So it’s been quite a while since my last review. Apologies for that, but there are now a few new places for me to try. Last weekend I popped into Shanghai Street – purveyors of xiao long bao and dumplings.
This restaurant is the baby sister restaurant to the Shanghai Street in Little Bourke St in the city and is at the site where Haruaki used to be. First impressions are that the “reno” seems to consist of painting everything poo brown and sticking a Coke machine in the corner. Certainly the focus hasn’t been on decor or vibe so hopefully the food is able to make up for it.
After we got the prerequisite Tsingtao beers in, we ordered some traditional xiao long bao (pork filled steamed buns) and some pan fried pork dumplings. Get some pork on your chopstick doesn’t have quite the same ring to it but I like pork so I was happy to double up. For the main we decided to share the stir fried eye fillet and garlic and cashew nuts. Well cashew nut singular according to the menu but I was secretly hoping for more, especially since we were sharing. A fight over a single cashew using chopsticks is always going to get messy.
Oddly, since it was supposed to be the main, it was the eye fillet that arrived first. The fact that it was sitting prouder than a honeymooners dick on a leaf of iceberg lettuce let us know that it was the dish we’d ordered rather than them just clearing up some doggy do from their pet German Shepard which they mistakenly left on our table. It wasn’t pretty, but we’d already determined that aesthetics wasn’t what this restaurant was about. Luckily the meat was juicy and tender with lovely flavours, plenty of garlic… and more than one nut.
No long into our first bite, the xiao long bao and the dumplings turned up as well which required a bit of jostling to fit onto the table. It was quite a sizable amount of food. Luckily, I can eat a sizable amount of food.
The xiao long bao gave the impression of the pork being under done… but maybe they’re supposed to be that pink, I’m not sure. It didn’t stop me from eating them, and they were pretty good but they were a lot better once I discovered the tin of chilli in oil on the table. The chilli definitely added an extra taste dimension and is highly recommended. The pan fried dumplings were more than a mouthful and very tasty. Again, the chilli oil improved them significantly.
Would I go back? Well, it was a good meal at a reasonable price in a less than salubrious environment. And really that could be in any one of dozens of Chinese restaurants in inner Melbourne. So, I guess whether I go back might be proportional to how many beers I’ve had and my prevailing care factor of poo brown decor.
Note: This is for CBD restaurant as the Chapel St one isn’t on Urban Spoon yet.