New Shanghai Various locations: Emporium Melbourne, Level Three, 287 Lonsdale Street, CBD, Melbourne + Chadstone Shopping Centre, 1341 Dandenong Road, Chadstone, Melbourne Contact: 03 9994 9386 (CBD) / 03 9973 9483 (Chadstone) Disclaimer: Sponsored article Those who know me well will know that I am OBSESSED with dumplings. Whether it’s fried, steamed, savoury or sweet, you name it – I’ll (probably) like it. And when it is done well, boy does it make a whole world of a difference. Enter New Shanghai. Just like the heritage of one of our favourite dumpling joints, Din Tai Fung, at the heart of New Shanghai are ancient family recipes learned in Shanghai and passed down from generation to generation. These ancient recipes are the base of a sumptuous spread of Shanghai-style soup dumplings (called ‘xiao long bao’ after the bamboo steaming baskets they are traditionally prepared in), noodles, bubbling hot pots, and pan-fried buns. Each of these can all be enjoyed while viewing New Shanghai’s live dumpling-making theatre (thanks to an open kitchen).
Kitchen 425 @ Ms Collins Location: 425 Collins Street, CBD, Melbourne Contact: 03 8614 2222 GOOD NEWS: Ms Collin’s Kitchen 425 has partnered up with Veuve Clicquot this Summer to bring you the ‘Veuve Clicquot Summer Garden’, trading Wednesday – Friday from 4pm to 9pm. The menu celebrates a unique culinary experience, with dishes drawing notes from pan Asian and contemporary Australian influences, under the consultancy of Chef Daniel Wilson (Huxtaburger). The addition of the Summer Garden means that every Wed to Friday there will be a Summer cocktail special, and a delectable food special on offer – the perfect segue-way to a fun night out on the town. On the Friday night that we attended, there were some MAD good plates of ribs and burgers (yeesss please), garden spritz cocktails and deeelicious sweet potato fries doing the rounds.
China Red Location: Shop 6, 206 Bourke Street, CBD, Melbourne Contact: 03 9662 3688 I’m notorious for hitting up the chef-recommended dishes list of any eating establishment, so when said list contains an item as good as Shanghai xiao long bao at uber-popular Chinese eatery China Red, I’ve just gotta tell you about it.
Fatboy Chapel 352-354 Chapel Street, South Yarra, Melbourne Contact: 03 9827 7506 Chinese cuisine is one of those that would be instantly familiar to most people, along with its associations born from stir fried takeaway and cramped red restaurants of the 80s and 90s. Like burgers, pizza and Thai food, a reinvention for the modern palette would help cleanse the mind of the culinary horrors of yesteryear.
Rice Paper Scissors Location: 19 Liverpool Street, CBD, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9663 9890 Rice Paper Scissors is one of those venues that manages to hit all the right notes. Each of its CBD and Fitzroy locations are intimate, personable venues; the cocktails are as cheekily-named as they are imaginative; and, most importantly, each item on the menu is lip-smackingly spot on. At roughly $12-$15 per share plate, dining at this gem is an absolute bargain. Most diners opt for the $59 feast option, which gives 5 stellar dishes to be shared between two people, however we’ve often found that 3-4 dishes (depending on hunger levels) suffices. Must-orders here for us include the twice-cooked sticky pork belly with sticky tamarind caramel sauce and the tapioca-dusted crispy barramundi with green apple slaw.
Tim Ho Wan Location: 206 Bourke Street, CBD, Melbourne Those who have traveled through Hong Kong, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur will be familiar with dim sum chain Tim Ho Wan. Founded by acclaimed dim sum chef Mak Kwai Pui (Le Meridian, Lung King Heen), the original 19-seat restaurant was awarded a Michelin star after just one year of opening in 2009 and, since then, the restaurant chain has taken the place as the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world. We headed in to celebrate the launch of their latest monthly specials, which includes a serve of prawn and chive dumplings with a kick of chilli, crispy pork noodles and golden tofu.
Deliveroo www.deliveroo.com.au Now that the weather’s started to cool down, I’ve become somewhat of a homebody. Friday nights out on the town have been quickly traded in for the intense sport of couch potato-ing, with a piping hot mug of hot chocolate, a rug, House of Cards and and my favourite home delivery on rotation. Don’t get me wrong, I love dining out (and us Melbournians are well and truly spoilt with choice when it comes to dining and drinking destinations with impeccable service), however there are times where I’d rather just stay in and either cook a healthy meal or grab some takeaway and, in Pretty Woman style, ‘veg out’.
