Dominion Road seems to be the magic spot for cheap, delicious Asian eateries to acquire a cult following. The newest contender on the block is Belly Worship.
Taking the place of Yong's Hand Pulled Noodles, Belly Worship is a neon-lit (are we not sick of Instagramming bright lights yet?), partially self-service, Chinese restaurant. The piles of free caramel corn being handed to those waiting for a table (yes, it's been open for less than a week, done very little to promote itself and still has queues) are the first nice touch to lure people in.
The flow is still a bit clunky. The waiter shows you to your table and explains the menu but then asks you to go back to the entrance to order your food. The waiters happily bring food to the table but you then have to go to the other side of the restaurant to get your cutlery and plates. In the age of instant gratification, this may not be the most successful of moves, however it's a very minor, very first-world inconvenience and we may just stack it up as opening week speed wobbles.
There are a few fun little quirks to be found, such as the $3 unlimited sides option which buys you all-you-can-consume fizzy drinks, popcorn, pretzels and corn chips. Needless to say, this is not the place for those watching their figure. And if neon lights are your thing, you'll find plenty of fun, twinkling moments.
Luckily the quality of the food makes up for any lazy millennial qualms about having to order at the counter. The spicy pancakes are the star of the show. The pork belly, lamb and duck pancake toppings are first equal. The whole range of dumplings are delicious enough to stand out amongst Dominion Road's established dumpling joints. And the Lychee Pork — pork fried to look like lychee and served with actual lychees — is another killer option. It's covered in batter and deep-fried, so be prepared to waddle out. There are also vegetarian options and a range of intriguing desserts, which we look forward to making our way through.
Belly Worship is an interesting opening and an interesting concept. And it might just have what it take to be one of Dominion Road's famed favourites.