We seem to be on a Chinese food roll right now, so I’m just going to go ahead and jump on the bandwagon.
Whether you’re Asian or not, I’m sure many of you have heard of the suburb of Eastwood and its (in)famous abundance of Asian restaurants (and not much else, let’s be honest). Eastwood has some of Sydney’s best Chinese and Korean restaurants, and there seems to be a new business popping up every couple of months. The Taste of Shanghai Restaurant is one of the newer restaurants in Eastwood and business is bustling. While I hate to say this, I personally think that Chinese restaurants are the best near the beginning of their lifetime and slowly decline from there, so we decided that if there is any time to visit, it’s now.
I recently (as in a couple of minutes ago on Google) just found out that there is another chain store in Ashfield, so perhaps the restaurant’s immediate popularity may partly be attributed to that.
When we arrived at 1:00pm on a Saturday afternoon, we expected the restaurant to be packed – and it was. However, when the waitress said it’d be a 5 to 10 minute wait she wasn’t lying, and we were directed to a table fairly quickly.
Taken discretely while I pretended to be using my phone
While the floor space of the restaurant is quite large, they did not waste a single inch of space. The tables were as small as they could make it without the plates falling off (and we had quite a few close saves), and the chairs were pretty much back to back. Despite this, the overall ambience of the restaurant was quite welcoming, and the wait staff were friendly, albeit a little stressed and disorganised.
Green vege & pork pan fried wonton (twelve)
Although I’m not really a fan of dumplings and related food, I do enjoy a well-made fried dumpling once in a while. These fried wontons had a nice dough that was a good blend of flour and glutinous rice, but I think the filling was completely devoid of salt. I don’t usually like to put any sauce on my dumplings either (yes I know I’m weird) so I would’ve preferred some seasoning.
Shanghai steamed mini pork buns, crab meat flavour (eight)
These buns was just your average pork bun and weren’t really special. While it says ‘crab meat flavour’, the only bit of crab was the orange tip that you can see on top.
However, it does seem like that all the doughy foods are freshly made in the kitchen, which I always appreciate.
Fresh fish head soup (white)
The fish head soup was on the Chef’s Specials menu, and another version with red (chilli) soup is also available. The soup is quite pricey, but the serving is massive, and at lunchtimes I believe it is at a special price of $19.80. I don’t usually eat seafood, especially fish, but I had seconds of this soup (although, it was partly because there was so much of it and I felt obliged not to waste it!) Usually, oilyness is a big problem with fish soup, but this soup had just the right amount. The fish flavour was refreshing and strong but not overbearing, and it was balanced nicely with fresh tofu and glutinous rice noodles.
Szechuan style shredded pork & golden buns
This was an interesting dish that I hadn’t come across before. What you had to do was stuff the pork in the bun, which had a hole at the bottom.
The buns had a really unique flavour that was kind of smokey & cocoa-y. The pork strings were tender and mildly spicy, but weren’t really interesting.
Chilli beef in hot wok
While I was told that chilli isn’t really used in Shanghai cooking, I always have to have at least one spicy dish. I prefer my meat dishes to be really strong and rich in flavour (loaded with soy sauce and spices, please), however, the chilli beef was way too salty, and considering my normal salt threshold, that’s quite a statement. Aside from that, the beef was tender and nicely cooked, but I’d prefer a little more beef and a little less tofu in there.
Overall, I was quite pleased with the experience. I’m a fairly harsh critic when it comes to Chinese food and Taste of Shanghai Restaurant passed the test in my book. However, one complaint is that although having been to the city, we weren’t really sure what actually constituted as ‘Shanghai food’. I hope they’d have some kind of marking on the menu to show the Shanghai specialities from the average Chinese dish.
Taste of Shanghai Restaurant, Eastwood
200 Rowe St,
Eastwood NSW 2122
Ph: (02) 9804 0388