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Published June 18th 2018
North Shore's posh mama serves classy Chinese meal
If you are craving for elevated, authentic Chinese flavours, there is no need to jump into a plane to China, just head over to Sydney's North Shore, where you will find gourmet Chinese restaurants ready to take your traditional xiao long bao order.
Crowd-pleasing Chinese cuisine. Photo credit: @gmv_gotmyvote
Good word has been spread fast amongst the Asian communities prior to its grand opening last week and many of us were keen to try it out. Mama Mulan is located in the heart of Chatswood (directly above The Concourse precinct).
Combining traditional Chinese flavours with elegant modern interior.
The restaurant itself is beautiful with a classy mix of traditional Chinese and modern decor. It is airy with a lot of natural light that subtly boast an undertone sophistication. This multi-million dollar restaurant is designed by the famed interior specialists DS17 (Nour Restaurant, Alpha Restaurant, Beta Bar) and it features textured sand-coloured walls, blonde timbre tabletops and geometric lighting.
We had the pleasure to be invited to sample some of their delicious offerings. The staff at Mama Mulan were very friendly and professional. They led us to our reserved table efficiently and presented us with two leather bonded menus once we were comfortably seated.
The menu is created by head chef Marble Ng (ex. Lotus, Chef's Gallery) and focused on Shandong-style dining, specialising in hand-pulled noodles, freshly prepared dumplings and live seafood straight from the tank.
To begin we ordered a drink (or two) to celebrate the weekend. The drinks menu is made up of wines from all over the world and there is an extensive range of selections to choose from! However, we were more interested in trying David Stewart (Ex Sofitel)'s creative cocktail list.
Mama Mulan Cocktail $18.60 (Paraiso lychee liquor, vodka O, martini bianco, lychee & lemon juice)
My friend ordered the signature Mama Mulan cocktail and it was made with Paraiso Lychee Liquor, Vodka O, Martini Bianco, lychee & lemon juice. It was a sweet drink infused with light and aromatic ingredients so it was really easy to drink. My friend believed it was a refreshing drink for every occasion.
The restaurant manager informed us of some of their signature dishes, the likes of pork xiao long bao, deep-fried pork ribs with garlic, mud crab with dried chilli, garlic, spring & black beans (from live seafood section), dandan noodle soup with pork or the chilli & peanut sauce. They all sounded very tempting.
The menu also has an array of dumplings to choose from. All the dumplings come in portions of six and four. The pork xiao long bao was highly recommended and the restaurant manager raised our expectations when he claimed they are the best in Sydney! These pork xiao long bao arrived piping hot in a bamboo steamer with beautiful delicate folds on top.
Housemade chilli sauce - fiery but magical! Wish they sell it separately
The accompanying house-made chili oil was so fragrant and has a depth of flavour; it made my friend reach for the xiao long bao immediately. She thoroughly enjoyed them. If I did not intervene, she would be happy to eat my share. The traditional taste is always a winning combination.
Ice plant salad with seared scallops (GF) $18.50 Crunchy little bubbles in your mouth
My curiosity piqued when our waitstaff recommended the rare ice plant salad. These native coastal plant has a membrane of ice crystals which gave a light crunchy texture. Our palates were invigorated by this dish and it paired perfectly with seared scallops.
A meal that highlights the traditional aspects of Chinese cuisine and combined with Australian modern elements
We ordered a seafood fried noodles and it was pretty flavoursome. They were very generous with the prawns, mussel and calamari, but next time, I would like to try the Spicy wonton noodles, or the Beijing Zha jiang noodles with soy beans, pork and cucumber.
I normally refrain from ordering any sweet and sour dishes at any Chinese restaurant (I was mentally scarred from the cheap greasy food court options), so when my friend wanted sweet and sour fried eggplant, I was hesitant.
When the staff presented a plate of 'gold bars' in front of us, I instantly loved the crispy texture of these fried eggplant cigars. I must say, these sweet & sour fried eggplant were utterly delicious; the batter was not too thick, the eggplant was tender soft and most importantly, the dish did not have an oily aftertaste at all. I really liked the simplicity of flavours, with the right amount of sweet stickiness.
The meal moves into its second phase with the arrival of braised beef short ribs served with artichokes. It was easily the highlight dish of the day. It came in a huge serving plate, the thinly beef slices rested peacefully on a large rib bone. The plating presentation was very inviting.
The beef was flavored elegantly with soy, vinegar and mixed spices
The beef short rib was slow braised for hours and the rich sauce reduced into an elegant flavour. The meat was juicy and tender. It was delicate and it emitted the beautiful Asian flavours. It was a truly a satisfying dish
Duo Duo - Salted caramel deep-fried ice cream $12.50 (Vanilla bean ice cream covered in warm crispy panko crumb, with sea salt caramel sauce topped with crunchy butterscotch popcorn)
After a fulfilling course, it was only natural to have one more in the form of a dessert. The signature dessert featured a collaboration with Sydney food truck Duo Duo, who supplied their famed deep-fried ice cream to the restaurant.
The special dessert featured vanilla bean ice cream covered in warm crispy panko crumb with sea salt caramel sauce and topped crunchy butterscotch popcorn. It was a refreshing dessert to finish it off.
I must say the table service at Mama Mulan was exceptional. Our waiter knew the menu and gave sincere recommendations, our water glasses were never empty, and our teapot was constantly topped up with hot water. The welcome was warm and they were very quick to notice if we needed any assistance.
We see the value in the service provide, and at Mama Mulan, you are really getting a five-star personal service.
Mama Mulan is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.