Da Orazio Woodfire Oven

da orazio, bondi beach

You probably haven’t even noticed but I’m not exactly built like a Gazelle.  I’m one of those people, as good luck would have it, where my size makes me relatively close to the earth.  This is great for lots of things.  Skiing* and snowboarding*.  Plane flights. Squeezing to the front of the mosh pit without getting the stink eye from your fellow festival goers.

What it isn’t so good for is the bar stool. If the name of the game is anything but downing martinis ’til you nearly backward flip off said bar stool, I can’t stand them. When a waiter says we have a table available on the bar they might as well be saying can I set you a table on the pavement out front. Continue reading

Nomad Interiors

nomad, surry hills

Oh Sydney, you funny thing. You sure know how to get excited about a new restaurant. No sooner have the doors swung open on a shiny new restaurant and you’re queuing ‘round the block or hanging desperately at the bar panting for your table.

The challenge, as I’ve discussed before, is maintaining that level of excitement. True staying power seems seriously difficult as the caravan of diners move onto the next shiny (or beautiful concrete) surface. Continue reading

Egg Custard Tarts

sky phoenix, CBD

I do not have a bad word to say about Yum Cha. When the weekend swings around and I’m not craving breakfast at Reuben Hill, my other Sunday morning kickstarter is a trolley chase at my favourite yum cha restaurant. Sky Phoenix is the choice for today and though not the most authentic of the big China Town experiences the dishes are reliably good (and conveniently located for a spot of Zara shopping pre or post your fill). Continue reading

new shanghai, chatswood

I’m not sure what is better. Securing Egyptian Cotton Sheets at 30% off or securing a table at New Shanghai Chatswood Chase in less than a half an hour at lunchtime.

Shepherd's Purse Dumplings

Shepherd’s Purse Dumplings

New Shanghai Chatswood Chase

New Shanghai Chatswood Chase

If you manage both it is truly a red letter day. New Shanghai is my favourite place to grab a dumpling. Better than Din Tai Fung. Better then Chef’s Gallery. And the Chatswood version, though not as authentic and down home as the Ashfield version, provides the perfect reward for a successful morning’s shopping.

New Shanghai Chatswood

New Shanghai Interior

I really haven’t actively worked my way through the menu as much as I probably should have, but after a hard day’s shopping, I generally seek comfort in old favourites and crowd pleasers as I’ll do today.

The Sous Chef kicks off with a favourite of his, the Hot, Spicy & Sour soup with Shredded Pork & Bean Curd. This hearty and flavoursome starter is thicky and gloopy in the best possible way. If you love an Asian soup but are after something a little lighter the Wontons or Mini Pork Short Soup will leave room for incoming dumplings.

Hot & Sour Soup

New Shanghai Hot & Sour Soup

I have a soft spot for a good fried rice and the generous serving at Din Tai Fung is the perfect accompaniment with today’s order of Crispy Chicken with a Chilli Soy Sauce. The chicken is perfectly tender on the inside and crunch on the outer with the sweet almost sticky sauce providing the perfect compliment.

Fried Rice & Shallot Pancake

Fried Rice & Shallot Pancake

New Shanghai Crispy Skin Chicken

New Shanghai Crispy Skin Chicken

The Shepherd’s Purse Dumplings served with a Chilli & Peanut Butter Sauce provides every reason to be cautious as the breakfast spread is not exactly the expected ingredient on the menu. I encourage you to give it a try as the dumplings are delicious and the spicy sauce works surprisingly well. It’s a favourite.

Shepherd's Purse & Pork Wonton Tossed with Sesame Butter, Red Chilli Oil & Spice

Shepherd’s Purse & Pork Wonton Tossed with Sesame Butter, Red Chilli Oil & Spice

Pan-fried dumplings of Pork Dumplings are juicy. With a splash of black vinegar and the unstoppable chilli sauce (you’ll need to request this) you will be in dumpling heaven.

Pan Fried Pork Dumpling

Pan Fried Pork Dumpling

If you can manage to get a gang together your experience will be all the better as you can sample a broader range of dishes. The signature New Shanghai Pan Fried Pork Bun is winner and the Lamb & Leek Dumpling is pretty special also.

Chatswood is bursting with so many incredible Asian restaurants to try. Unfortunately New Shanghai is so reliably good that if I’m in the neighbourhood, this Shanghai favourite is my lunchtime default setting. I encourage you to make it yours – you’ll never love Christmas shopping more.

New Shanghai Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Scallop Ceviche

el topo, bondi junction

Back in the late 90s lamenting about the lack of Mexican food in Australia was one of the favourite whines for every food lover we  who has spent any time at all in America.

It was such an obvious, gaping hole in our culinary offering and given the very addictive and moreish nature of great Mexican food, we had every right to complain about not having access to a half decent burrito and accompanying margherita. Continue reading

Bandito Roll with Roast Pork, Chicken Parfait , Serrano Ham, Chilli & Pickled Vegetable

the carrington, surry hills

If you’re lucky enough to work in Surry Hills you have some pretty terrific options for lunch. Not necessarily the plethora of food court options that you might get working in the big city, but some tasty cafes and pubs that if you manage to get an hour out with your colleagues, you can park talk of excel sheets, technical hoo-ha or the latest office drama. Continue reading