Indeed, there are two New Shanghai Chinese Restaurants in Chatswood in fairly close proximity, which in itself seems a little odd. The fact that they are located in two polar opposites of shopping centres - the luxe Chatswood Chase and not-so-swish Lemon Grove Shopping Centre - is even more strange.
|Crab xiao long bao from New Shanghai, Lemon Grove Shopping Centre, |
Victoria Street, Chatswood
Service is brusque, even for a Chinese restaurant, but it's not long before food fills the table. The crab xiao long bao have a detectable seafood taste but aren't really so different to the standard pork ones. The dumpling skins hold well and are hard to fault, while the soup is still the best part of the experience.
|Pan fried pork dumplings|
I had my fingers tightly crossed that the plate of pan fried dumplings that emerged from the microwave were not headed towards my table. No such luck, and I tried as best I could to eat them without prejudice.
It may well have been all in my head but I struggled with the tough outer skins while taste- and heat-wise they were acceptable. A healthy dousing with both vinegar sauce and chilli oil helped but the overall enjoyment of the dumplings had been marred from the start.
|Sichuan style sauce stir fried with pork mince and served with dry noodle|
|Sichuan spicy pork noodles mixed|
|Stir fried spinach with garlic|
In this instance, there definitely could have been many dollars worth of garlic in the dish as it was absolutely loaded with diced garlic amongst the tender spinach leaves and stems. A good dish for colds and vampire repelling.
Post lunch, walking around probably with a garlic cloud above, it looked like northern Chinatown has integrated seamlessly with Chatswood. The crowds at Asian dessert house Zen Q were proof, nestled into the Westfield at street level and doing brisk trade on the hot afternoon.
|Mango shaved ice with fresh mango, mango jelly and mango ice cream from Zen Q,|
The squishy eat-in seating, designed to fit as many bodies into the small space as possible, meant I was basically sitting on top of someone next to me as my mango dessert arrived. The sprinkles took me back to times of frozen party pies and sausage rolls, but at least the mango ice did its job in refreshing.
It wasn't overly sweet either while the mango ice cream was the most subtle of the lot. The small helping of fresh mango cubes was the best component while the slightly chewy mango jellies were fun but few and far between.
|Fruit soup with ice cream|
We scoff and dash at Zen Q, but not before peering quzzically at couples and groups attacking loaves of bread dressed in everything from fruit to cream to more of those sprinkles. Bread with dessert is a fairly alien concept to me but being the the Chinatown of the north, perhaps next time I cross the Bridge I'll have to do as the Romans do.