Shop 323, Level 3 Emporium, 287 Lonsdale Street
03 9994 9386
New Shanghai is elevating the dumpling experience from cheap and cheerful to cocktails and crabmeat, offering delicious Shanghai-style dishes in a stylish setting.
Located in Emporium Melbourne’s Level 3 Cafe Court, the venue is everything a traditional food-court restaurant is not. For starters, it has its own restaurant floor, with attentive staff, an open kitchen and luxurious furnishings. The menu is comprehensive, venturing beyond dumplings and dim sum to include wontons, noodles, rice and an extensive selection of meat, seafood and vegetable dishes. Finally, it serves carefully constructed cocktails, with flavours inspired by the combinations appearing on your plate.
The first New Shanghai restaurant to open in Melbourne, the New Shanghai Emporium continues the tradition of giving visitors direct access to the process of dumpling assembly, with an open kitchen that lets you admire the masters at work.
Their prowess is best seen in the creation of xiao long bao – twisted-top dumplings that hold sumptuous pork, or pork and crabmeat filling and a hot broth. They’re incredibly difficult to get right, as the dumpling dough has to be thick enough to hold the broth, but thin enough to pierce with a chopstick.
However, at New Shanghai, the team of chefs are old hands, turning out hundreds and hundreds of these marvellous morsels every day. This same level of expertise is applied to every dish, so ordering plenty of plates isn’t out of the question.
After devouring your first basket of xiao long bao, mix it up with steamed vegetarian dumplings, or get hot under the collar with prawn wontons, doused in chilli oil and peanut and sesame sauce.
When it comes to the larger dishes, expect a stern discussion around the table: there are approximately 40 plates to choose from and only so much you can eat. The salt and pepper soft-shell crab is a fabulously fishy option, but the stir-fried clams with XO sauce are also worth considering. The braised lamb with sweetened soy sauce offers a tasty alternative to pork, while the sautéed spinach with garlic, cuts through the heaviness of the proteins perfectly.
There’s just as much choice in the drinks menu, with everything from classic Chinese tea to house-mixed sodas and smoothies. If it’s after midday, you can also BYO wine, or order a cocktail – they’re some of the best in the area and include collaborations with other local business. The Southern Air is an irresistible mix of Yvette Violette liqueur, Gelato Messina Coconut and Pandan sorbet, lemon juice and sugar syrup.
New Shanghai’s restaurant design is inspired by the classic Shanghai visuals. In Melbourne, red shutters cover ‘windows’ and Chinese characters are painted on the walls, evoking images of a traditional hutong. Black and white posters and red-cushioned chairs unite the space visually, leaving you wondering if you really are in a shopping centre.
New Shanghai is more than a one-trick pony. While its xiao long bro might have people flocking to its doors, its delicious Shanghai-style dishes, considered cocktails, and friendly service keep them returning for more.