Ok, let’s be honest, Shanghai Stories 1938 is a weird name. According to the restaurant “Shanghai, also known as the Paris of the East, was a flourishing city in the 1930’s brimming with elegance and romanticism… music, mah jong, women in qi paos… It was a time of economic development open to influence through trade from all regions of China and the West”. The restaurant is a tribute to the hey-day of this Chinese city.
Noodlies, Sydney food blog cares a little less about Shanghai’s history. I’m more concerned about the food at this new restaurant in the spanking new “The Concourse” development in Chatswood. Shanghai Stories 1938 comes highly recommended by Adam and his partner. Tonight, they’ve offered to take me to Shanghai, via Chatswood.
The place is huge, spanning two floors including an outside dining area. It’s classy, bordering on flash, with downlights and wooden features. Despite the size, there’s enough staff to go ’round, service is fast and efficient, even on a Saturday night. Just bear in mind, it’s big and when packed can be a little noisy.
I let Adam and his partner do the ordering, they’re regulars. The dumplings in chilli oil is jaw-droppingly gorgeous, each dumpling is shiny, bathing in dark chilli oil, highlighted with black and white sesame seeds and framed in a turquoise glazed blue plate. The outer skin is al dente, almost hard, which I love, the pork filling has a nice dense texture, not too much taste. The chilli sauce could be a tad hotter (I’m a chilli fiend). Overall though, it’s a very, very satisfying experience.
The crispy chicken is mouth-watering; dark crimson, each piece glistening under multiple downlights like precious stones in a jewellery store. Hard to fault, thin crispy skin, well cooked flesh that is dense and meaty. It comes with two sauces, chilli paste which I don’t even touch because I’m in love with the plum powder salt that has a faint hint of five spice.
We gorge ourselves on the square-cut of pork belly that’s lightly decorated with bok choy and served on a white plate. This is food-porn, melt-in-the-mouth stuff, your teeth sinks into the soft, fleshy skin to encounter thick, tasty pork flesh that becomes even more delicious when you penetrate to the dark caramelised sauce.
I don’t think I will ever get used to the name of this restaurant, but it’s highly recommended. Get there, this place has many lovely stories to tell.
Shanghai Stories 1938
Shop 4 & 6 The Concourse
405-419 Victoria Ave , Chatswood
(02) 9412 3880