So I came across this one as I heard the chef is ex-Flower Drum. With a family birthday dinner due, I used the opportunity to try it out.
When we walked into the restaurant, the first thing that we noticed was this is a Asian restaurant that is frequent by non Asian diners. We were the only table of Asian within the restaurant but it didn't really bother us too much as long as the service and quality of food made it worth while.
To start we ordered the soft shelled crab, when this came to our table it was actually after our mains... and it just looked like a big mess on a plate. The crab wasn't seasoned very well so it was purely relying on the crab's natural flavours but there was so much batter on the crab, that it was hard to taste anything else. I think if there was less batter it would have been a lot better.
We ordered a crispy skin chicken but what arrived at our table wasn't actually a chicken but more a spatchcock. It was divided into 8 pieces and there was 10 of us at dinner. It would have been nice if we were informed beforehand by the waitress. Besides the small portion (and the fact it was a spatchcock and not a chicken) the skin was nice and crispy, which the meat was still tender. There was a good balance of the skin being not too oily but also not dry.
Next was the Yee Mien, which is basically a simple stir fried noodle with mushrooms and chives. It wasn't too oily or salty and the noodles were soft without being soggy. It was a nice dish but nothing spectacular.
Mapo tofu was also on the menu. I'm not expert on mapo tofu but this one was just very very spicy and also very sweet. I didn't mind the sweetness too much but I know normally you don't get that in Mapo tofu. The tofu bits were silky and soft.
Spicy eggplant pot, in Chinese it's actually translate more to 'fish fragrant eggplant' as originated from a village in China that had fishing as a primary trade. It's generally spicy from spicy bean paste and depending who is making it sometimes peppercorn too. The one at Tao Tao was not too spicy but more just very very sweet...... The eggplant was braised nicely and there was a generous amount of mince meat and garlic. I think if not for the sweetness it won't have been too bad.
We also ordered, stir fried beans, salt and pepper fish, sweet and sour pork but none of them are really worth talking about.
Overall I found the food to be no different to an average Chinese restaurant you'll find in Box Hill or the city but at a higher price. I think the service was horrid, we were ignored while the waitress was busy giving hugs and kisses to another diner nearby. Between the spatchcock and soft shell crab there was a 30 minute wait. I've read about how great this place is for yum cha, so maybe it's good for yum cha only? If you are accustomed to Chinese food I would not recommend you come here. I just have to say I left feeling very disappointed.