Son In Law Location: 56-58 Johnston Street, Collingwood Victoria Contact: 03 9410 399 Resplendent in blazing purple is Son In Law, a stone’s throw from the Tote on busy Johnston street. This is fresh, up to date Thai Street food. We had to start with this new restaurant’s name sake: Son In Law Eggs – Sweet Tamarind, Chilli, fried shallots – $8
Ms Collins Location: 425 Collins Street, CBD, Melbourne, VIC Contact: Bookings contact (03) 8614 2222 during business hours. For after work group package bookings or information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org After work drinks just got more fun! Ms Collins has just launched the Acoustic Kitchen, which means Friday nights just got a whole lot better. The huge bar, restaurant and club now features an acoustic live band from 6-8pm, every Friday.
Shimbu Tibetan Restaurant and Bar Location: 58 Lygon Street, Brunswick East, Victoria Contact: 0405 319 161
Red Spice Road Location: QV Centre, 37 Artemis Lane, CBD, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 8660 6300 My love for weddings is equally matched by my love of a good challenge. So, when I was tasked by C with the honor of organising her Hens party and corresponding dinner celebrations, naturally I was absolutely ecstatic. C, being the lovely lady that she is, gave me considerable freedom in scoping out restaurant venues for the night, with the only conditions being that: a) the place would be able to deliver a fantastic night in a ‘pretty’ setting; b) the venue wasn’t so noisy that the girls would be able to have a proper chat; and c) the per-head charge would fall within a reasonable price range.
45 Degrees Pizza Location: 33 Bridge Road, Richmond, VIC Contact: 03 9429 5577 For traditional pizzas with a twist, one can’t go past 45 Degrees Pizza. The newly opened pizzeria joint is a celebration of Melbourne’s hip hop culture, with custom graffiti splashed across the walls and an open kitchen format that gives diners a view of the pizza making process, where pizza chefs don Run-DMC-esque uniforms while whipping up hearty pizzas to the tune of hip hop. 45 Degrees’ owners have been careful to craft a unique space and pizza offering that turns the traditional pizza topping on its head. The outcome is a cheeky menu which truly celebrates Melbourne’s multiculturalism, borrowing snippets of flavour from various countries and their favourite dishes from across the world.
New Shanghai Location: Emporium Melbourne, Level Three, 287 Lonsdale Street, CBD, Melbourne Contact: 03 9994 9386 http://www.newshanghai.com.au/ We barely need any excuse for more dumplings. New Shanghai’s new paired menu shows off the complimentary nature of wine and a smattering of their varied dishes. With expert advice from Oatley Wine Merchants, New Shanghai have put together a balanced menu showing off the best of both protein and grape. With Danny Bhoy’s famous tasting description echoing in my ear in a heavy Scottish accent : “Mmmm… crushed grapes…” we set out to investigate the complimentary pairings. I’ll leave the finer subtlety of wine tasting notes, legs, cooperage and annual harvest variance to those that are far more qualified to do so. The pairings as a whole however were great. Be sure to check out New Shanghai’s new pairings menu. The food and wine matching was subtle with the focus on the meal as a whole. I’ve talked about matching food with drinks before, so it’s no surprise to know how well it works as it does here.
Laneway Greens Location: 242 Flinders Lane, CBD, Melbourne Contact: 03 9639 0619 We’re not usually ones to rave on about salad bars. Don’t get me wrong – E and myself eat pretty healthy 80% of the time (yes, we do have to actively combat the
damage positive effects that food writing has on our bodies), and the nature of our working hours means that we frequent salad bars such as Crisp and Famish’d two to three times a week. However, I can’t say that we’ve ever been head over heels in love with an eatery whose main offering is salad.
Enter Laneway Greens.
Nestled in Flinders Lane and Wedged in between the buzz of Swanston and Elizabeth Streets, this salad, smoothie and juice bar delivers haute greens, with a conscious commitment to feeding diners with thoughtful flavour pairings and seasonal ingredients. Each offering has been mindfully crafted, with items like the wombok chicken slaw a light take on the Thai chicken larb gai. Then there’s Korean-influenced chargrilled beef bowl, which comes with a healthy bed of cauliflower rice and lashings of kimchi.
