restaurant review: new shanghai, ashfield
Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to be invited to a sampling of the menu at New Shanghai’s Ashfield restaurant.
My friend Courtney (known to most of you as Lip’s Film Editor) accompanied me, and when we made our way to the restaurant we were surprised at how pumping it was for a Tuesday night. We tethered on the edge between the door and the street as a busy waitress studied a long hand-written reservation list, and handed out slips of numbered paper to the groups of people in front of us. At a quick glance around the restaurant, every table was full. Thankfully Courtney and I were there to join a group in one of the restaurant’s private dining rooms, and were quickly ushered through the hustle.
Lesson here is: Reserve a table, even if it’s just for two, so that you aren’t disappointed!
Over two hours, Courtney and I enjoyed a feast that left us saying standard ohmihoshiamsofull lines such as ‘I don’t think I need to eat for the rest of the week’ and ‘I feel like I’ve eaten more than I eat at Christmas.’
There were far too many dishes to talk about individually so I’ll speak to you about a few of my favourites:
Peking Duck Pancakes – Even though no plates and sticky pancakes made these a little difficult to assemble, I don’t think there is ever a better crowd pleaser than Peking Duck Pancakes. The duck was perfectly cooked and full of flavour; the sauce was sweet and delightfully sticky; and the cucumber provided the perfect fresh accompaniment needed to cut through the richness. Another wonderful thing about having the components of the pancakes being brought out to you, is that it allows you to control the ratios of ingredients — and in my case it meant I could take it easy on the sauce.
Pork Belly – ‘Pork Belly’ is a phrase that tends to make most people salivate with just the mention of the name, and this dish was no exception. The marinated meat practically melted in my mouth, and I found myself wishing I could eat the entire bowl myself. The only thing that stopped me (as well as being polite to my table-mates!) was that the fat on the top of the pork is quite jelly-like, which I found a little difficult to get through. This, of course, is easily solved by cutting it off, but this might not make it a great option on a first date or business meeting.
Fried ice-cream - This might be my favourite fried ice-cream ever, perhaps because it’s not incredibly true to its name. The coating is only lightly fried so it feels like you are eating ice-cream coated in cake, which is pretty amazing. The cake surroundings also have a citrus flavour, which provides a fresh and zesty taste to compliment the moorish vanilla ice-cream.
Honourable mentions go to an amazing dish which was essentially dough deep fried in dough (Elvis would have approved), deep fried prawns in egg yolk (the prawns were amazing but the coating was a tad powdery), and the Chinese rice cakes which were like a Chinese Gnocchi (or little parcels of moorish yum). And of course, the dumplings!!! They were so good, they have evidently forced me to sacrifice correct grammar.
Since we were located in one of the private back rooms and our feast was pre-ordered, I can’t speak much about the restaurant’s ambience or the service. But I can reiterate how packed the place was, and that’s generally a good indication that the restaurant ticks all the boxes. Or that the food is so amazing everything else doesn’t matter. Either way, your stomach isn’t going to lose — and that’s the most important thing, right?
New Shanghai Ashfield
273 Liverpool Road, Ashfield
(02) 9797 7284