I was taken by some friends during my brief trip to Christchurch and walked out with mixed opinions – here’s a breakdown.
They’ve done a great job here creating an Asian themed restaurant with an air of sophistication. There are cosy booths to sit in, separated by bamboo walls and an open dining area in the back for larger groups. You can see directly into the kitchen where they prepare the food and the decorations are all ingredients/equipment they use to make their meals. This gives it a more authentic touch instead of random ornaments which are often scattered throughout similar restaurants.
Ordering was fun and interactive, you were given a paper menu, a box of pencils and could fill out your order of what you wanted – similar to an ordering system you’d find in some yum cha places. I guess the tree hugger in me hoped they would recycle the paper from all these orders but it was definitely quicker than waiting your turn to recite what you want to the waitress.
Absolutely delicious! Dumplings always seemed like a sharing affair so my friend and I halved two lots of the ‘Dozen Matter’. A brilliant medley of six lucky dip dumplings chosen at random by the chef – comes in either fried or steamed. In our mix was ‘Chicken and Corn’, ‘Pork and Coriander’ and ‘Pork and Chives’.
From the Dim Sum options, we got the ‘Prawn and Coriander’ and ‘Pork and Prawn’ and since we were feeling brave, we also topped up with a ‘Peking Duck Burger’.
All the flavours were brilliantly authentic and the texture of the dumpling/dim sum dough was some of the best I’ve ever had. I also tried some of the Cucumber Szechuan Salad – a good level of spice and something refreshing for your palate in between stuffing your face with more dumplings. Portions were definitely on the small side compared to other Asian restaurants but then again, I’ve got a big appetite.
Definitely room for improvement here. While we were tended to quickly in terms of being seated, it went downhill for us from there. They got my friend’s order wrong but there were no waitresses around to sort this out discreetly. This meant an awkward trip up to the counter to describe the situation and a lot of faffing around to try determine what filling it had without opening the dumplings. They rectified her order by making another batch but since it’s made fresh, all of us had already finished eating by the time she received her food – let’s just say her eating experience was pretty rushed. We also overheard the customers in the booth behind us complain that this was the second time their order was wrong too so this might not be a one off.
It does seem like the restaurant is understaffed for the amount of customers they had coming through – they haven’t quite got the supply and demand projections right yet in that aspect. By the time we finished our meals, there were three parties standing around waiting to be served with no staff to be found. It’s such a shame though because it’s little things like this that eat into the positivity of your dining experience, hence the mixed feelings between good food and limited service.
On the steeper end for the amount of food you receive but justifiable for the flavours. Both the size and amount of dumplings were smaller than expected based on previous experiences with other dumpling restaurants elsewhere. Putting it into perspective, I’d usually pack away 20 dumplings along with some other side dishes, more if I’m ravenous. If I did it here, it would cost me $28 for 18 dumplings alone without taking into account other things from the menu or drinks. Then again, I may have been tainted by the cheap eats down in Dominion Road in Auckland – but that’s another story altogether. I would still class it as a reasonably priced if you were looking for a light to medium sized dinner.
Try it out, food is definitely worth going for. As long as you go in aware of the price to food portion ratio and potential service issues, I guarantee you’ll have a good time. Just note, they don’t take bookings for table under 8 people so you’ll have to try your luck if you plan on going during peak times.
Monday- Sunday 10am to 5pm
363 Colombo St
Tuesday- Sunday 11am to late
144 Lichfield St