New Shanghai is an Aussie owned casual dining Chinese restaurant specialising in internationalised Shanghainese cuisine. Located next door to Eataly at fountain level of Dubai Mall, it’s interior is instantly recognisable as Asian. Like Din Tai Fung, there’s a glass-enclosed live cooking station at the entrance where, you guessed it, their dumplings, wontons and xiao long baos are made by chefs who look very much like surgeons…or mad scientists who work for Dr. Evil.
The New Shanghai menu has something for everything. Yet it’s their baozi, or bao which are famous…as well as their dumplings and wontons. We ordered them all starting with a wonton soup, which was very good. Not so their signature hot and sour soup though, which we all felt was too vinegary and sour. Their yummy Prawn Wontons are served in a mild chili oil sauce which, in typical Shanghainese style, is a little sweet. The restaurant’s reference dish is probably their Pan-Fried Crab and Chicken Buns which like Xiao Long Baos, are filled with soup. Do not hesitate in ordering both, although I am of the opinion that Din Tai Fung’s Xiao Long Baos are better.
Another Shanghai classic to consider is the Slow Cooked Braised Beef Brisket. This is another sweetish dish which is lovely on its own or with steamed rice.
Zha Jiang Noodles is a Beijing speciality and the closest thing to Chinese Spaghetti Bolognese (with julienned cucumber). I cannot remember ever seeing it on a restaurant menu in China; this is a simple noodle dish normally made at home. Perhaps that’s why we decided to try it. Sadly, it was not very good. I would try one of the stir-fried noodles instead. If you like tofu try their Mapo Tofu which is served with a delicious ground peanut and chilli bean sauce.
The New Shanghai experience starts with a big smile and a warm welcome at the entrance of the restaurant. A young hostess then escorts you to your table and hands you over to your waiter. The mainly Filipino staff are well trained, friendly and attentive. I noted that a supervisor visited our table to check how things were…several times. With competition from PF Chang’s, Wagamama, Noodle House and Din Tai Fung, these boys from down under clearly have their work cut out. Perhaps because I was expecting something in the same vein as Din Tai Fung, I was disappointed with the food, underwhelmed with the experience; they’re simply not in the same league as the Michelin starred Taiwanese. Compared to the rest, however, they easily hold their own. Irrespective, this is a handsome Chinese restaurant which serves very good food and has impeccable manners – it’s well worth a visit.
Waste NOT. Want NOT.