Friday, November 4, 2011

Shanghai Stories 1938


Not a book of memoirs from a mainland northerner nor the next Jackie Chan action thriller (although it does sound like a Wong Kar Wai movie) but the name of a Shanghai themed yum cha restaurant just opened in Chatswood's new community precinct called The Concourse!
Serendipitously, I was on an errand in Chatswood and walked past the huge complex that is the Concourse when I spotted this intriguingly named restaurant and decided straight away that it was time to eat even though it was only 11am, aahh call it brunch!



Thematically the fitout and the menu is sort of East-West fusion celebrating that brief period in history when Shanghai was the most western looking city in China and was known as "The Paris of the East".  You have the standard yum cha items such as har gow or named on this menu as Crystal King Prawns, xiao long bau, shallot (green onion) pancakes, jellyfish salad and cubes of deep fried tofu with fried shredded stuff on top called Sandy Tofu (have to investigate this one next time I'm there).

No rice noodle rolls, mango pancakes or phoenix claws (chicken feet) of the typical Cantonese yum cha though. Instead we have turnip dumplings, handmade noodles with a spicy sauce, mocktails, fruit frappes and espresso coffee. The menu reminds me strongly of Din Tai Fung down to the ordering system of ticking off the number of items you want on a pre-printed order form.

The watermelon frappe tasted like it was just sweet melon flesh and ice churned together and was pricey at $6.80 but I liked the purity of the flavour and no added sugars.
The Xiao Long Bau were just as good as the Din Tai Fung ones and the skin just as thin, but a little less gingery in flavour and not as savoury. A little saucer of black vinegar was put on the table but no plate of slivered ginger, chilli or soy sauce was offered. $6.80
The prawn dumplings look a little lumpy and unrefined but that's because they contained huge chunks of prawn so fresh and undisguised with fillers and flavourings that the true flavour of the prawn comes through beautifully. They're the freshest prawn dumplings I've tried in a long time and worth the $7.80!
Have to say this isn't my favourite green onion pancake, they're a little greasy and the dough is a bit gummy rather than flakey and not enough salt on the onion. $5.80
 
This is coconut jelly and pawpaw, an interesting combination of flavours and pretty to look at except for the parsley sprigs on either side of the plate which didn't make sense to me so I removed them! The jelly is a lot thicker and creamier than you normally get in a yum cha restaurant but makes a refreshing end to the meal.  I didn't eat these at the restaurant but when I saw them on the menu, I couldn't resist ordering...


Steamed Panda Buns containing a sweet bean paste. Something to rival Chefs Gallery's famous Piggy Buns? Perhaps not but the kiddies will love them!

There were a couple of other things on the menu I would love to explore later on, the Toffee Apple Shanghai style (the photo was a whole apple covered in a red sauce!), their version of a sago pudding and pork crackling served with osthmanthus jelly on a pancake Peking duck style! 

They even have a Shanghai style high tea for about $30 per person. The restaurant appears to have a second level which I didn't explore but the outdoor eating area looks onto the central courtyard of the Concourse and is a pleasant space for families with children. I think the rest of the menu is worth exploring and will certainly return to try it.



Shanghai Stories 1938 on Urbanspoon

15 comments:

  1. Thanks for the heads up, it seems an interesting place, though the building it's in looks very modern. The xlb look very delicate, too.

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  2. Another yum cha newbie, yay. The panda buns look like an amateurish attempt to copy the piggy buns from Chefs Gallery LOL.
    Didn't know about the new Concourse area either, so thanks!

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  3. Oh, I'm soooooo peeved I've left Chatswood JUST as they opened this building (and new eat zone)!!! LOVE love LOVE the panda buns.

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  4. Ooh that's great that there's a new place in Chatswood! :D

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  5. omg panda buns!!! *squee* they are so cute! the coconut and pawpaw looks interesting too

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  6. I had a close look at , but did not get in to eat cos the place was so pro- western style, and the name I did not like - in 1938 Japan invaded shanghai and I did not think it was a good year for Chinese . Is the owner a hanjian...

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  7. I agreed with the last post, I heard that the owner is pro-Japanese, he should not make money from the Chinese and should get more Japanese to eat. Hanjian!

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  8. Awe panda buns!! I love the look of that watermelon frappe, so brilliant for summer.

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  9. Did not have good customer experience!! Food was served late, about 30 mins before the first dish was served and the food was average. What is frustrating is the same food we ordered was served to a table which came later than us!! It was so frustrating eating there!! I would expect a pricier restaurant would have more care in customer service and experience but I was wrong!!

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  10. I had bad customer experience in Shanghai Stories 1938. Food served late, food served in wrong order and worst of all, the same dish I ordered was served to a another table which came later!! there is really bad customer experience, I would have expected a pricier restaurant would take care of that!! There was certainly no apology for their mistake!!

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  11. Ive walked past this place many times but never dared to go in for some reasons :P i thought its just a posh version of yum cha...but looking at your review think im gonna give it a go one of these days!

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  12. I've looked at about five sites incl the restaurants own site and nobody says whether its licenced, BYO or both. Does anyone know?

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  13. I recall seeing wine glasses hanging above the service area and wine bottles so they probably are licensed. Having a larger restaurant upstairs pretty much guarantees they are.

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