Dumpling lovers, rejoice! There is yet another player when it comes to the Valley dining scene, adding to the likes of Harajuku Gyoza and Brunswick Social.
Step off Brunswick Street and into the tiny hole in the wall that is Fat Dumpling and you'll immediately feel as though you've just stepped off a hidden laneway into a quirky cool Melbourne eatery. With exposed red brick walls; a giant white painted hand with chopsticks; and funky, Asian-inspired interior embellishments (figurine soldiers and oriental adornments), this place is screaming nonchalant eclectic vibes.
The front of the restaurant is occupied by a handful of dining tables built mainly for two, while up the back you'll find an impossibly small kitchen where you'll see these guys turning over bamboo baskets and plates of pan-fried deliciousness nonstop.
Of course, with dumpling in their name, you'd expect it to be their specialty. Choose from poached, steamed and pan-fried with fillings of pork and cabbage, fish, prawn and chives, chicken and asparagus, or vegetarian. But it's the pork xiao long bao (which only come steamed) that are highly recommended. Arriving like small money bags expertly rolled and twisted at the top to capture the filling and soupy juices, it is super tasty, and a serve of eight pieces is far too easily devoured.
Dishing up a small selection of other Chinese-style dishes such as shallot pancakes (crispy, golden and simply delicious), salt and pepper prawns, Chinese broccoli (the sauce is ridiculously moreish) and a sweet pork belly makes Fat Dumpling a great destination for a quick post-work meal or a pre-night out feed.
Oh, and it's BYO. Win!