Food and Drink
Posted by Amy Leonard
06. Aug, 2014
I’ve never much been a fan of restaurants in shopping centres. I always find them slightly below par, or with a food-court-type feel to them.
This was the mindset I had when I went along to check out New Shanghai, a new Chinese restaurant nestled in the back corner of the third floor of Emporium.
Well, boy did they prove me wrong.
From humble beginnings as a local dumpling haunt in Sydney’s north shore, the New Shanghai empire has expanded to eight restaurants located across Sydney, Brisbane and now Melbourne, as well as an international offering in Shanghai itself.
Again, these guys break the mold on that front too. Despite being part of a much larger family it has nothing of a chain restaurant feel to it. With a capacity of 120, it still feels cosy and traditional.
New Shanghai’s signature Chinese cuisine is inspired by traditional delicacies found on the streets of Shanghai. Their menu is brimming over with their famous dumplings, including the xiao long bao, a mini steamed pork bun with gingery-sweet broth and a juicy pocket of pork made using a secret family recipe. These are simply divine, light and fresh and juicy.
The star of the dumpling menu has to be the pan-fried pork bun, a New Shanghai delicacy made using a generations-old family technique. It is a slightly heavier affair, steamed and then pan fried on the bottom for a crispy base. Warning, it also contains a broth so maybe give it a little puncture before biting in to it. This will prevent the soup squirting across the table, like mine did the first time I gave one a go!
We also tried the Shepherds Purse pork wonton tossed in peanut sauce, red chilli oil and spice which was just delicious. Served with shredded cucumber that cuts through the richness of the oil and peanut sauce, and cools the chilli too, it’s genius.
Main course was rainbow beef, crispy chicken and, the one the stood out for me, soft shell crab. The beef and chicken were good don’t get me wrong, but paled in comparison with the crab which was in a wonderfully light and crispy batter. It was salty and teeming with garlic and chilli notes. Wonderful.
Aside from the food, the decor is pretty spot on too. The bar is plastered with vintage Chinese posters and there are faux balconies along the top of the wall with plants and little lights wrapped around the railings. Hand laid cobblestone tiles add to the atmosphere of authenticity, transporting diners straight to a 1930s Shanghai street.
The kitchen is glass-walled, turning it into a live dumpling making theatre where diners can see the chefs in action and it’s a pretty cool sight to see.
The food is awesome, as are the staff, and the place has got a great feel. Looking for a genuine Shanghainese eatery? Check it out folks.
Shop 323, Level 3, Emporium Shopping Centre
287 Lonsdale St
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