A work function followed by dinner with friends
A new Chinese restaurant has opened near Hyde Park in Sydney and as I had to travel to Sydney (with my friend/colleague Jane) for a work function, I decided to catch up with two other friends for a late dinner at Madame Shanghai restaurant. Well what a fabulous find!!
We walked in and had a drink at the cocktail area overlooking Hyde Park which is said to be reminiscent of a Shanghai garden with lush greenery. It is also decorated with beautiful lamps and really lovely ceiling fans.
The whole area is stylishly decorated in blues and pinks emulating 1930’s Shanghai. It’s actually pretty spectacular.
We then moved to the dining area. The whole restaurant is dimly lit in a sophisticated way and initially we were seated at a round table near the door and with the door open it was too noisy, so we asked to be moved and were accommodated straight away. Our table had a little lamp to allow us to read the menu and the table setting was lovely.
My friends Paul and Kay started off with a cocktail each and Jane and I ordered our usual white wine and a bottle of sparkling mineral water. Paul ordered the Spontaneous Combustion which is made with rum, Gunpowder gin, fassionola, guava, citrus and beachcomber bitters – along with lots of ice – so delicious, he had another, but I forget what Kay ordered.
The menu is extensive and meant to be shared and has several vegetarian options.
My friends decided to share their meals and I ordered my own vegetarian dishes. The dishes I ordered were the open top dumplings (four to a serve) and the pumpkin and brocolini dish with hazelnuts and tamari as well as some cauliflower with chilli and balsamic sauce – absolutely delicious!!
My friends started off with the scallop and snow pea dumplings and the duck pancakes with hoisin sauce.
They then ordered the beef short ribs with fish sauce, chilli and fresh herbs which comes with a large bone on the plate which is more decorative rather than edible.
The next dish they tried was the soft shell crab with tomato chilli sauce and grilled milk bread. I used one finger of the milk bread to mop up some of my chilli and balsamic sauce. The colours in this dish were so vibrant.
The restaurant also has an outdoors area for dining but too cold on this particular night. It’s covered with bamboo trees and soft lighting throughout and on the way to the bathrooms you can see fabulous prints of Shanghai women adorning the walls. I have some of these at my home in Canberra as when I departed Beijing, my lovely language teacher gave me six as a gift which I then had framed.
The chef is Shanghai born and emigrated to Australia in 1996 and it is said his passion for food is inspired by his grandmother’s home cooking and uses the ‘less is more’ approach. I like this style.
Final dish ordered by my friends was the octopus with chilli and heirloom sauce and at that time Kay was ready to have one more cocktail – same as before with the dried apple on the top.
Then it was time for dessert; those who know me know I very rarely eat dessert during the week and this time was no different even though they looked and sounded incredible. Jane is not a big dessert eater but indulged a little this evening.
There are three desserts on the menu and all three were ordered. The first was the white miso cheesecake with passionfruit and cassis – beautifully displayed.
Second was a mango pudding with mango (of course), milk foam and finger lime decorated beautifully with little edible flowers.
And finally Madame’s Gold – a gold glazed chocolate mousse with peanut ganache and rum caramel which is designed to look like a gold bullion.
Pastry chef, Tiffany Jones describes the dessert:
“Madame’s Gold is symbolic of Madame’s love of the high life and indulgence of the finer things in life…she’s an independent woman who uses her gold bullion to sustain her lavish lifestyle”.