As ridiculous as this might sound, one of the highlights of my adventure to New Zealand earlier this year was sitting in a brewery in Tauranga eating dumplings and drinking craft beer.
It’s not as ridiculous as it sounds for a brewery to be one of the highlights of my adventure when I tell you that there was a cyclone and it was the best place to be for an afternoon!
Since coming home, all I’ve been craving is dumplings.
I’ve been buying frozen dumplings from the supermarket to have at home, but they simply aren’t the same… delicious, but not the same.
But you’ll be happy to hear I have researched and found the most delicious dumplings at a bar in Maitland – The Whistler, and on Tuesday nights they have $1 dumpling night.
You’ll find The Whistler at 436 High Street, Maitland with a sign at the front door that says “come in and take a load off”. The Whistler serves everything from breakfast to lunch and dinner, there’s delicious coffee and a genuinely awesome bar with everything you can think of.
I went with one of my beautiful friends on a quiet Tuesday night (still sweaty from Crossfit!) with the intention of having nothing but dumplings, but the menu was just too tempting. We ordered both the chicken and vegetarian pot sticker dumplings with yuzu and soy dipping sauce. They were only a dollar a dumpling and on any other night they’re not too badly priced at $17 for a plateful with a bowl of sauce.
We also ordered the garlic bread pizza and sticky pork belly bites with jalapeno slaw. The sauce on the pork belly was worth licking the plate for or even better, dipping the dumplings in when all of the pork was gone!
The beetroot, fetta and tarragon arancini are delicious too, as is the classic bowl of fries that you can nibble on with The Whistler’s housemade seasoning and aioli while you sip a glass of wine or a cocktail which the owners say “rival any underground Melbourne hipster bar”.
I have to warn you, the cocktail menu really does rival even the hippiest of hipster bars in Melbourne – there are so many to choose from including all of the classics like the whiskey sour, the margarita and the negroni. I went for the margarita and I was definitely not disappointed. In fact, I was even happier when the waitress apologised because she had made it a little on the stronger side!
There are plenty of options if you have dietary requirements. The dumplings have a vegetarian option, the garlic pizza bread is vegan, and there are gluten-free options and the option to make many of the meals gluten-free if you need to.
The Whistler has several different burgers and pizzas, as well as some bougie pub classics like prosciutto-wrapped scotch fillet with mashed potato, broccolini and baby carrots and quinoa-crusted fish and chips.
If you are looking for somewhere for lunch there are plenty of specials on offer daily and The Whistler does an excellent breakfast with smoothies, fresh juice, classic big breakfasts and eggs benny, chilli-scrambled eggs and nourish bowls.
Coffee snobs won’t be disappointed with cold brew on offer, espresso, every kind of milk you can think of and superfood latte’s if you’re looking for something different.
If you’re looking for somewhere to hold a function The Whistler can help you out with that too. They have a function room at the back of the restaurant that can cater for 80 people and a menu of various platters with all of your favourites from the menu.
The $1 dumplings on Tuesdays for lunch and dinner is just one of the regular specials at The Whistler. On Wednesdays, they serve pizza and beer all day and on Thursdays, you can go in for a burger and a beer to celebrate it nearly being Friday.
As the saying goes “we’re here for a good time, not a long time” and the team at The Whistler guarantee if you head there for a cocktail and a feed, “you’ll be sure to find something that tickles you right where it feels good”.