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Chinese restaurant revival in Melbourne

/ 02 Aug 2016
Melbourne’s Chinese restaurant scene is experiencing a revival. While some chefs are focusing on cuisine from specific regional provinces, others are exploring the flavour combinations in new and interesting ways and teaming them up with local Australian produce.

Hidden Jade –  a new and stunning waterfront restaurant at The Point overlooking Albert Park Lake. The Sichuan menu meshes Victorian produce with Chinese staples and includes dishes such as stir fried kangaroo cubes with mushroom and green chilli; Murray Cod, and hot pot beef, beef tripe, black pudding, quill eggs and sweet potato noodles. An extensive ‘hot pot’ seafood menu includes a choice of abalone, snow crab, lobster mince and much more. Aquatic Dr, Albert Park VIC 3206, +61 3 9682 5566.

Tim Ho Wan – Michelin-starred kings of dim sum, chefs Mak and Leung started the now famous Tim Ho Wan brand in 2009 with a focus on providing affordable, made-to-order dim sum using fresh, quality ingredients. The name means ‘add good luck’, though none of that was needed at the Melbourne outpost which has continued to pack in diners since it opened in March 2016. 206 Bourke St, Melbourne.

Lee Ho Fook – with no limitations on geography, the menu at Victor Liong’s newly relocated Duckboard Place restaurant is free to explore the many different cuisines and flavours of China. The restaurant is on the ‘must do’ list of any self-respecting foodie and a chef favourite for it’s innovative ‘new wave’ Chinese menu. 11-15 Duckboard Place Melbourne, +61 3 9077 6261.

The Flower Drum – one of those rare restaurants that continues to surprise and delight diners after more than 30 years in business. The Flower Drum put Melbourne’s Chinatown in Little Bourke Street on the map when it opened in 1975. Now located in Market Lane and owned by Executive Chef Anthony Lui, the two-hatted restaurants is open for lunch and dinner and serves up traditional Cantonese food with a twist including fresh local ingredients. 17 Market Ln, Melbourne, +61 3 9662 3655.

Lau’s Family Kitchen – the family is that of Gilbert Lau, who founded the above mentioned Flower Drum before selling to his employees. This St Kilda restaurant is simple in decor, but with a menu bursting with same quality and flavours that gave Flower Drum its fame. Diners are advised to book in advance at this popular local. 4 Acland St, St Kilda, +61 3 8598 9880.

Ricky and Pinky – Andrew McConnell’s Moon Under Water restaurant at the landmark Builder’s Arms pub in Fitzroy will soon become Chinese restaurant, Ricky and Pinky. Walls of the current restaurant are being knocked down to reveal one big ‘lively and unified’ space. The menu will include smaller plates, shared plates and a big Chinese family banquet. Diners can also expect to see familiar Chinese restaurant stalwarts – fish tanks, round tables and lazy susans. Opening August 2016. 211 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, +61 3 9417 7700.

ShanDong MaMa – it may be hidden away in a shopping arcade off Chinatown, yet diners usually need to wait to be seated in this extremely popular dumpling house. Recipes hail from the fishing town of Yantai on the Chinese Shandong Peninsula. Favourites include the Melbourne Boiled Dumpling filled with prawn, calamari, mussel and fish. ShanDong MaMa Mini is also now open at 5 Centre Place. Mid City Arcade, Shop 7, 200 Bourke St, Ph: 03 9650 3818.

New Shanghai – located at luxury shopping destination, The Emporium Melbourne, New Shanghai’s new Melbourne outpost serves Shanghai-style soup dumplings, noodles, bubbling hot pots, and award-winning pan-fried buns. A live dumpling-making theatre allows diners to learn some tips before tasting. Shop 323, Level 3 Emporium, 287 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, +61 3 9994 9386.

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