Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Shanghai, Chatswood Chase

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Wait, wait. I was just as confused as you when I first saw this. A new New Shanghai in Chatswood? Isn't there already a New Shanghai in Chatswood? Yes, there is. But there's another one! A shinier, prettier one. For those of you who might not be a big fan of the greasy floors and chaos of the Lemon Grove restaurant, you can enjoy pretty much the exact same thing but in their brand new restaurant which is part of the huge new food court at Chatswood Chase.
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I'd been eager to see if it really was any different. But everytime I tried to get a table, I'd be met with huge lines and a possible 30 minutes or more wait. The turnover seems to be quite quick, but even so, I'm not willing to wait for 30 mins for a casual dinner in Chatswood. Karen & I happened to be in Chatswood late on a Thursday night and decided to try our luck. We were told it would be a 10 minute wait but it turned out to be about 2 minutes which was awesome. Walking in, the place looks nothing like the restaurant down the road. It's all black and red, a little too dark for my liking but not uncomfortably so. The girls are still making their dumplings behind a glass window, but now they have seating around that area so people can eat and watch them make dumplings at the same time, which I think is a great idea. There aren't really any single tables, just lots of big communal tables that all the customers share.
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While the decor is completely different, the service is still the same. Confused, rushed and a little bit on the rude side. But I'm used to it. I ask for hot tea and get hot water instead, which isn't a big deal, but it would have been nice to get one of their cute looking tea sets. We order a few dishes, and realise afterwards that we only ordered pork dishes. So much for a balanced diet.
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The food comes pretty quickly, about the same as the other restaurant. The first is a main dish of pork belly, which has been braised over night in sweet soy. With a description like that, it's hard to resist. It comes out in a gorgeous, yet completely huge and impractical clay pot, which holds a small portion of the fatty pork in the middle.
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Pork belly braised overnight in sweet soy sauce ($12.80)
It's a lovely tasting dish, the sauce is thick, dark and sweet and I'm scrambling to soak up as much of the sauce with the chunks of pork belly. It's not as fall apart as I thought it might be, but it's not too salt and really quite nice, especially when you get a little of that belly fat along with a mouthful of meat.
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New Shanghai Xiao Long Bao ($7.00)
The xiao long bao are decent enough, and seem the same quality as the ones at Lemon Grove. They are a happy medium, not quite as delicate skins as the ones at Din Tai Fung, and not quite as intensely flavoured as the Shanghai Night ones. But pleasant nonetheless. My main issue is with the spoons they give you. Like some of the other dishes, it is completely impractical. The dumpling hangs over the edges of the spoon and makes it useless for the way that I tend to eat my xiao long bao (dipping in vinegar and then sitting it in the spoon and poking a hole in the skin to let the soup mix with the vinegar).
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Pan-fried pork dumplings ($9.00)
I was stupid and pointed at the pan-fried pork dumplings while ordering instead of the fluffy pan-fried pork buns that I usually get. Sorry Karen! But the dumplings were actually pretty good. They still had those perfect golden bottoms that you would get with the pork buns, but without all the excess dough that usually fills me up. So before I knew it I had gobbled up 4 of these with no problem.
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So after that completely porky event, there is minimal damage to our wallets (which means we are free to splurge a little on some Wheel & Barrow items) and I am pretty satisfied. But for some reason it doesn't feel quite right. I think I'm just way too used to having my dumpling fix in a completely grease-covered, brightly lit, super noisy old restaurant. It's like having yum cha at a quiet, fancy restaurant where you order off a menu. I think the grotty, greasy restaurants are part of the experience. But for those of you who would prefer to stay away from it, Chatswood Chase is the place for you. And for the moment, expect a fairly long wait for a table, and don't expect the service to be any friendlier.
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New Shanghai
Lower Ground Level,

Chatswood Chase Food Court

(02) 9412 3358


Mon-Wed: 11.00am-9.00pm

Thurs: 11.00am-9.30pm

Fri: 11.00am-9.00pm

Sat: 11.00am-9.30pm

Sun: 11.00am-9.00pm

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10 comments:

  1. Ha we have just been there recently. Oh no you missed out on the pan fried pork bun! It is the best!! (sorry karen!) It is so good we ordered 2 rounds! LOL but I've been told lemon grove is better? I will have to give that branch a try next time.

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  2. I presume that this is the off-shoot to the New Shanghai branch in Ashfield? I'm curious to see how either store compares to the one I know.

    Initially surprised that they opened two in the same area but from what you've said about the queues, it makes sense.

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  3. I was at Chatswood Chase a few weeks ago and wanted to try New Shanghai. Put off by the wait, we had fast food Mexican instead. I think we should have waited - the food looks really good. Love the decor, too.

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  4. hehe who needs a balanced diet when you have dumplings galore!

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  5. Hehe it's ok Steph and Billy, I'll get my pan-fried pork bun fix next time LOL. You'll have to take me to Lemon Grove so we can compare yeah? :D

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  6. I've never even been to the first one! I may have to make a trip there one of these days. Or should I go to the older one?? :)

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  7. *like* i love this place =D
    Their hot n sour soup aint bad either!!

    My boss and I on sundays get takeaway dumplings from here. May not be happy working on sundays, but dumplings always but a smile on my face!

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  8. Wow that one looks much nicer than the other one! Hehe maybe that's a first date kind of Shanghai Dumpling place? :P

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  9. Their pot-stickers are equally nice as the pan-fried pork buns. This is so far my favourite dumpling place because the food is fresh and it's closer to home.

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  10. billy - Nooooo :( Dammit. Yeah I would probably say the lemon grove one is slightly better. But way more greasy floored!

    Simon - Yep I think it's the same. I was super confused at first but I think it makes sense. And there's definitely demand for it!

    Belle - It sucks that there's such a huge wait. I think we only managed to get in cos it was after 8pm

    chocolatesuze - haha exactly!! dumplings, and sugar!

    Karen - We will have to go back to get them! And return to wheel and barrow :) Deal?

    Trissa - Oh I'll have to take you some time! I'd say to try the new one, it's so pretty!

    VoN - Yeah I had the hot n sour soup with noodles once, it was pretty good! Working on Sundays is boo :(

    Lorraine - Haha yes it would be a great first date place...as long as you know what to order..the waitresses arent much help

    Ellie - I thought so too! It's pretty decent and very good value!

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