July 13th, 2010

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - New Shanghai Chinese Restaurant

Journey from a food-court into the dark, moody street-scape of a 1930s Shanghai movie set...

...with cobblestones, old poster ads, a cast iron and wood gate and a blood red glow from a tempting private dining room.

Watch live dumpling theatre where white-clad women in clinical masks pleat dumplings with precision.

The signature Pan Fried Pork Buns ($9.20/8 pieces) are fluffy with pan-crisped golden bottoms and moist, tender pork filling. Beware the explosive hot broth they contain; best tempered with a small squirt of vinegar then eaten with care.

Our efficient waitress looks askance when we order the Braised Beef with Cold Noodle ($9). Cold noodles are one way the Chinese conquer extreme temperatures. These come with a peanut butter and vinegar sauce that owner John Chen explains is “one of the all time favourite sauces in Shanghai”.

It springs up in a lot of dishes, with a sesame nut version on the popular Shepherd’s Purse and Pork Wontons ($9.80/10 pieces).

Stir Fried Spinach With Garlic ($9.80) provides a bit of welcome relief from a salty, filling plate of Deep Fried Prawns in Salted Egg Yolk ($22.80). The almost sandy texture makes a Tsing Tao Beer ($7) welcome.

It’s challenging food for the Western palate, but the brave are rewarded handsomely.

New Shanghai Chinese Restaurant
Lower Ground, Chatswood Chase, 345 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood
Ph: (02) 9412 3358

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Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

This Week's Column - Charity Begins in the Stomach

Published in the City Hub and City News.

Taste, Talk, Test

Never one to pass up a free lunch, I was delighted to be invited to Astral Restaurant by Table4Ten. If you're not aware of their work, they raise money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia utilizing people's appetites! Their 2010 event will see 150 of Sydney, Brisbane and Tasmania's finest restaurants donate tables of ten across four consecutive Tuesdays in September. They aim to get 1500 diners to start a conversation about prostate cancer. Did you know if you're over 40, you could rule out your risk with a simple blood test? This disease is largely treatable if you detect it early enough, so it’s shocking to hear that it kills up to 3000 men per year! So go get tested (no gloves required); and if you’re ever in Brisbane, check out Urbane. Owner/chef Kym Machin put up a cracking dessert in a glistening bird’s nest using chai, yoghurt, chocolate, almonds and honey.

OzHarvest’s Indian Ambassador
Speaking of charities, Chef Kumar Mahadevan owner of twenty-year Concord stalwart Abhi’s, has just been announced as the Indian Ambassador for Ozharvest. Kumar finds OzHarvest founder Ronni Khan inspiring: “I am honoured to be able to aid her in what is truly an admirable crusade to help those in need. In addition to donating food to the charity, I am also looking to hold a ticketed Ozharvest event at my Woolloomooloo Restaurant, Aki’s, later in the year.” Apparently Kumar’s kitchens rarely produce excess food, so good is he at managing wastage, so instead he cooks up extra food to donate to the charity regularly!

Paid To Eat
Foodie literary types were out in force last week for the launch of John Newton’s new book Grazing (RRP$29.95) at Ariel Booksellers. I’m knee deep in his remarkably candid memoir highlighting the tangled threads of food, wine, love, sex, travel and recipes. John hints it includes “extramarital sex” and “chickening out on killing a chicken on the North Coast and being too sheepish to eat a sheep’s head in Tunisia”. His mate Tony Bilson launched the book with a great speech pitting butter against olive oil. Guests were treated to an array of amazing Spanish bites from Encasa with matching Spanish wines from Broadway Cellars. I might need to schedule some er… research at Encasa while I read!

Burger Bonanza
If you’re a fan of a classic burger and you live in Darlinghurst, you’ll soon be able to walk to two new burger eateries in the Grill’d range (currently in Crows Nest and Darling Harbour). Founder Simon Crowe says: “We can’t wait to spread the word in Darlo that burgers are back on the menu for those who love eating good, wholesome food.” Crown Street is set to get a corner-shop type store, while Victoria Street will be decked out in a modern style.

Newtown residents are also in for an old-school burger treat with Moo Gourmet Burgers opening up an outpost on King Street. Think old fashioned milkshakes, and a signature ‘Black and White’ burger named after Australia’s first milk bar, The Black & White 4d Milk Bar.

You can now get steaming hot dumplings and pork char sui buns from my favourite Vietnamese tuckshop without leaving the office. Well, that’s only if your office is within cooee of Darlo. Your Peking duck wraps won’t be adding to fuel emissions or be hampered by peak-hour traffic either, because they’ll be arriving via electric bike!

Cook A Curry
While the weather is still woolly, a hot curry is mighty satisfying. I am absolutely captivated by Sri Lankan curries at the moment. If you’d like to learn hands-on how to make one, chef Wanitha Tanasingam is doing a class at Rozelle’s The Essential Ingredient on Tuesday 22nd July.

Laneway Fun
Small bars are all the rage; so get the jump on the mob and get on down to the end of Kings Lane to this cute little tapas bar. Time your visit at early Sunday evening and you’ll find ten-buck jugs of Sangria or Pimms, complimentary tapas tasting plates and the soulful strumming of flamenco guitarist Chris Duff too!