Sydney Food Diary: Madame Shanghai, Darlinghurst

After being so impressed in October of 2017, I decided to bring my hubby here for their Valentine’s Day special dinner. It was a glorious evening, and they had the windows open, which apparently they can’t do very often: if it’s too windy it’s mayhem. So, a lovely atmosphere. I think the decor is great here. The staff are friendly and professional.

There were many small courses, an oyster for me and some salt and pepper squid for my better half, very delicately done. Some pretty dumplings. A smoked turkey and cabbage salad with fresh mint; I felt it should have worked better than it did. It’s hard to elevate coleslaw, basically.

Some sashimi with ribbons of cucumber. A glass of Taittinger to start with… we followed it up with sake, served in the traditional wooden boxes (and I purported to know how to drink out of them and didn’t pay attention and still spilt sake on my lap…). The last dish was a beef rib, very tender, the one rib laid on the plate as decoration (we thought it was a spoon at first), the meat cut off the bone. And to finish, a miso-glazed cheesecake with passionfruit centre, and some crunchy sugary bits. This was a highlight. For some reason though, while I thought everything was very good, I didn’t find it great like last time. I’m not sure why: no standouts really. Perhaps the dessert. It was a little rushed, as we had an early seating and I imagine they were trying to fit in someone after us. Maybe I should have followed the champagne with one of their very interesting cocktails.


Still, it was a nice evening out. We went to Zambo last year (or was it the year before?) and it was 100% couples, including many who looked like they were newly dating. But this was a much more relaxed event; at least three tables of Galentine’s Day diners, and the rest of couples of various ages and sexual orientations.

Review below from October 2017:

To start with, Madame Shanghai is simply a very beautiful space to dine in. Gorgeous lighting and decor, I did feel transported elsewhere. Neither of us could decide what to choose so went with the chef’s choice… Each dish was tasty and interesting and consistently good. We started out with cocktails, and these definitely have a twist here with inventive Asian ingredients and themes, and moved on to a tasty glass of wine.

The serving size was just enough and the waiter even asked us if we wanted more… The surprise was the dessert, as Asian desserts really are different than Western ones (usually much less sweet and with different textures). So, to get two really luscious and rich Western-style desserts was a good surprise: and these were really good.

Such a good experience I didn’t feel like taking photos of each course. Perhaps next time. I’m also tempted to come back for yum cha. And to try Lotus, of whose restaurant empire this belongs.

Madame Shanghai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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