Brisbane recently welcomed franchise New Shanghai‘s latest outlet – the first in Queensland.
New Shanghai has picked a fantastic location for their first Queensland outlet. Located across the basement food court in Queens Plaza, it attracts a healthy collection of curious onlookers to its dumpling-making window and it already sees a brisk lunch crowd during the week.
The SO and I arrived for an early dinner without reservations, and were seated quickly at a long table already occupied at one end with a larger group of diners. Thankfully there were a pair of seats acting as a gap between each group. Back in the Motherland and much of Asia, sharing larger tables with strangers is common practice, so we didn’t mind.
New Shanghai‘s décor combines both decadence with its rich dark woods and lush reds, and classical by adding traditional wooden stools, red bunting across the exposed ceiling and bamboo screens. It’s all a reminder of its namesake city, where old melds with the new.
The menu is an assortment of modern Shanghai-style dishes of soup, noodles, rice and vegetable dishes. The Si Chuan style sauce stir fried with pork mince served with dry-noodle seemed quite popular amongst that evening’s patrons.
And of course, dumplings. Punters can watch these dumplings made onsite, including the rolling out of the dumpling skin.
I haven’t had shredded kelp in ages, so opted to start the meal with this cold dish. For those who are reading this and going “ew! You eat seaweed?!”, you are totally missing out. Kelp contains high amounts of folate, vitamin K and iodine, and is used as a flavouring agent due to its glutamic acid content.
The shredded kelp was mixed with a spice and vinegar dressing, probably comprising of garlic and a mild chilli oil. The portion was generous, spanning the length of my hand – I am much more used to having this type of dish served in tablespoon-sized heaps.
The shallot pancake is really crispy and flakey, almost croissant-like in its lightness. There wasn’t a strong shallot flavour, but you can see their dark green flecks throughout the pastry. I wouldn’t bother with them next time though. They remind me more of roti prata than the shallot pancakes I am more familiar with.
Both the 小籠包 (Xiao Long Bao) and 生煎包 (pan fried pork bun) were surprisingly good. Given the dumpling skins are hand-rolled, the 小籠包 (Xiao Long Bao) skin was a little thicker than commercially available dumpling skins, but it meant the soup contained within the dumplings was secure when picked up with chopsticks. The 小籠包 (Xiao Long Bao) did not arrive as hot as I would have liked (not necessarily a bad thing if you have little patience and tend to bite first to suffer the consequences of hot soup spilling over your tender lips), nor did the waitstaff provide shredded ginger, one of the traditional accompaniment to this classic dish.
Considering the food is fairly decent and the location is right smack in the middle of the city, I would consider the portion size for the price extremely reasonable. Their 小籠包 (Xiao Long Bao) are not the best we’ve had, but it’s decent – I’d have them again.