Office lunch breaks in the middle of the city have seen me reacquaint myself with venues like Lotus Dining, a restaurant I haven’t revisited for five years. Located upstairs in The Galeries, the DS17-designed, glass-heavy space has aged well. The fit-out continues to bring a delightful well of natural light into this shopping centre-based restaurant, deep within the concrete canyons of Sydney’s CBD. On my first visit, I’m impressed when the maître d' goes the extra mile and seamlessly pulls out the table to ensure my ease of access to the wall-length banquette. He takes the time to joke that they would have been too busy to do it 45-minutes earlier, when this still popular lunch spot was at capacity.
This probably explains the Pacific Oysters ($18/4) that arrive too quickly to be shucked to order. The lost liquor has been replaced with sauce, with a rice wine and vinegar edge, but lacks the promised finger lime that made me pick them in the first place. The end result is flavoursome, creamy and slightly metallic, but without liquor, the bivalves have lost their briny connection to the sea.
Steamed Mushroom Bao ($12/2) are plump and pillowy, making them comforting and filling to eat. They want for chilli, which isn’t provided on the tables here.
Bright red Singapore Crab Meat Xiao Long Bao ($21/4) on the other hand have some spiciness to go along with their spurting hot soup. Remember your proper eating technique to avoid pain. They’re elegant and crabby enough to intrigue me into a second visit, even with the hefty (more than fifty bucks) lunch bill for one.
Written up on the menu as Lobster Tail on White Toasted Soldiers ($21) with Japanese mayo. and flying fish roe, I’ve got to say I was surprised to get something that resembles prawn toast. What’s even more strange is the deep-fried dish is garnished with a mound of slivered chips rather than a vegetable or pickle that might have balanced the oiliness, or even a dipping sauce to make it more interesting than a mouthful of lobster and oily crisp bread.
Pan-Fried Prawn and Chicken Dumplings ($16/4) arrive glistening wet and doughy on top. I'm grateful this lot arrive with accompanying chilli, as they're a bit boring to eat within. I suspect you’ve got to make your menu choices carefully here – on this occasion, I wasn’t convinced my two-item lunch was worth its forty bucks.
NOTE: You can see a previous review of this venue HERE.
Level 1, The Galeries,
500 George Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9267 3699