Dumpling, dumplings, dumplings…just one of my favourite food items I love, but simply cannot get enough of!
There are plenty of excellent restaurants in Sydney that we have had amazing dumplings including Bamboo Bar, Bistro Hulu and Old Town Hong Kong and my colleague recently mentioned to me that I should try out New Shanghai as their Xiao Long Bao and Pan Fried Pork Buns are to die for!
I was out Saturday night in Chatswood to watch Stephen K Amos at the Concert Hall in The Concourse so this gave me the perfect opportunity to try out New Shanghai. There are actually two New Shanghai restaurants in Chatswood, one in the Lemon Grove Centre and one in Chatswood Chase, but apparently the one in Lemon Grove is much better with larger portions and smaller queues! Sounds great to me.
We arrived at New Shanghai within the Lemon Grove Centre around 6.30pm Saturday night and there was already lots of people waiting outside the restaurant sat around some tables within the shopping centre. This restaurant is a bit different as you cannot book a table in advance. You have to take a ticket number when you arrive and write the number of people you are dining with and wait until your number is called.
Whilst we waited we stood by the large menu outside the restaurant and decided what to eat so we could order straight away once we had our table. The menu is quite extensive, but there are plenty of dishes that are marked as signature dishes to help narrow down your choices and this is exactly what we did. We decided we had to try the Xiao Long Bao (steamed pork dumplings) and the Pan Fried Pork Buns, seeing as they are signature dishes. Both dishes contained 8 pieces each and cost $8.20 and $11.20 respectively which were very reasonably priced.
We also ordered the Shanghai stir fried noodles with pork and vegetables ($10.50) as well as the Rainbow Beef – sweet and sour beef ($18.50).
There are plenty of other dumpling dishes to try as well as wonton soup (which I would have loved to have, but my boyfriend isn’t a fan so didn’t want to waste it as it comes in a large serving). There are also other main dishes including seafood (salt and pepper prawns, sweet and sour fish fillet and stir fried eel), meat (stir fried cumin lamb and slow braised pork belly) as well as poultry (crispy skin chicken and fragrant crispy half duck). If you’re a vegetarian then there are lots of yummy veggies including Chinese broccoli, stir fried bok choy and sautéed string beans.
We only had to wait about 10 minutes until our number was called and we were shown to a table in the middle of the restaurant by the bar. We soon ordered and stuck to tap water, but New Shanghai is BYO and also licensed if you fancy a drink.
The New Shanghai restaurant was full when we sat down and we noticed lots of locals eating here, a sign that it must be good. Our food didn’t take too long to come out and within 10 minutes we were already digging in to our Xiao Long Bao. All four dishes actually arrived within 5 minutes of each other and out table was quite small to fit it all on, but we managed to use the shelf by us for some extra room!
The Xiao Long Bao and Pan Fried Pork Buns came out hot, but the Buns were not what we were expecting. We were expecting those amazing yummy and dough-like buns filled with BBQ pork, but these buns were dumpling-like and just fried on the bottom. Unfortunately we were not a fan of these pork buns, they also had hot liquid inside which burst in our mouth as we ate it. We only ended up eating half of the pork buns, but I managed to devour all of the Xiao Long Bao which were slightly better.
The noodles and rainbow beef turned out to be my favourite dishes of the meal. The noodles were thick, and pretty slippery when trying to use chopsticks and took a while to eat, whilst the beef was crispy and sticky in texture and extremely moreish. I loved the beef and the noodles and would order these two dishes again, but not so sure about the dumplings and buns.
If I was to come back to New Shanghai I would like to try other dumplings to see if I preferred these, as well as the wonton soup. However, it’s best to dine here in a group if you want dumplings as they come in large portions (minimum 8 or 12) so it makes it harder to order a variety of dishes if there are just two of you. However, you can take food away and have it as leftovers.
Overall, the food was good and very affordably priced. We actually had an entertainment card voucher giving us 25% off the bill and it ended up costing us approximately $35 – bargain! Can’t complain at that. If you don’t want to queue for too long, then be sure to come at a time outside peak hour, but we found the queuing time reasonable and there seemed to be a fast turnaround in the restaurant. The staff were friendly and polite, however, when it comes to dumplings then I’ve had better and wouldn’t jump to come back to New Shanghai in a hurry.