Hidden away in the corner of the food court at Chatswood Chase is New Shanghai, a Shanghai-style restaurant offering dim sim, soups, noodles, stir fries and desserts to hungry shoppers. Chatswood Chase is one of their five Sydney locations – the others being Ashfield (original), Chatswood (Lemon Grove Plaza), Bondi Junction and the newly opened Charlestown.
Having only recently discovered xiao long bao at Taiwanese Din Tai Fung, I was keen to see how the XLB (a Shanghainese specialty) at New Shanghai compared. While perusing the lunch menu we were offered to try the wine and dumpling degustation which is normally available after 6pm. Naturally we did not hesitate to say yes.
Wine & Dumpling Degustation – $69.00 per person
- Mix cold dish starter – Shredded kelp mixed with spice and vinegar dressing; Chopped cucumber tossed with fresh garlic; Drunken chicken – Chicken soaked in Chinese wine with herb and spice
(Leo Burning Clare Valley Riesling 2011)
- Mix steamed dumplings – New Shanghai Xiao Long Bao – Steamed mini pork bun; Steamed mini crab meat and pork; Steam vegetarian dumpling
(Angel Cove Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010)
- Shepherd’s purse and pork wonton tossed with sesame butter, red chilli oil and spice
(Cape Schanck Mornington Peninsula Pinot Grigio 2010)
- Pan fried dumplings – New Shanghai pan-fried pork bun; Shallot pancake; Pan-fried pork dumpling
(Fifth Leg Crisp Chardonnay 2010)
- Shepherd’s purse, prawn and tofu soup
(Squealing Pig Otago Pinot Noir 2010)
- Main – Pork belly braised over night in sweet soy sauce; Deep-fried chicken with special garlic and chilli sauce
(Penfolds Koonunga Hill 76 Shiraz Cabernet 2010)
- Dessert – Slow cooked white fungus with papaya soup; Strawberry pudding
Mix cold dish starter – Shredded kelp mixed with spice and vinegar dressing; Chopped cucumber tossed with fresh garlic; Drunken chicken – Chicken soaked in Chinese wine with herb and spice.
Leo Burning Clare Valley Riesling 2011.
First up was our mixed cold starter and I dove right into the shredded kelp as it was something I’d not tried in a long time. It was good, like really good, great balance of chilli oil and vinegar and the texture was awesome. As I wanted to leave the chicken until last next up was the cucumber. Lightly pickled I thought Lex would be handing hers over to me but to my surprise she really enjoyed it, as did I. Crunchy and refreshing with just a nice amount of fresh garlic punch to finish it off. Last but not least was the chicken, it was so soft from being poached and had a real chicken intensity from the broth it was cooked in, being chilled suited it perfectly. The wine match of a Riesling was spot on – nice light acid and very crisp, going well with all three cold dishes.
Mix steamed dumplings – New Shanghai Xiao Long Bao – Steamed mini pork bun; Steamed mini crab meat and pork; Steam vegetarian dumpling.
Angel Cove Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010.
A mix of steamed dumplings were up next. This time around I didn’t want to save the best for last so I went right for the Xiao Long Bao. I had no trouble picking it up as the dumpling skin was not as delicate as those found at Din Tai Fung, but that aside the flavour was big, intense pork meat in a super pork broth. Wanting to break up the meat dumplings I went for the vegetarian second. Spinach, and loads of it, is what it was all about; much lighter than its meatier companions. And then there was the crab and pork, the pork broth was subdued and the crab was rich and added a nice dimension to it. The Sauvignon Blanc was quite a sweet wine big on passionfruit and a fine match to the dumplings.
Shepherd’s purse and pork wonton tossed with sesame butter, red chilli oil and spice.
Cape Schanck Mornington Peninsula Pinot Grigio 2010.
