Blow-outs don't come much bigger than this. Just under a year after it was anticipated to open, the hoardings are finally set to come down on Melbourne's first Tim Ho Wan. The international yum cha franchise, which landed its first Australian venue in Sydney in 2015, will open in Melbourne, at the eastern edge of Chinatown, on March 16.
It won't take bookings, so as with its rival, dumpling behemoth Din Tai Fung, at the nearby Emporium, punters can expect lengthy queues.
Founding chef Mak Kwai Pui will be in town for the launch, but the day-to-day responsibility for the signature sugar-dusted barbecue pork buns, vermicelli rice paper rolls, pan-fried turnip cakes and siu mai will be in the hands of head chef Yong Qiang Wei, who previously headed the kitchen at Crown Cantonese restaurant, Lucky Chan.
Billed as the world's cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant - the tiny hole-in-the-wall Hong Kong original won the étoile in 2010, only a year after opening - it has now grown to encompass more than 20 outlets across Asia and Australia.
The first Sydney Tim Ho Wan, in Chatswood, has suffered its fair share of upheavals in the 11 months since it opened, including lukewarm reviews and star recruit and head chef Eric Koh's return to Merivale, but the publicity machine is emphasising that Melbourne is under a different management group. Full steam ahead.
Tim Ho Wan, 206 Bourke St, Melbourne, Vic, timhowan.com.au