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Dumplings and wine done differently.

Forget all your preconceptions about inner-city dumpling houses and cheap, fast Chinese restaurants. Ruyi is a new breed of Chinese restaurant, one that inhabits a space somewhere between the Chinatown stalwarts and the high-end likes of Chin Chin.

Fresh, quality ingredients are the main focus of the food and the menu offers some inspired flavours. Instead of the oily, heavily sauced dishes you might expect, here you'll find the likes of salt and pepper soft-shell crab ($16), mushroom and crispy tofu skin parcels topped with caviar ($12 for three pieces), summer chicken with fresh mango and vegetables ($25), sliced beef fillet with wasabi, zucchini and peppers ($28) and fragrant floral jelly with ice cream and pistachio nuts ($15) to finish.

Then, of course, there are the dumplings. Made onsite and smelling of freshly steamed dough, they are filled with pork and crab, vegetables, pork and chive, seafood or pork and prawn.

Also doubling as a wine bar, Ruyi is the perfect environment for sitting and sipping — with a side of dumplings if the hunger calls for it. The wine list is extensive without being overwhelming and features local and European drops as well as organic options.

It is apt that the atmosphere at Ruyi is clean, fresh and bright — just like the food. The earthy interior, designed by renowned studio Hecker Guthrie, features plenty of pale timber, tiling, potted plants, pendant lights and an edible colour palette of jade, oxblood and sage. Everything seems well considered and every little detail holds meaning. The name itself is an ode to owner Sheng Fang's family heritage; Ruyi is a spiritual family heirloom said to make everything 'as you wish'. It's a beautiful sentiment, and quite befitting of this bright new CBD restaurant.

Published on March 19, 2014 by Julia Gaw

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