Food and Drink
Posted by Glennise Pinili
17. Jul, 2014
Away from Johnston Street’s main strip there’s a curious big glass window, red neon sign and vinyls loosely strung together.
Step inside and welcome to Shu’s dinner party. The intimate space oozes edgy and experimental. There are plenty of cool fit-outs, from the transitioning coloured lights, industrial chains, handmade coat-hanger features and Louis ghost chairs—all mellowed out by chilled tracks and artsy videos on the background projection screen. And that’s where owner, Shu Liu’s fashion-designer experience comes in handy.
But his creative genius doesn’t stop at decor. Shu Restaurant’s focus is Sichuan cuisine, reinvented. The menu is a surprise—a dinner degustation that prides itself on seasonal and organic produce, therefore frequently changes.
Liu explores the sensory boundaries of texture, flavour, aroma, colour and heat in each dish. True to Sichuan cuisine, there is a fair sprinkling of chilli and spice to dishes, but don’t be deterred. Shu caters to dietary requirements; just give them a heads up.
There were a few standout dishes on Milk Bar’s visit. First course’s organic beef dumplings with homemade chilli jam popped. It burst with a full meaty flavour, which was enhanced by the organic meat. The Peking duck rice paper rolls were memorable for its killer homemade hoisin sauce, tender duck breast, fresh mint and textural play.
Similarly the silken tofu with soy beans had great textures and flavours. Served in a tumbler, it tasted best when the roasted nuts, soy beans, creamy tofu and hint of chilli jam were mixed, scooped and left to play on your tongue.
Raw dishes such as the salmon sashimi stood out for its freshness, while the pickled dishes challenged the tastebuds with its unique flavours. Venturing into contemporary territory was the spicy quinoa with soy shoots and beans, as well as the lamb with sautéed pumpkin.
A perfect finale to the degustation was the grass jelly with coconut sago and green bean ice-cream dessert, cooling the heat off with its creaminess and subtle sweetness whilst also refreshing the palate.
Innovatively Shu delivers in balancing traditional and modern, along with a certain boldness and promise to succeed.
147 Johnston Street, Collingwood
(03) 9090 7878
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