Friday, February 20, 2015

New Shanghai

Disclosure: I was invited to dine as a guest of the restaurant

Let me be honest. Having not done my research, I didn’t give much thought at all to New Shanghai when it opened last year. Just another restaurant in a food court.

But not just any food court. Heck, I’m not sure if it’s entirely fair to call that third floor in Emporium a food court, with it’s high ceilings, well thought out operators and surprisingly ample seating. And if we talk about New Shanghai distinctly, it’s definitely a restaurant all it’s own, tucked into a cosy nook, that transports you away from Emporium’s shiny marble-ness, to a something a little earthier and traditional. There’s even a private dining room out back.

I love that when you walk in, you can see the Xiao Long Bao they are famous for getting all rolled up, freshly made. It makes for big promises for deliciousness. 

The staff are refreshingly friendly, and smily, not just to me as I notice, but to everyone who comes into the restaurant and happily recommend the lychee and kiwi drinks when we’re a little boggled by the huge drink menu. For the record, they’re both delightful; the kiwi especially, as it’s blended with fresh fruit. On a hot day, these would be especially good and they’re almost a meal in themselves! 

Laura and I let New Shanghai feed us, starting with what they’re best known for of course…their Xiao Long Bao!

Oh my, these were simply delectable. I was immensely impressed with how thin and delicate the skin was; Laura and I ended up breaking so many of these just by trying to separate them from the paper underneath! Clearly we’re terrible Asians! But despite that, New Shanghai would definitely be my new go to for XLB. 

I also enjoyed the fried version of Xiao Long Bao, which have thicker skins, to obviously withstand the frying process, but are still filled with soup, which I’ve never had before! I personally preferred the steamed bao’s, but still really enjoyed these as they’re definitely a heartier meal!

We then sampled a couple of dishes from the Chinese New Year menu which will be running for about the next fortnight, so get in before it’s gone!

What I do think is great about New Shanghai’s Chinese New Year offering is that it’s not a banquet situation where you have to eat a set menu. Instead, they’ve introduced just 5 new dishes, which you can pick and choose to add to your usual favourites. 

We tried two of the savoury dishes this visit, the stir fried luffa, a vegetable in the cucumber family, with fresh soy bean and the steamed ginger and shallot scallop on top of vermicelli. 

The luffa is very soft, melts in the mouth, whilst the fresh soy beans are a little bit more dense, almost crunchy, adding a nice bit of texture. Lovely clean flavours, but comforting as well. 

I loved the generosity of the ginger on the scallops, bursting with flavour, the scallops were sweet and tender, the vermicelli noodles soaking up all the delicious juices from the scallops. Don’t miss out on it! 

We wrapped up with steam sticky rice cake with edible flowers, which was a bit denser than I personally like. Having said that though, they’re easy to munch through as they’re not too sweet. 

Laura and I left New Shanghai pretty much just rolling out the door, don’t rock up with just two people, you’ll never finish it all. Really. And I was honestly surprised with just how much New Shanghai impressed me; it’s definitely now on my list as an easy and very reasonably priced feed for my movie nights out with Brad…

New Shanghai
Emporium Melbourne
287 Lonsdale Street

New Shanghai on Urbanspoon


  1. Superb article! I just loved the way you explored the restaurants of Shanghai. Wonderful! You have inspired me to write a nice blog post on my favorite San Francisco restaurants. I will definitely share my reviews.