Saturday, 24 November 2012

Shanghai Stories 1938, Chatswood

I'd been meaning to check out Shanghai Stories for a while ever since The Concourse was completed, as I was curious as to how it stood up against its New Shanghai competitors. However, I never quite got around to it until recently.

So I made a booking and attempted to navigate myself to the restaurant, which was a slightly awkward ordeal. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Shanghai Stories takes up both the top and bottom storeys (Get it? Storeys??) - despite the bottom resembling a Chinese fast food diner - and I had made my way directly towards the stairs, not realising that the podium that they very inconspicuously placed on the side of the entrance was intended to be the first point of contact for patrons. I was eventually ushered to my table, which was squashed into a corner.

The style of the restaurant is in between your typical dumpling house and a 'proper', more expensive, Chinese restaurant like Kam Fook or Fook Yuen. I think the picture below of the plastic fans and the unattended collection of dirty crockery amidst the neat decor summarises this fairly accurately.

Upper storey

Anyway, on to the food:

The meat dishes are largely proportioned (think Chinese restaurant banquet sizes) so we decided to order 3 items off the menu and refrained from having rice.

First up was the salt and pepper calamari, which was garnished with dried chilli and deep fried onions. The texture of the calamari was a bit hit and miss - there were some very tough pieces but there were some also fairly tender bits, too.The fried onions gave the calamari batter an extra crunchiness which was greatly appreciated. Though salty, the calamari was not too salty - though we would probably have been better off eating it with rice to balance out the flavours.

Salt and pepper calamari ($22.80)
The next to arrive was the Taiwanese three cup chicken. It was presented in a steaming clay pot and served with plenty of chopped onions. The sauce was tasty and the chicken was tender - though I recall there was also a lot of fat, but some people prefer that. Overall it was not bad.

Taiwanese three cup chicken ($18)
The last to arrive was a chilli oil dumpling dish. I would have liked more sauce - and perhaps for the chilli oil to contain actual chilli flakes rather than just... oil. It wasn't bad, but you have to eat the dumplings really quickly, or else they get cold, dry and a little tough.

Poached pork and vegetable dumpling in chilli oil x 10 ($8.80)
Conclusion: Hit and miss

Shanghai Stories 1938 on Urbanspoon

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