Monday, August 4, 2014

A tale of Shanghai Stories 1938

Once upon a time there was a suburb over the bridge called Chatswood. All I knew of the suburb were two major shopping centres and a train station. Fast-forward about a decade and now Chatswood is an eating and shopping destination with a booming casual restaurant scene.

The newly-built Concourse at Chatswood comprises restaurants, a library, entertainment venue and open air space. And set over two levels at the Concourse is Shanghai Stories 1938 - a high-end venue from the group behind Taste of Shanghai, styled in the look and feel of the opulent 1930s in Shanghai.

Shredded pork Peking style with pancakes from Shanghai Stories 1938, The Concourse,
Victoria Avenue, Chatswood
Having had the previous pleasure of a yum cha style dumpling brunch at Shanghai Stories (dishes to order and offerings outside of the standard yum cha experience), we returned for dinner upstairs one night among the many Chinese family get-togethers.

In fact, most tables had at least five people with the large round tables holding joint families of ten and more. There are dumplings on offer in the evening too, but we stuck to a few mains from the lengthy, book-like photo menu.

Shredded pork Peking style
We started on a childhood favourite of shredded pork strips, served with the same thin, chewy pancakes you get with Peking duck.

Stir fried with leek in a dark, sweet and sticky sauce, the tender pork strips made for a most satisfying filling with cucumber within the loosely folded pancakes. I was glad we weren't sharing our pancakes between a table of ten.

Dan dan noodle soup
Probably not a typical dinner order, we tried the dan dan noodle soup which came in a large bowl, filled to the brim with a thick soup, thin rice noodles and baby bok choy, garnished with shallots.

While the noodles were fine, the nutty soup was deceptively bland - I would never have thought a soup of such colour could have been bland. Suffice to say, condiments were needed and added.

Ginger, soy and shallot steamed whole barramundi
To our feature main, we elected a whole steamed barramundi done in traditional Cantonese style: steamed with ginger, shallots and soy sauce.

The whole fish was a good size for three as a shared main, with fall-apart, smooth flesh beneath the silky-slimy steamed skin. The juices from the steamed fish mixed with soy sauce and slivers of ginger and shallot make a for a homely condiment with steamed white rice.

Sauteed green beans with minced pork
I tend to order a requisite vegetable dish with dinner although when they're flash-fried in oil like the green beans, I question how healthy the vegetable side becomes. In any case, the slightly overcooked green beans were sautéed with nubbins of pork mince in one of the tastier green vegetable options.

Whether it's for a dumpling brunch or dinner amongst the families, Shanghai Stories 1938 sure had us eating happily ever after.

Shanghai Stories 1938 on Urbanspoon


NEEL KUBA said...

Have passed this restaurant a couple of times! The shredded pork looks glossy! Might try next time I'm in Chatswood.

Felicia @ Next Stop: Food said...

I love steamed fish with ginger and shallots! Pity that the noodle soup didn't have enough flavour because it looks so good.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god. I wish this restaurant was close to where I live.... Love love the name of your blog!!!

Tina said...

Hi Neel - Yes, sweet, glossy and delicious!

Hi Felicia - Ginger and shallots is just about my favourite way to have cooked seafood :)

Hi chefmimi - Thanks :D

Anonymous said...

This review is outdated. The food is at best ordinary and the service absolutely rude. Go somewhere else where the restaurant has passion for service and food.


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