Dainty Sichuan Food 天府川菜馆 CBD Melbourne

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Dinner for 10 people in Melbourne, and we didn’t have reservations. Mom’s friends wanted to take us to a new restaurant that they heard is really good. We made our way from the Crown Casino all the to Dainty Sichuan.

Dainty Sichuan Food 天府川菜馆
149-155 Lonsdale Street, CBD
Melbourne, VIC

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When we arrived, we were immediately seated. I was pretty surprised because I was told we didn’t have reservations. There were quite a few people in the lobby area waiting. I was later told that we literally had out big table for  1 hour.

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It’s a really pretty restaurant. Lots of Asian decorations but not tacky at all. I’m don’t love the color pink, but those pink lanterns and bird cages are pretty awesome.

Now, it’s a Sichuan restaurant so I automatically think spicy food (and pandas in Sichuan). But you definitely won’t get much of that here. Or at least we didn’t get any of that.

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Every seat in the restaurant has an electric stove for each individual hot pot. Think Shabu Shabu.

And then think traditional Chinese hot pot where everyone shares 1 big pot and shares all of the meat and vegetables. As a big family, we would enjoy fighting over the food that we put in the pot which disappears because someone ate it!

Anyway, this is a combination of Shabu Shabu and Chinese Hot Pot. Everyone gets their own pot of soup base. Then as a family we order a full spread of meat, vegetables, etc. And then we eat out of our own pot. I guess this is a much friendlier and cleaner way to do Hot Pot.

I don’t have a copy of the menu but from memory, I ordered the mushroom soup base of some sort, Mom, Yunti, and Dad ordered the Seafood soup base, and Aunties and Uncles mostly ordered the Ox Tail soup base.

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It took us a while to order everything though! First of all, we were only given 1 menu to mark. I understand that ordering off of 1 piece of paper is the best for the party, but it’s hard for everyone to give their input on on what they want. And then it was also really hard for them to read the little piece of paper (Sorry Aunties and Uncles). Yuntiha (my sister) and I ended up having to read the menu sheet for them.

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The other very unique part of Dainty Sichuan Food 天府川菜馆 is the sauce. It’s a buffet! Just for the sauce…

The amazing sauce spread allows you to make up almost any concoction you can come up with. And of course hope that it will taste good. I ended up experimenting with a few interesting things and then didn’t like it. I went back to my traditional and boring sauce combination of soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar. That went perfectly with all the amazing food that was going to be cooked in my soup.

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Ok, after all of that…we finally got to eat! We ordered so much food! It was quite an amazing spread.

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I think we ordered 2 of each meat. 2 different cuts of Australian Beef. They say Australian Beef is the best!  Look at the marble on the thinly sliced beef.

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And then their is the Pork Belly. This was actually served quite late. The pork belly was also thinly sliced which makes me want to fry it to make bacon. Boiled, makes it seem healthier though.

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I couldn’t photograph this…but the tripe was really good!

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We ordered this dish because it was recommended. And it was one of the only dishes we got that was not supposed to dropped into our hotpot. It’s a fungus (yun er) salad and that was really refreshing.

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Did you notice the shrimp? It is presented in such a pretty plate! They’re skewered which makes it rather interesting to drop into our pots.

The plate only had 8 shrimps though. But then again, I don’t really like having to peel the shrimp so I would normally pass on the shrimp or my amazing sister Yuntiha will just peel it for me. I’m a lucky girl.

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Continuing on with our spread of seafood, there were muscles and fish balls. The muscles were served standing in a pretty bowl of ice and looked quite fresh. The fish balls did not look like the fish balls I am used to of seeing. I am told that they make these guys fresh. So no preservatives are added nor has this ever been frozen.

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We ordered a few servings of greens but I forgot to take pictures. Seriously though! Don’t forget to order greens, they make a big difference in your hotpot experience. My faves are usually cabbage and spinach.

But, Auntie said that spinach and mushrooms are not a good combination? Any insight on that?

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Oh! And apart from the greens, we ordered a tofu platter which also comes with some noodles and vermicelli (wait, not sure if the noodles were ordered separately).

We finished everything and made our way out of the restaurant just in time. The party that actually reserved that table arrived as our servers were cleaning our table.

Overall, I think this was fun with a big family at this big round table. There are lots of long tables, and don’t see how you can share all of this food at the long tables. As usual hot pot can be rather expensive and sure can add up as you order more food. And the sauce buffet was a waste for me.

Note: Over the past couple of years, my Mom has been reuniting with her high school friends who are all scattered around the world. Thank you to social media (facebook and wechat) they are reconnecting after 40 plus years. Here in Melbourne she caught up with a few friends some of whom she really hasn’t seen since she left Vietnam in the 70’s.

Thank you Aunties for a fun and yummy experience at Dainty Sichuan Food 天府川菜馆. Was this Sichuan food? I have no idea.



  1. What, each one got their own little pot? Where’s the fun? :p
    So far I had only hot pot with one huge one in the middle/ huge pot with two sections depending how spicy or also depending on the ingredients.
    Last year I was for a few days in Sichuan in some smaller towns, it was pretty fun and interesting experience

    1. I think our dinner went by fast because nobody was fighting for food in a big shared pot. So I guess it really wasn’t as fun as it could have been. 😛

  2. I always get the half spicy stock and half mushroom stock for my individual hot pot. I love Dainty’s but it can get a bit pricey!

    1. I didn’t know you could have half and half soup! That would have been fun to try. Are the other Dainty’s the same?

  3. The seafood looks amazing. I like how the shrimp and mussels look. The buffet sauce is interesting. Maybe the Aunties and Uncles know unique sauce combination that tastes good.

    1. I’m sure they all had their own combination, but I didn’t have a chance to ask since they were all so busy catching up with each other.

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