New Shanghai, Chatswood Chase ($$)

Address: Lower Ground Level, Chatswood Chase- 345 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW

Tel: (02) 9412 3358

Website: http://www.newshanghai.com.au/splash.php

* * *

Wicko and I attended a menu tasting at New Shanghai in Chatswood.

Wicko has started covering a few more events for me as I try to manage work and blogging and transition to being a part-time uni student from March onwards.

This event was particularly appropriate for him  as he went to school in Chatswood so knows the area quite well.  He also is quite a fussy eater so I thought exposing him to something different would be good to develop his blogging palate!

???????????????????????????????

Atmosphere

The restaurant is located in the food court of Chatswood Chase shopping centre, so we decided to park in the centre and walk down.  This was a good idea on the way there, but was a little creepy when we had to walk through the shopping centre in the dark on the way back!

The atmosphere at the restaurant was a little different to what I had expected.

It was a lot darker, almost a little grungy and it gave off a “busy modern city meets traditional tea house” vibe.

The place was packed out with busy diners, quite good for a Wednesday night out of the CBD.

IMG_6404

There is a small drinks bar on one side, featuring prints of a smiling Chinese girl and a large printed umbrella.  The colours brighten up the dark space and the slightly faded look gives an “old-yet-new” feel.

IMG_6406

There was also a private dining room which was being used when we entered (this photo is from after the meal as I did not want to take a photo while there were people in there).

I loved the red, shiny bamboo wall paper on the walls, an elegant way to brighten up the space.

IMG_6461

Wicko and I also liked the glass windows (similar to those at Din Tai Fung), which showed off the skills of the dumpling and bun makers, kneading and rolling away until each dumpling was perfect.

???????????????????????????????

The final touches were the antique-looking carved wooden windows ….

???????????????????????????????

the red windows and bunting….

IMG_6412

and the bamboo coloured neutral table settings.

IMG_6403

Service

We were looked after by the friendly and pleasant Jerry, the Chatswood Manager who was overseeing the staff taking our orders and delivering food.

After perusing the menu, we ordered drinks.

IMG_6409

IMG_6410

Some chose pineapple, some Yakult and others pineapple an coconut.

The drinks took a while to come out and all came out at different times but they were really nice and worth the wait.

Wicko chose a Kiwi Blended Ice which was not at all sour, like some of the kiwis you find here. It also contained large chunks of Kiwi on the top.

???????????????????????????????

Kiwi Blended Ice, $5.80

I chose the Lychee Blended Ice, which I found tasted like lychee jelly, rather than fresh lychee, which was not a problem for me as I love lychee jelly anyway!

The drink was refreshing but I would have liked some pearls or jelly in there like at Easyway and Chatime.

???????????????????????????????

Lychee Blended Ice, $5.80

The lovely Georgie, who was sitting next to me, chose the Strawberry Blended Ice, which came out topped with a couple of strawberries and some mint.

IMG_6426

Strawberry Blended Ice, $5.80

Food

Food. Boy was there a lot of it.

The menu at New Shanghai is seasonal except for the key basic dishes so in order to try a bit of everything we had both Dim Sim and Mains to share.

We started off with the delicious pillows of pan fried pork buns that were soft on top, crisp on the bottom and full of juicy pork.

IMG_6417

Pan Fried Pork Buns (8 pieces), $10.50 

Next were the Xiao Long Bao, pleated dumplings with a delicate and soft skin, these dumplings were bursting with broth and pork flavour. Delicious and quite a generous serving for the price!

???????????????????????????????

Xiao Long Bao (8 pieces), $7.80 

One of the more exciting dishes on the menu and definitely one of my favourites, was the Prawn Wonton tossed with peanut butter, red chilli oil and spice. The creamy, nutty flavour of the peanut butter (which you can see in the middle) was perfect with the spicy chilli and cool cucumber and the prawns were cooked until JUST done!

???????????????????????????????

Prawn Wontons with peanut butter and chilli sauce (10 pieces), $14.80

The steamed Pork Belly Buns were soft and slightly chewy with a tasty sauce, however, the pork was quite dry so I didn’t really like this dish.

???????????????????????????????

Pork Belly Buns, $6.00 (2 pieces)

The pan fried pork dumplings were great as they were so golden and delicious on the bottom, perfect with the vinegar and soy sauce.

???????????????????????????????

Here’s a photo of the bottom of the dumplings:

IMG_6434

Pan Fried Pork Dumplings (8 pieces), $9.90

After we had enjoyed the Dim Sim, we moved on to the Braised Tofu and Mushroom in Sweet Soy Sauce.

While I am definitely not a mushroom person and couldn’t handle more than a bite of these slimy looking things, I did enjoy the tofu, the glossy sauce and the braised greens.

Great for the vegetarians!

???????????????????????????????

Braised Tofu and Mushroom in Sweet Soy Sauce, $16.80

Next were the Stir Fried Claims with XO Sauce. The claims were well cooked, the sauce was sweet and a little spicy and the shallots were crunchy and added some freshness and colour.

Wicko also enjoyed his first clam, noting that he had caught one once on a fishing trip by accident.  Nice.

IMG_6438

Stir Fried Clam, $15.80

The Steamed Fish with Seaweed was soft and flaky, falling apart easily when prodded with our chopsticks. I’m not 100% sure exactly what the sauce was or how much it cost though as I couldn’t find it on the menu.

IMG_6439

My favourite dish, possibly of all time, had to be the Salt and Pepper Soft Shell Crab.  This dish was a winner all round and we enjoyed the super crunchy fried crab, the spicy chili and the well seasoned batter.  The presentation was also nice with some bright colours to lift the look of the dish.

IMG_6442

Salt and Pepper Soft Shell Crab, $29.80

Next we had the King Prawn in Ginger and Shallots with Vermicelli.  There were plenty of prawns in this dish, even if they were a little overdone and hard to peel (HOW do you peel prawns with chopsticks and a soup spoon!?).

The ginger and shallot sauce was tasty but I wasn’t a fan of all the noodles at the bottom, a little too much vermicelli for me!

IMG_6445

We then had the Salt and Pepper Deep Fried School of Prawns, which were the same as the soft shell crab, except crunchier.

IMG_6447

The Sizzling Seafood Hot Pot was next.  A pot full of seafood broth, steaming vegetables, tofu, fish, prawns and squid, this dish was something light that you could enjoy with fried rice of noodles, without feeling super guilty that you just ate all dat fried crab.

???????????????????????????????The Rainbow Beef was next.  The beef was cut super thin, battered and then fried and coated in a red sweet and sour sauce, leaving it crunchy and sweet.

???????????????????????????????

Rainbow Beef, $17.80

It was served with some steamed plain bread that you were meant to place the beef in, although I only ended up trying a piece of the bread and a couple of pieces of the beef.

The bread was light and pillowy and very cutely shaped so that they looked like little clouds!

IMG_6452

Finally, the last dish was the Fried Rice with XO Sauce.  The rice was so flavoursome and colourful and I loved the prawns and egg in there.

A great dish to complement any of the other mains, especially the steamed vegetable and seafood dishes.

IMG_6453

Fried Rice in XO Sauce, $11.90

For dessert, we shared HUGE bowls of shaved ice, ice cream, fresh mango and strawberry (yes, fresh!), and some condensed milk.

Despite half the dish being ice, once the ice cream and ice started melting the combination of fruity flavours mixing in with the ice made for a cold and satisfying dessert.

We were surprised to find that all this was only $10.80, however, you are only able to choose either mango or strawberry when you order this at the restaurant.

???????????????????????????????

Fresh Mango or Strawberry Shaved Ice, $10.80

Summary

The food was very tasty and there was so much variety, flavour and technique used in making these dishes.  Great value as well and large serving sizes.

The decor is traditional meets modern, and I loved the glass area where the dumplings and buns were made and the beautiful red and black antique looking features.

Rating

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service-  8
  • Food-  8
  • Atmosphere- 7.75
  • Value – 8

TCFB and Wicko dined complimentarily as guests of Wasamedia and New Shanghai. 

New Shanghai Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

Din Tai Fung, World Square ($$)

Address: Level 1, Shop 11.04, 644 George Street, Sydney NSW

Tel: (02) 9264 6010

Website: http://www.dintaifung.com.au/

Opening Hours:

Lunch
Mon-Fri: 11:30am – 2:30pm
Sat & Sun: 11:00am – 3:00pm

Dinner
Mon-Wed: 5:30pm – 9:00pm
Thu & Fri: 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Saturday: 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Sunday: 5:00pm – 9:00pm

* * *

One of the perks of my new job is the fact that I now have a one hour lunch break and can enjoy this break in the CBD. This means that I am closer to friends, shops, great restaurants and transport and enables me to review some restaurants I haven’t tried before. It also means Friday lunch dates with MC who studies at nearby UTS, and other friends during the week.

On this occasion we decided to try Din Tai Fung (DTF) World Square. Now I had been to DTF a few times before (see here and here) – but always to the Westfield Sydney one, never at World Square.

Atmosphere

Upon arriving, we were greeted outside the restaurant by a staff member at a high table.

1

She asked how many (2) and gave us a buzzer, pen and menu to look at while we waited for a table.

2

After a wait of about 10 -15 minutes (by which point I began to worry that we wouldn’t have enough time to eat our food), she finally called us in and seated us at a table for four, beside two other diners.

The Atmosphere at DTF is pretty great. A packed restaurant always has a good vibe, but a packed restaurant of happy diners is even better. The place was so busy and the Chinese decor, including bamboo steamer baskets stuck on a screen, huge paper lantern lights, and professionally dressed waiters and waitresses added to the excitement of it all- I couldn’t wait to get started!

3MC browsing the menu- check out the paper lanterns behind him

Service

Service was quick, efficient and prompt, but not friendly. While we our food was delivered quickly, our plates were cleared promptly and our orders taken with no fuss (by using the menu leaflets rather than telling a waiter what we wanted), DTF lacked the hospitality and friendliness that some like in restaurants.

For me, it was fine. I wanted to get in there, eat my food and get out within my 1 hour lunch break-and I am sure there were many others like me who were there in their lunch breaks, so this efficiency is probably a good thing!

4

Food

We ordered a pot of Chinese Tea to start. This tea was delicious and tasted like a Jasmine Green Tea. It wasn’t too bitter either, which was a bonus!

5

We decided to order some noodle soups to keep us warm as it was a very chilly day. I also wanted some dumplings and pork buns so MC could try them out.

I ordered a Spicy Wonton Soup with broth. It was delicious- so spicy and warm, plenty of broth and noodles and a good amount of wontons. The wontons were well cooked and the noodles were great in that oily, chilli sauce. One of my fave dishes!

6

MC ordered the Fried Chicken with Noodles and Broth. Unfortunately, the broth was quite bland and tasted like a chicken noodle you would get from the supermarket. The noodles were very bland too, and there was quite a lot of them. MC ended up having some of my spicy broth on top of his noodles to add some more flavour! The fried chicken was crispy and plentiful, but a little pinkish inside.

7

The pork buns were next! Although the dough was well-cooked and fluffy, the filling was disappointing. I think I may have ordered the wrong pork bun as I had wanted to order the one with a sweet and spicy filling. Unfortunately this pork filling was a little tasteless and the pork was quite pinkish.

8

The shrimp dumplings were great. Very juicy on the inside, extremely well presented (with a delicate pattern on top), and full of filling. They were delicious and enjoyable- especially with soy sauce.

9

Overall. I think DTF World Square is a winner. I will definitely be back for some spicy soup throughout winter and hope to try the sweeter pork bun as well. Great, efficient service, good, warm food and great traditional yet modern decor.

Cost

Overall for MC and I the meal cost $50.

Rating:

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service-7
  • Food-8
  • Ambience-8
  • Value –7

Din Tai Fung on Urbanspoon

Din Tai Fung, Westfield Sydney ($)

Din Tai Fung, Westfield Sydney

Address: Cafe Court Level 5, Westfield Sydney, 188 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Telephone: (02) 8246 7032

Website: http://www.dintaifung.com.au/westfield.html

Opening Hours:

Mon-Wed: 10:00am – 6:30pm
Thursday: 10:00am – 9:00pm
Fri-Sat: 10:00am – 8:00pm
Sunday: 10:00am – 6:00pm

* * *

A Wednesday night dinner with my uni friends provided me with an excellent opportunity to try out a dumpling place which I have heard so much about.

Din Tai Fung (see: http://www.dintaifung.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1&Itemid=2) claims to have “the Best Dumplings in Australia.”

Image

Now I certainly have not sampled all the dumplings in Australia. Nor do I claim to be any sort of dumplings expert. But I like a good dumpling as much as the next food reviewer.

So three of us shared a few items, mainly dumplings, in order to be able to taste a few dishes.

We ordered:

Battered calamari with tangy dip, $8.80

The calamari was crisp, although possibly a little undercooked for my liking. The sauce wasn’t very appealing as it was a little lumpy, but all in all not a bad dish.Image

Steamed pork dumplings (4 pieces), $5.80

These dumplings were delicious and juicy, perfectly shaped and bite-sized for easy eating! I did find them a little messy as one bite of the dumpling led to a Niagara Falls sized dribble of dumpling juices down my chin!

Image

Steamed shrimp and pork dumplings (4 pieces), $9.80

Also delicious but I would have preferred it if they were just shrimp only instead of shrimp and pork as the shrimp was a little overpowered by the pork.

Image

Pork Bun, $2.80

By far my favourite part of the meal. These pork buns were soft and warm and filled with a delicious mixture of pork which went really well with soy sauce. I loved them so much that I ended up taking some home for my parents and brother!

Image

Green bean with minced pork, $10.50

This was something that I wouldn’t normally order but as I saw a few other tables getting their green bean on, I suggested this as an option to my co-eaters. It proved to be a great selection as the beans were slightly spicy and complimented the mild flavours of the dumplings and pork buns perfectly. One co-eater informed me that this dish is similar to a Malaysian dish which she knows of as well.

Image

Cost

Overall the bill was about $40.00 which between three worked out to be approx $15.00. Great value considering we were all full afterwards!

Rating

Overall I would rate my dining experience (out of 10):

    • Service- 1 (there was little or no service involved as the food is served bistro style- you are given a buzzer and collect your meal from them once it is ready)
    • Food- 7 (great food, although I don’t know about the “best dumplings in Australia”)
    • Ambience- 3
    • Value – 8

Din Tai Fung on Urbanspoon