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New Shanghai Restaurant, Emporium Melbourne

Home > Melbourne > Cheap | Dumpling Bars | Family | Food and Wine | Restaurants
by Joy (subscribe)
“Creativity Is Intelligence Having Fun.” – Albert Einstein
Published July 13th 2014
Update July 14th 2014
Dear readers, win free dumplings for a year by partaking in New Shanghai's Facebook competition. Copy and paste the following link into a browser:
https://www.facebook.com/newshanghairestaurant/app_599788450050788

Bon appétit
Image courtesy of Wasamedia


The latest addition to Melbourne's thriving food scene is the New Shanghai restaurant sitting in the food court of Emporium Melbourne Shopping Centre. New Shanghai has already won many hearts with its authentic Shanghai cuisine in Sydney and after expanding its branches to Brisbane, New Shanghai has landed in Melbourne.

Image courtesy of Wasamedia


I was invited to the launch dinner of New Shanghai on 26 June 2014. As I was comfortably seated in a large table sitting almost a dozen guests, my eyes eagerly browsed the 17 course banquet menu. The interior of New Shanghai boasts rich red colours, traditional Chinese decors complemented by teak furnitures lending a mellow vibe to the atmosphere. Shared seating was available while a private room for functions was accessible. A viewing kitchen enclosed by clear glass windows bestow upon the diners firsthand views of how the dumplings are carefully pleated and made.

Image courtesy of Wasamedia


The staff are friendly and attentive making sure orders are taken promptly and tables are cleared swiftly. The extensive menus were adorned with seemingly unending list of dumplings, rice, soups, noodles and so on while the drinks menu were decked with a truly enormous list of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages including fancy cocktails.

Image courtesy of Wasamedia


I understand that generations-old family technique is used to conjure the authentic Shanghainese food in New Shanghai. Great effort has gone into ensuring a happy marriage of contemporary choices with age old secret family recipes.

The dinner commenced at 7:30pm and thus began my gastronomic journey of the signature dishes of New Shanghai.

We started off with a trio of cold dish. The garlic cucumber ($4.80) was the first cold dish to arrive on our table. The diced cucumber was chilled and had a subtle hint of garlic. The sweet and sour pork rib ($5.80) in dark vinegar was sticky and tasty.

Image courtesy of Wasamedia


Image courtesy of Wasamedia


The drunken chicken ($9.80) was the next on the menu. This is a Shanghainese cold dish where slices of chicken are steeped in rice wine. The meat was tender but failed to win too many accolades.

Image courtesy of Wasamedia


The xiao long bao (steamed pork dumpling) ($7.80) was indubitably the highlight of the evening. Each dumpling was a mini steamed pork bun with wafer thin skin and a juicy pocket of pork inside. As I tentatively took the tinniest bite of the moist dumplings hot air came out accompanied by squirts of gingery-sweet broth. I savoured every bite and every morsel of the dumplings. Nirvana was totally delivered! Word of caution: reign on your temptation and wait few minutes for the dumplings to cool down to avoid burning your mouth.

Image courtesy of Wasamedia


The sheng jian bao (pan fried pork bun) was wonderfully flavoursome. The dumplings ($10.50) were steamed and lightly fried which gave them a crispy bottom. The skin was thicker than the xiao long bao and had a juicy core filled with beautiful silky broth. Oohs and aahs serenaded the buns as I scooped up a few in quick successions.

Image courtesy of Wasamedia


The delightful dumplings quickly raised my expectations which could have accentuated the disappointment I experienced with the next dish, vegetarian dumplings ($9). The steamed vegetarian dumplings were fairly big and were stuffed with a mix of greens. These dumplings could do with more flavour and failed to hit the mark.

Image courtesy of Wasamedia


The shepherd's purse and pork wontons ($11.50) were delicious. As my tongue broke away the soft and slippery almost translucent wonton skin and found the yummy core I was landed me on cloud nine. The accompanying chilli oil added a kick to the wontons and the burst of flavours suffused my senses. The unholy union of the chilli oil, peanut sauce and the spices was so good that it imbued me to engage in an unladylike conduct, I lifted the bowl and drank all of the mixed sauce. This not so dignified act was completely worth it!

Image courtesy of Wasamedia


As I reveled in the not so distant memories of the pork wontons, the crispy turnip cakes arrived. These small cakes were too floury and lacked flavour. I moved onto the shallot and smoked ham sesame puffs ($11) and found them to be quite average.

Now we hit the mains. The first main to arrive on our table was the braised pork belly ($17.50) which was an instant hit. Serving the dish in a clay pot rendered the dish visually pleasing. The plump pork belly was butter soft and disappeared immediately into my mouth. The soy sauce in which the pork belly was braised overnight was rich and delicious.

Image courtesy of Wasamedia


The rainbow beef ($17.80) was the next dish to be sampled by my tastebuds. This timeless Shanghainese stir fry incorporated beef strips, coated in marinade and fried on a frying pan until the beef browned all over. The beef strips were sweet, crispy and quite enticing.

Image courtesy of Wasamedia


Next I turned my mind and mouth to the salt and peppered soft shell crab ($29.80). The soft shell crab was crunchy from outside and soft inside. I found this dish quite nice albeit salty.

Image courtesy of Wasamedia


The next dish to land on our table was the crispy duck and steamed bun ($31.80). The duck was crispy from outside and moist inside. Sandwiched between steamed buns and in conjunction with razor thin slices of cucumber, salt and pepper and hoisin sauce the duck tasted scrummy.

Image courtesy of Wasamedia


The stir-fried string beans ($13.50) with a dash of soy sauce were surprisingly crunchy and appetising. After all the food we had consumed, the beans were delightfully refreshing and cleansed our palates.

Afterwards I sampled the Shanghai fried noodles ($9.90) stir fried with pork and veggies. Shanghai-style noodles were liberally coated with shiny dark sauce and were infused with sweet and sour flavour. Some more pork and veggies would have elevated the experience. The x.o. sauce fried rice ($11.90) was sticky and savoury.

Image courtesy of Wasamedia


By the time we reached the desserts, I was full to bursting point but yet proceeded to taste test the desserts. The desserts comprised of a bowl of shaved ice with mango cubes and ice cream ($10.80) and a second bowl of shaved ice with chunks of strawberry and ice cream ($10.80). The mango dessert was very sweet and invigorating. The strawberry option was a little too sweet for my liking.

Image courtesy of Wasamedia


Image courtesy of Wasamedia


My samplings of the massive drinks list confirmed that the lychee shaved ice drink ($5.80) and virgin sex on the beach mocktail ($6.80) were both delectable.

Image courtesy of Wasamedia


Overall, the entire dinner was a fantastic experience. The food especially the dumplings were absolute foodie delights. The attentive and cheerful service, the modest price range of the food, elegant ambiance and the authentic fare make New Shanghai a delightful dining venue.

There is a great sense of fun while eating at New Shanghai. The traditional Shanghainese food with a tantalising twist makes New Shanghai a worthy competitor for Melbourne food scene's movers and shakers.
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Why? To taste delicious dumplings
When: Mon, Tue, Wed, Sun 11am to 7pm / Thur, Fri, Sat 11am to 9:30pm
Phone: 03 9994 9386
Where: Shop 323, Level 3, Emporium Melbourne, Melbourne CBD
Cost: Starts from $4.80
Your Comment
great review, love the photos!
by Ashley Wallace (score: 2|177) 1708 days ago
Everything looks gorgeous.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12241) 1708 days ago
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