342 Little Bourke Street
The CBD needs a good dumpling spot. I had never banked on one being outside of Chinatown however, so I didn’t pay any attention to Shanghai Street Dumpling until it began to pick up momentum on the blogosphere late last year. Sandwiched between a Pie Face and a Shuji Sushi, the only indicator of Shanghai Street being any more than mediocre is the hungry punters lined up outside. We tried to saunter in at 12:10, except we couldn’t even get through the door. Luckily it was just Chris and I today, and we were seated within 10 minutes; the group of 4 in front of us were looking at a 20-30 minute wait!
Upon entering the restaurant you’d probably be surprised at how nicely furnished it is for a dumpling house; they even use high back leather chairs! Then you’d probably wonder why they don’t squeeze a few more tables into the place so you could’ve gotten a spot quicker. The cutlery and hot tea is self-serve, and the staff are surly and efficient. However they did stray past surly and right into rude territory when the time came for us to pay. I stood in front of the counter, wallet in hand, only to be completely ignored by the waitress right behind the counter. In the end I had to flag down another waitress just so we could pay and leave. And with that unpleasantness out of the way, on to the food!
|Shanghai Fried Pork Mini Buns ($8.5 for 6)|
We went all-dumplings today and started out with a plate of their signature Shanghai Fried Pork Mini Buns ($8.5 for 6). These are medium sized pork buns that have been pan-fried and garnished with scallions. The skins on these were chewy and bready, and the mince had a nice savoury flavour. Unfortunately these seemed like they’ve been sitting out a little; the bottom of the buns were no longer crispy, and all the soup had leaked out. Fingers crossed for fresh ones next time!
|Peking Pork Dumplings ($8.3 for 15)|
And of course, my benchmark dish for every dumpling house – Peking Pork Dumplings ($8.3 for 15). Unlike the fried buns, these were straight out of the pot and were burning like the sun. It’s a very authentic dumpling rendition that was heavy on the chives, and the perfect thickness of the skin deserved a thumbs-up. The requisite chilli oil had the lovely addition of anchovies, though I did find myself wishing for more toasted chilli.
Shanghai Street Dumpling is loud and bustling, and once you finally manage to get a seat, the long line out the door encourages minimum talking and maximum scoffing. But really, the food alone is enough to stop all chit-chat. I am proud to welcome it into my inner circle of elite dumpling houses with open arms.
Rating: 14/20 – cbd dumpling elite