The Governor Hotel’s premium Cantonese restaurant, Jinja, has opened a lunchtime yum cha service – and it’s bringing in the lunch crowd looking for a quick bite.

Momento Hospitality opened Jinja at The Governor Hotel in August 2022, offering a premium fine dining Cantonese restaurant within the pub. The idea behind the restaurant was to service the numerous corporates that surround the hotel, centrally located in Sydney’s Macquarie Business Park.

Jinja has been well received, being fully booked out for the first two months since opening. During the day, it was most popular for long lunch meetings. Part of the initial plan when opening Jinja was to eventually begin a yum cha service, once the a la carte menu had been well established. Another big push for getting a yum cha service under way was feedback from corporate workers about being able to eat at the restaurant within a normal lunch hour, and for a smaller cost.

“We were getting a lot of corporate groups from Macquarie Business Park and they were saying they would love to come back but they were looking for a quicker meal, and only yum cha is possible to cater for that one-hour break time,” states Mirza Baig, Momento Hospitality’s project lead for premium food and beverage activations, and Jinja’s first general manager.

“So yum cha was the solution to that time challenge, and also gives people the option to dine within $50.”

A different service model

Yum cha is offered from Wednesday to Sunday at Jinja during the day, while a la carte dining is reserved for the evening service. On Sundays, yum cha is the only service, as the restaurant is not open in the evening.

The yum cha menu is a condensed version of the a la carte offer, with 30 items from across all sections of Jinja’s menu. Popular dishes include the classics, like steamed BBQ pork buns; har gao; chicken and mushroom congee; honey-glazed char siu pork; and custard buns.

Jinja offers a different service model for yum cha, with 60-80 covers worth of the dishes pre-batched, so that they can be placed on trolleys and brought directly onto the dining room floor, where diners can then pick and receive the dishes immediately.

Any diners who wish to can still order off the a la carte menu – with items like roast duck remaining popular – but there is a 15-20 minute wait. While the service model is different, Jinja’s premium experience remains the same.

“We’re still providing the same level of dining experience, it’s just the price point and speed of service which has changed,” states Baig.

Two weeks after Jinja started serving yum cha, the new offer was proving very popular with surrounding businesses looking for a quick lunch.

“The response has been really good. We’ve seen a big growth in walk-ins now. Jinja is now becoming the place where people are happy to walk in and get a meal within 30-45 minutes and then pay for their individual items, rather than splitting the bill.”

Eventually, Jinja intends on also offering a high tea service.

This piece was first published in the current issue of Australian Hotelier, which you can view below.

Vanessa Cavasinni

Vanessa Cavasinni is the managing editor of Australian Hotelier and Club Management, trade publications for the pub and club sectors respectively. Vanessa has been at the helm of Australian Hotelier since...

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