I am always excited when chain restaurants open up in a local area. Internally, a little happy dance takes place because I don't need to drive any further to get my fix of whatever it is!
Taste of Shanghai opened up a small store in Hurstville in the strip of restaurants along Forest Road near the Westfield. I had been warned that there was usually a line for a table so I was not surprised that we had to take a number and wait fifteen minutes on a Sunday lunchtime.
Once inside, I realised it was very squishy! The tables are densely packed together and you are literally rubbing elbows with strangers.
We ordered three things to share for a light lunch.
Xiao long baos ($8.80)
Xiao long baos always disappear far too quickly. One bite and they are gone. Although I have never tested the theory, I believe I could eat two servings by myself in one sitting.
I wanted to try some of the other flavoured xiao long baos but they were sold out on the day.
Pan fried pork buns with sesame seeds ($9.80)
The pan fried pork buns are my second favourite dish to order at Shanghainese dumpling restaurants. They have the same filling as the xiao long baos but with the added bonus of crispy pan fried bottoms and soft doughy outers.
Pork and prawn wonton soup ($8.80)
The wonton soup came in a very small bowl and each wonton was teeny tiny. I could taste a hint of the prawns which had been finely diced into small morsels and mixed with the pork. I thought it was a bit pricey for the amount that you got and I probably wouldn't order this one again.
When it was time to leave, I stood up to exit and could not move from my seat. I was boxed in on all sides by other patrons! After frantically spinning around in circles looking for an escape route, a lady to my left stood up from her seat so that I could squeeze through into the aisle. After inching out of the cramped space, I felt like running into the street outside for some open air and space!
Taste of Shanghai, Hurstville Reviewed by retrodaze on 22.6.13 Rating: