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

Old Town Hong Kong Cuisine, Chinatown Sydney ($)

Address: 10A Dixon St Sydney, NSW

Tel: (02) 9426 4888

* * *

Atmosphere

SenoritaLay, FitnessFanatic and I caught up at a popular restaurant in Chinatown, Old Town.

Located towards the Town Hall side of Dixon Street, it is opposite N2 Extreme Gelato (perfect for dessert afterwards).

20131009_175635

SenoritaLay had been here before and had told us that it was pretty good.  Having done my research beforehand, I was looking forward to trying out the delicious BBQ Pork Buns and noodles on offer.

My first impression of Old Town was that it was a modern taken on a Chinese restaurant.  It was dimly lit, giving it an intimate feel, and had a glass cabinet of Asian sweets by the door and BBQ duck and pork hanging at the back of the restaurant.

20131009_180104

As I got there before the others, I took a seat at one of the wooden tables (sort of like picnic tables), and ordered a Coconut Mango with QQ Jelly drink.

The drink look interesting with a white, orange and red concoction at the bottom and a thick orange mango puree on top.

It was cold and refreshing, perfect for this particularly hot day, and I liked the mix of milky and chewy jelly at the bottom.

20131009_180554

Service

When the girls finally arrived, we had a look through the menu and found it a bit too difficult to decide on what to get.

Old Town has a lot of options to choose from, from yum cha style dishes to full plates of noodles, soups and stir-fries.

20131009_180557

We each chose one dish to try, and soon ordered our meals.

While service was not particularly friendly (perhaps due to the language barrier?), it was quite fast.

Our food came out quickly, although not all at once.

Food

First up were the delicious BBQ Pork Buns and Peking Duck Buns ($6.80 for two).

20131009_183130

The buns were soft, with that delicious almost uncooked dough that the Chinese seem to love so much.  The pork and duck was juicy and tender, well-presented and plentiful for the size of the buns.

The Green Beans came out next. With a delicious hit of spice, they were crunchy and fresh. Perfect to nibble on between bites of the other dishes.

20131009_183044

Following the beans, we had a cool pancake-style dumpling – basically dumplings with batter poured around a pan to give a cool shape.

The dumplings were moist and tender and the pancake was crispy and crunchy, giving a perfect contrast.

The dish was quite nice, but I did not enjoy the sauce which was a little too sour for my liking. A simple soy would have been great.

20131009_183654

We ordered the usual Steamed BBQ Pork Buns (my choice), and they did not disappoint.  There were three, perfect for sharing between our trio.

The buns were light and fluffy like clouds, and the filling was the typical sweet yet savoury BBQ pork mince. As always, I really enjoyed these Pork Buns and gobbled mine down!

20131009_183429

Finally, FitnessFanatic’s noodles came out.  They were seafood egg noodles with prawn, shallots, onion and cabbage.

They were very oily and slippery- quite difficult to eat with chopsticks, and weren’t very flavoursome.  Despite this, the serving was generous and the seafood was cooked through.

20131009_183446

Other dishes I have tried on subsequent occasions include:

20140131_130938

20140131_131429

Peking Duck Pancakes

20140131_131711

BBQ Pork

20140131_132436

Steamed Greens

Summary

Overall, not a bad experience and would come here again to try out some of the other dishes. Pretty good value for money as the meal ended up costing each of us about $25.

Rating:

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service- 4.5
  • Food- 7
  • Ambience- 6
  • Value – 7.5

Old Town Hong Kong Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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

MissChu, Sydney CBD ($)

Address: 501 George St Sydney NSW

Tel: (02) 9283 0357

Website: http://www.misschu.com.au/Locations/SydneyCBDTuckshop

* * *

I decided to visit MissChu again, this time checking out the CBD tuckshop with MDS.

We went after work at about 6.15pm and quickly ordered a couple of dishes to share. The restaurant works on a “tuckshop order” system whereby you fill out a little form, hand it in and pay at the register, then collect your items when your name is called out. There is no table service and seats are small crates or little stools at ironing board “tables.” A very interesting concept which is at first a little odd, but which contributes to the authentic Viet feel.

We decided on the chicken rice paper rolls at $7.50 each. They were quite large and filled full of shredded chicken, coconut, mint and lettuce. I wasn’t a big fan of the huge amount of mint and leaves in the roll, but overall it was a filling and quite healthy item.

1

We also ordered the tiger prawn and green mango rolls ($7.50). I though the presentation was fantastic as the prawns were neatly laid out and were visible through the rice paper. There were quite a few prawns in the roll too, and they were well cooked. I didn’t really taste any green mango however, which was a shame as I love the fresh and slightly sour taste of it.

2

The prawn and crab spring rolls ($6.00) wrapped in a vermicelli rice paper net were quite a treat. The filling was soft and moist, and the outside crunchy and golden. The cute sweet and sour sauce in a bottle added to the “tuckshop” vibe of the restaurant, and tasted great with the spring rolls.

3

The shanghai pork dumplings ($7.00 for three) were up next. MDS said they were some of the best she has ever had. I found the pork filling to be tasty and moist, but I thought the actual dumpling pastry was a little leathery and not as good as those at Din Tai Fung (see here and here).

4

Finally we ordered 2 BBQ pork char sui buns at $2.50 each. They were so soft and delicious, like eating clouds! The filling was sweet and slightly spicy and I really enjoyed these tasty steamed buns. They are probably just as good as Din Tai Fung’s.

5

Cost:

For all this food we were only charged $33.00. A steal considering that we were so full by the end of it!

The food was tasty, came out quickly, and was quite healthy (apart from the spring rolls) due to the amount of vegetables and raw ingredients in it.

Definitely great value for these dishes. I would suggest sharing items with someone rather than ordering your own dishes, as that way you get to sample a few different items and really get a feel for MIssChu’s tuckshop concept.

6

Rating:

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

    • Service- 2
    • Food- 7.5
    • Ambience- 5.5
    • Value – 7.5

Misschu CBD Tuckshop on Urbanspoon

MissChu, Darlinghurst ($)

Address: 1/150 Bourke Street, Darlinghurst

Tel: (02) 8356 9988

Website: http://www.misschu.com.au/

* * *

MissChu is one of Sydney’s most talked about catering and Vietnamese food shops.

The Darlinghurst shop is located close to the Cancer Council’s Woolloomooloo office where I work and so my friend and I decided to head over for lunch to check it out. It’s a bit of a hall in the wall “tuck shop” styled place with crates and little stools to sit on outside. There is often a bit of a line to order food at lunch time, and the cute little delivery bikes on the side of the road contribute to the shop’s authentic vibe.

1 My friend ordered a mint and pineapple crushed ice drink. I tried a little and found it nice and refreshing for such a hot day but, as I am used to lychee and mint drinks, I thought it lacked some sugar or sweetener. It was served in a cool-looking cup which was a good talking point! 4 I ordered a BBQ pork char sui bun (one of my fave Asian snacks). The bread was so soft and light it was like eating fluffy clouds! The pork filling was sweet and tasty, and I really enjoyed eating this. 3 Pork Bun ($2.50) My chilli prawn Vietnamese warm vermicelli salad came out in about 2 seconds. Service here is generally pretty fast which leads me to believe that everything is pre-made and simply heated up. It consisted of some mint and herbs at the bottom of the bowl, topped with vermicelli noodles and some prawns and chilli. I thought there was plenty of prawn for $13 and although it was a little spicy, I enjoyed it. It was initially quite dry as the sauces had sunk to the bottom of the bowl but once I discovered them and tossed the salad around it was fine. The one thing I didn’t like was that there was too much mint and herbs in the bottom which were difficult to eat and kind of tasted like you were eating weeds. Would have preferred some other vegetables in there instead. 5 Chilli Prawn Noodles ($13.00) My friend ordered the Satay chicken Vietnamese warm vermicelli salad. There was a lot of chicken but from the looks of it, it was quite dry and if I had ordered the dish I would have liked some sort of peanut satay sauce on top for added flavour. 2 Satay Chicken Noodles ($13.00) Rating: Overall I would rate my experience (out of 10):

    • Service- 2
    • Food- 7
    • Ambience- 6
    • Value – 5.75

Miss Chu on Urbanspoon

Din Tai Fung, Westfield Sydney ($)

Address: Shop K504/505 Level 5 Westfield Sydney, 188 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW

Tel: (02) 8246 7032

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

Opening Hours:

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

* * *

This was the second time I’ve been to Din Tai Fung (see here for the first time).

I love their delicious soft pork buns and tasty dumplings and so a few friends and I decided to return for an easy and conveniently-located Monday dinner.

Despite it being a Monday, Westfield Sydney was still quite busy.

We had a look at the menu and placed our orders. My friends both ordered the Wonton Soups. One of them also ordered the Golden Lava Cake which, I was advised, is basically a pork bun with custard inside.

I decided to go for the Spicy Shrimp and Pork Wonton Noodle. I checked first to make sure it wasn’t too spicy (apparently it is medium). I also ordered a Peach Ice Tea to ensure that if it was spicy I would be able to handle it!

The noodles came out relatively quickly. They were very well presented and tasted absolutely delicious. I loved the spiciness- it was the perfect amount, and enjoyed the moist wontons. The only negative would probably be that the spicy sauce was very oily (probably made up of some sort of chilli paste mixed with oil).

1

I also ordered a pork bun as a side. The Din Tai Fung pork buns and delicious and soft and the meat is cooked on the inside until it is just brown so it retains its softness. The buns are also very pretty to look at and you can watch them being made through the glass window.

2

Overall we all enjoyed our meals. The spicy noodles were delicious and different to what I normally get (dumplings and pork buns). Definitely worth a try!

Rating:

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

    • Service- 3
    • Food- 8
    • Ambience- 4
    • Value – 8

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