The first thing that strikes me about New Shanghai is the decor, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the decor. I feel like I am transported to a little alley in Shanghai in the 30s. Sitting on the wood and red accented stools at wooden tables you feel like you are sitting outside shopfronts in a small bustling alley. The bustling comes from the busy wait staff whizzing by to attend to the full restaurant.
New Shanghai have recently added a six course degustation with the option of matched wines to their menu. The degustation was originally run as a special dinner last year, but proved extremely popular and decision was made to make it an ongoing menu option for diners.
The mixed cold starter consisted of three dishes. Shredded kelp mixed with spice and vinegar dressing had a lovely kick of chilli which I thoroughly enjoyed as I am quite a fan of seaweed salads. Chopped cucumber tossed with fresh garlic, was a pickled cucumber with a nice hint of garlic, very refreshing. Drunken chicken, chicken soaked in Chinese wine with herbs and spices. Mac made the joke that he did hope the chicken wouldn’t be served the same way as drunken prawns. I assured him that I doubted it very much, as if they did, it would of been front page news by now. So instead of a chicken flaying around in booze, we were served tender, moist and very tasty chicken breast. The matched wine to this dish was Leo Buring, Clare Valley, Riesling, 2011.
Unfortunately our dumplings came out when we had just made a start on the cold starter. We then found a few of the following dishes also came out very quickly. This meant it made it hard to wine match and also that a few dishes went cold. It is something they are working on and will hopefully be rectified, as they have just started to serve the degustation as part of their normal menu.
As the dumplings had been sitting on our table for a little while, there was a bonus, no burning ourselves on piping hot soup filling. New Shanghai xiao long bao (steamed mini pork bun) had a generous amount of flavoursome soup with the pork filling. Steamed mini crab meat and pork dumpling, very tasty and again the filling included a nice burst of tasty soup. The third dumpling was a steamed vegetarian one, larger than the others with a generous vegetable filling. Wine matched, Angel Cove, Marlborough, Sauvignon Blanc, 2010.
Pork wonton tossed with sesame butter, red chilli oil and spice. Oh wow did this one hold some kick! Silky tasty wontons in a generous amount of sesame butter sauce and chilli oil. Both Mac and I enjoyed this one a lot. The sliced cucumber added a much needed cooling for the generous amount of chopped chilli sitting on top, wow, I did say it had kick! This was accompanied with Shepherd’s purse, prawn and tofu soup. Wine matched, Cape Schanck Mornington Peninsula Pinot Grigio 2010.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love dumplings? Yes, okay, lots of times. I was delighted when our pan fried dumplings turned up. New Shanghai pan fried pork bun and pan fried pork bun, with the addition of a fried star of shallot pancake. Wine matched, Fifth Leg, Crisp Chardonnay, 2010
Sadly by the time we worked our way through our dishes to get to the main it was cold. The pork belly which had been braised overnight in sweet soy sauce looked gorgeous. A deep luxurious colour highlighted the lengthy braising. Unfortunately due to being cold the thick fat layers had turned rubbery, chewy and, for me, not very appetising. I find myself picking the meat layers out which are rich in flavour, tender and quite delicious. Such a shame it was cold, if I had eaten it hot it would have been very palatable as a whole. The deep fried chicken is served with the special garlic and chilli sauce missing. When I ask about the sauce, small bowls are quickly bought out to us. I am not sure if it is normally served drizzled on top or if you are meant to dunk your chicken in the sauce. Wine matched, Squealing Pig Otago, Pinot Noir, 2010.
The papaya soup is quite sweet, but I love the texture of the white fungus. Mac isn’t too fond of the dessert, but that is to be expected as he is not a big fan of Asian desserts. We have the surprise addition of mango pudding served to us for dessert, this isn’t part of the degustation menu. We both love it! Creamy vanilla pudding topped with mango. Even though both extremely full we make a nice dent on this dessert. Wine matched, Penfolds Koonunga Hill 76, Shiraz Cabernet, 2010.
I was quite impressed with the degustation menu and found it incredible value. The wine matched degustation at $69 is great value considering the glasses of wine served are very generous in size. I ended up passing one glass over to Mac as I just seemed to be inundated with wine at one stage. The degustation menu itself is generous and filling, there is a lot of food. If you decided against wine matching and just go for the straight degustation $49, it is still fantastic value.
Belly Rumbles was a guest of New Shanghai and Wasamedia.