Shepherd’s purse is quite a common ingredient used in Shanghainese cooking so I was really keen to try the wontons in the next dish. The wontons were quite large and biting in I found them to be quite thick skinned, but once through the flavour of pork and the shepherd’s purse’s somewhat peppery taste, akin to broccoli or cauliflower stalks, took over. What I really loved was the soup – totally like nothing I had ever had before – rich and buttery with the spice of the chilli oil, garlic throughout and nutty sesame seed flavour permeating everything. The Pinot Grigio was well suited to this dish, doing well to break up the richness of the soup.
Pan fried dumplings – New Shanghai pan-fried pork bun; Shallot pancake; Pan-fried pork dumpling.
Fifth Leg Crisp Chardonnay 2010.
Next up was the pan-fried selection and a star shaped shallot pancake. Curious about the pancake I picked it up and took a bite, but it was SO dry and crunchy I gave up on it and moved on. After a good dipping in the soy and vinegar the pork dumpling was eaten in a single mouthful, quite a tasty mouthful too, nice and porky. Last off in the fried selection was the pork bun, steamed as per usual making it soft and chewy but then pan-fried to give a crispy bottom. This thing was awesome, so different to your average pork bun while still having all of the normal pork bun goodness, a definite winner. The matched Chardonnay was quite a soft and mild wine that would go well with any of the dishes we had up to this point.
Shepherd’s purse, prawn and tofu soup.
Squealing Pig Otago Pinot Noir 2010.
Our second shepherd’s purse experience was in the form of a soup; perfect to transition into the main course. Mild and herbaceous, soft and refreshing, I liked the gelatinous textures at play and the small pieces of prawn really stood out in comparison to the other soothing flavours. Though the Pinot Noir wine match just didn’t work for me on this one, while it was light it wasn’t light enough to go with the soup.
Main – Pork belly braised over night in sweet soy sauce; Deep-fried chicken with special garlic and chilli sauce.
Penfolds Koonunga Hill 76 Shiraz Cabernet 2010.
Pork belly, woohoo I was starting to feel the need for something a little bit more than pork buns and dumplings. The sweet soy braising overnight made the pork belly superbly soft and ever so tasty, the sauce was thick and sweet which made the bok choy a perfect choice as a little break from the pork. The skin on the chicken was marvellous, it stayed crispy the whole time, it was so damn good, and the chicken itself remained moist and full of flavour making it impossible for me to choose a favourite from the mains. The Shiraz Cabernet was probably the best wine match and the best wine of the meal, rich and fruity but light on the tannins making it not too heavy.
Dessert – Slow cooked white fungus with papaya soup; Strawberry pudding.
For dessert we were given a choice of the white fungus and papaya soup from the menu or a strawberry pudding from the specials. We opted for one of each as we always love to try as many things on a menu as possible.
I started with the white fungus soup. Quite a different experience, the white fungus had this ever so mild mushroomesque flavour but the papaya was lacking in sweetness which was a shame as had it been more balanced I think I would have really enjoyed it. Although I did love the unique gooey texture.
The pudding was quite firm and milky, it had set really well and you could taste the richness in the milk. Similar to a pannacotta in many ways. Yet sadly the strawberries and their syrup were just too much, way too intense and fake. The artificial syrup was unnecessary; some fresher fruit would have done wonders to the dessert.
At $69.00 a head including matched wines I think this is a pretty sweet deal. We were dining during an extremely busy Saturday lunch time and the queue out front was pretty crazy, yet unlike other blog posts I’ve read, our wines did not arrive all at once, instead they arrived with each course, the service was friendly and courses nicely paced. All up I think we were there for an hour and a half.
As we made our way out of the restaurant it dawned on me that we’d been dining just off the food court. It’s funny how the atmosphere of a place can transport you away from the mayhem of a shopping centre.
A Food Story dined at New Shanghai courtesy of New Shanghai and Wasamedia.
Shop B-038, Chatswood Chase
345 Victoria Avenue
Chatswood NSW 2067
(02) 9412 3358
New Shanghai Website