Miss Korea Kitchen Location: 845 Burke Road, Camberwell, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9882 4999 This one-room Korean eatery on Camberwell’s bustling Burke Road serves all that sizzly, smoky, K-Bbq goodness without the fuss, and then some. Barbequed wagyu scotch fillet (7+ marble score) and black angus meat can be brought to your table and cooked in front of you. Large Korean army-stype stews are also on offer. What we love, however, are the individual dishes and shared plates – in particular, Miss Korea Kitchen’s seafood pancake is a winner, jam-packed with flavour and crisp at the edges.
Mr Huang Jin Location: 4-5 Katherine Place, 517 Flinders Lane, VIC 3000 Contact: 9629 5452 Anyone who’s ever lined up for xiao long bao would agree that additions to the Melbourne dumpling scene are usually not a bad thing. Set in Melbourne’s schmick Katherine Place (alongside favourites such as T by Luxbite, Hunters’ Roots and Delhi Streets), sits Mr Huang Jin, a small eatery that serves up both traditional and modern dumpling flavours.
Hunters’ Roots Location: 26 Katherine Place, Melbourne VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9629 9587 Hunters’ Roots is one of those places that is so easy to fall in love with – co-founders Jeff and Kerry Chew are an absolute delight, and have worked hard to create a unique space that focuses on fresh produce, seasonality and sustainability. Processed, pre-packaged items are an absolute no-no here – the duo takes pride in making most of the menu items in-house, with a range of lip-smacking healthy juices, smoothies and daily, super-food-packed salads doing the rounds. My sister, T is a repeat offender; the ‘Purple Rain’ is darn addictive (a life-changing blend of dragonfruit, local berries, banana, coconut yoghurt, coconut milk and camu camu), as is the green day.
The Brass Coq Location: 470 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9640 0035 Beyond the highly informal pho joints which proliferate the city, finding a refined, yet unpretentious, Vietnamese eatery in Melbourne’s CBD can be a bit of a challenge. Enter The Brass Coq, a wonderful bar and restaurant that is making in-roads into the buzzing Healys Lane precinct; an area which is quickly becoming a go-to for the Flagstaff / courts end of the business district. The Brass Coq’s contemporary Asian cuisine draws predominantly on Vietnamese staples, re-interpreted with a finesse and technique that is reflective of the team’s breadth of experience across the hospitality scene. An emphasis on taking an inventive approach to dishes while still playing to the five fundamental tastes of Vietnamese cuisine (spicy, sour, bitter, salty and sweet), ensures consistency in the quality of the dishes.
Suda Location: Shop c2, Healeys Lane, 550 Lonsdale Street Contact: 03 9942 6422 Like all hidden gems in Melbourne, finding Suda is a bit of an adventure in itself – the quaint restaurant is located in a little laneway towards the quieter end of Lonsdale Street. Yet the walk up to this end of the city is worth it; one step in and the eatery oozes warmth, with wooden panelling, polaroid pictures and hand written signs littered throughout the romantic space. The menu is playful and inventive, with the dishes focussing on Korean favourites with a fusion twist (think kimchi-filled quesadillas, plum mint soju cocktails and rice cakes with haloumi, to name a few).
The National Hotel Location: 340-344 Victoria St, Richmond, VIC 3121 Contact: 03 9429 8811 The National Hotel is one of those rare pubs that manages to radiate a sense of relaxed elegance while still catering to every pub goer. The fire-lit lounge and cosy rear dining room is offset by cool timber and concrete blocks which provide both texture and warmth to the huge space. The Hotel’s old Victorian shell has been renovated extensively, with a mix of recycled materials and rich overlays. It’s an inviting place, and an easy choice for a relaxing dinner or nibbles over drinks. We were recently invited to attend a blogger dinner at The National Hotel to try out both existing and new items on their menu in conjunction with the team at Reymond Communications.
Mama’s Buoi Location: G25 GPO Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9671 3426 Situated in the heart of the laneway straddling Melbourne’s iconic GPO building, Mama’s Buoi is a modern vietnamese eatery which serves up punchy dishes full in flavour and spice. Bao Hoang, the Director of Mama’s Buoi, has drawn from his own family experiences in designing the menu; a constant theme on the menu is that it is centered around family, home-cooked meals enjoyed with both his Mom and close Aunt. The space is a large, airy space, with the majority of the tables lined up outside to bask in the Melbourne atmosphere and a huge bar towards the front. A little while ago we attended a blogger dinner with Wasamedia and the team at Mama’s Buoi to try out some of the tantalising new dishes on their menu.