One of our favourite Downtown dumpling spots has undergone a timely refresh, making us more excited than ever to pop in and pull up a chair. What used to be Xuxu Dumpling Bar — the cosy Britomart space in which we would often seek midweek solace — has been reimagined as Perch, taking everything that we loved about Xuxu, and elevating it to the next level.
Inside, Perch’s fit-out is an update of the existing Xuxu, which was originally designed by Dajiang Tai from Cheshire Architects (who was called on again for the refresh). While retaining its intimate vibe, the new space has been opened up with an extended exterior, where large planters and umbrellas have been used outside to invite diners (and those seeking a tasty tipple) to enjoy the surrounding Downtown streetscape while partaking in a bite or a drink with friends.
On the menu, developed by Executive Chef Nathan Houpapa, traditional Chinese dumplings and spring rolls continue to take centre stage, but the focus is on offering a range of unique flavours, built on ingredients used throughout East Asian cuisines. Here, you will find dishes that harness elements like kimchi, Sichuan pepper and XO Sauce, and take every kind of palate and proclivity into account, whether you prefer salty, sour, spicy, sweet or umami.
And while everything is delicious, highlights include the har gow (with various fillings), the delectable roast duck spring rolls wrapped in lettuce and the cold fern root noodles, served with soy, black vinegar and chilli.
As far as drinks are concerned, Perch offers a concise but considered menu that highlights award-winning local craft beers (from the likes of Brothers Beer), tantalising cocktails that use ingredients like black tea, cherry, coriander and yuzus and a curation of boutique wines from both New Zealand and beyond. Here, everything has been expertly chosen to complement the strong flavours at play on the menu, and the offering is promising the perfect excuse for a couple of after-work drinks.
Ultimately, Perch feels both familiar and completely new. It is as much a casual spot for a quick easy bite as it is the kind of sleek, intimate space in which you could easily celebrate a special occasion or book for date night. Run by a team of experts (including Vik Sirohi, Yeshi Desta, Krishna Botch and Gill French) and offering flavoursome food, satiating drinks and a relaxed but elevated atmosphere, Perch is worth making your regular.
Monday — closed
Tuesday — 4pm until late
Wednesday to Friday — 12pm until late
Saturday — 4pm until late
23 Galway Street,
Cnr Galway & Commerce Streets
(09) 309 5529