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Nahji Chu has announced the opening of her first new venture for 2017, Cha Li Boi, a 750sqm reimagined Yum Cha hall in Bondi Junction. The new venue, which pays tribute to Chu’s grandfather and Chinese heritage, is situated above the East Leagues Club in Bondi Junction and will open on 9 May.

“We’ve stripped the venue back to an empty shell and then occupied it with a commercial kitchen, and designed a continuous swerving seating plan that fills the entire hall – like a runway for the dumpling trolleys. It really feels like you’re in Hong Kong in an industrial site that is occupied by a restaurateur. Clean living, great food and wines, it’s just to be enjoyed,” said Chu.

Chef John Leong (ex-Billy Kwong) helms the upmarket casual diner and has created the menu in collaboration with Chu.

The food offering includes pacman dumplings, made up of a series of four dumplings filled with sustainable scallop and scampi, duck a l’orange, vegan variations, prawn har gau and tempura eggplant on mashed avocado; tanned leather jacket, consisting of steamed dumplings filled with leather jacket fish, scallop and curried sweet pumpkin folded into a jacket shape with squid ink translucent skin; ling my bell, goldfish shaped, orange tailed dumplings of ling fish and bell mushrooms; and clawback dumplings, featuring steamed king crab legs with claws exposed.

The menu also includes two house specialities – a steamed free-range cha li pork boa and the vegan man bun featuring tempura okra, shiitake, organic tofu and kohlrabi purslane – as well as chicken’s feet.

In collaboration with Chui Lee Luk, Chu has also designed certified gluten free skins and dumplings featuring native ingredients including karkalla, saltwort and warrigal greens.

The wine list has been compiled by sommelier Paula Scholes of Madame Brussels in Melbourne and features small producer and high end wines at accessible prices,  including organic wines like Fritz Hasselback Reisling (Germany), Whispering Angel Rose (France), William Downie Pinot (Vic) and Prophet’s Rock Pinot Gris (NZ). A Car Bar will also be available, serving up bubble-tea cocktails alongside fruit cups and non-alcoholic organic teas.

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